Sunday, November 18, 2012

Kantha Shashti

Text and pix by:- Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Performance in the temple compound

Kantha Shashti”, known as the strictest fast is currently being observed by the Hindus all around the world. The fast began on the 14th of November, and will end on 20th of November, according to the Tamil Almanac. Devotees fast for six days to invoke blessings of Lord Murugan. It’s a rare fast, most Hindus observe “Upavaasam” (complete fast without any meals) for six days, and at the end of the fast on the seventh day, at crack of dawn they conclude it with the “Paaranai” (vegetarian meals cooked and consumed before the sunrise).

Lord Murugan waged a war against the demon King “Soorapathman” and his army, who caused immense hardships to the “Thevars”. Lord Murugan promised to save their lives from the demon King and his army. “Soorapathman” used various tactics to escape alive, but was killed on the sixth day by Lord Murugan with a “Vel” (lance), gifted by his mother, and liberated the “Thevars” from “Asurars” and their hassle. “Sooran Por” is celebrated at the temples at dusk on the sixth day of the fast. Temples are decorated, courtyard is made to look like a battle field, idols of Lord Murugan and “Soorapathman” are decorated and taken out of the temple on a powerful parade to perform”, says R.Venkadesa Iyer, Editor of the “Vaakkiya” Tamil Almanac, published in Kokkuvil, Jaffna.

Especially, unmarried women observe “Kantha Shashti” to find a suitable life partner. Most women throng the temples everyday during the fast, and recite “Kantha Shashti Kavasam”. It’s believed, if one begins to fast “Kantha Shashti”, it would be beneficial, if it is continued for six years annually without a break.

Enchanting Lord Murugan decorated with jewelleries and fresh flower garlands
Face to face battle in Bambalapitty
Decorated lance on a parade

Divine view of the temple
Performance in a circle
Beautiful garlands in Bambalapitty

Traditional musicians add fervour to the festival

Lord Murugan on a colourful parade
Performance at dusk

Fasting male devotee wears a "Thetpai"
Scene depicted in front of the temple

View of Sammaankodu Sri Kathirvelauthaswamy temple (popularly known as Maanikka Pillaiyaar temple) from Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar temple (popularly known as New Kathiresan temple) in Bambalapitty

Parade on Galle Road in Bambalapitty
Devotees to witness the battle
Heavy "Soora Pathman" is carried by men in many forms
Male devotees carry "Soora Pathman"
Many tactics used by "Soora Pathman"
Fire crackers are lit to hide "Soora Pathman"



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