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