Monday, September 02, 2013

Spiritual elegance of Nallur

Text and pix by Dushiyanthini Kanagsabapathipillai

Divine view of Nallur Kanthaswamy Temple

Golden temple of Jaffna

Pink Parade: Deities dressed up in pink colour during the Nallur Temple Festival

As a child, I have always been delighted and thrilled to attend the annual temple festival of Nallur Kanthaswamy temple during the second term school holidays. As a pampered only girl child in the family, I have been treated like a “princess of the peninsula” whenever I am surrounded by my family and the extended family.

Attending the vibrant Nallur temple festival brings back everlasting and enchanting memories. 25 days of festival, dressed up in 25 colourful and different “Kanchipuram” silk long skirt upto the ankle with matching blouse with decorations and designs beautifully and specially stitched by my mother, glittering dainty gold jewellery, matching pottu on the forehead, and jasmine garland on my short hair, bring back beautiful and boundless memories.
Festival Favourite: Girl children playing with wet sand and making sculptures

Numerous gifts during the festival ranging from beautiful spring bangles, colourful balloons, toys, pencil sharpeners, whistles, and different flavours of ice cream kept the gifts list growing, and filled the suitcase. A must festive nibbler is hot and roasted peanuts, and corn neatly filled in a bag either made out of a newspaper or an exercise book. We used to sit on white sand especially filled in for the festival with the family at night around the outer path of the temple under the moonlight, after the completion of a beautiful procession of divinely dressed deities. I can divinely recollect my childhood memories of listening to lively Bhajan singers who follow the five deities, getting drenched during the water cutting ceremony which takes place on the following day of the chariot festival, and getting crushed in between an instantly and constantly moving a fleet of devotees, getting separated from my parents, got lost many times during the final days of the festival, and had been reunited through repeated loud speaker announcements.

Lively Bhajan singers

Gold painted statues

A Hindu devotee hangs on hooks on A9 highway

Hindu priests too are dressed up in pink on thet particular day of the festival

Blessed parade of deities

Vibrant festival at night

The devotees express the power of devotion through various ways – women carry clay pots of burning camphor in their hands in a procession, bare chest men roll themselves up on the sandy and rough grounds, and men hang on metal hooks while either sides of their mouths and the whole bodies are pierced with metal divine items. Fervour of the festival is magnificent and unforgettable.

Yet another memory of the divine festival is my feet getting burnt in the hot sun while walking barefoot to the temple everyday. As a family tradition, we used to g
.o to the temple in a car, and walked around the temple's inner and outer paths without the footwear. But, after 25 days of an intense festival, I had to instantly treat the sun burnt feet before the school started in order to wear the socks and shoes.

Rare view of Nallur Kanthaswamy Temple in Jaffna

Memories of enduring the longest journey on Yazhdevi train, still stays afresh in my heart and mind, and I terribly miss the Yazhdevi journey!. Family members and neighbours in Jaffna visiting and shower us with traditional gifts. We used to carry bundles of freshly plucked drumsticks, mangoes jack fruit and homemade delicious vegetarian meals beautifully wrapped in banana leaf from Jaffna to Colombo. I am eagerly looking forward to the longest and memorable Yazhdevi train journey in the near future.

COURTESY: Ceylon Today


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