Maha Sivarathri Celebrations at Sri Meenakshi Temple


By Muthukumar & Sriram

PEARLAND: Maha Sivarathri is celebrated on 13th night (waning moon) and 14th day of the month Phalguna (Magha). Sri Meenakshi Temple gave their devotees a very unique and rare opportunity to make a holy pilgrimage to five important Siva Kshetras (Panch Bhootha Sthalams), all under one roof, to experience the divine bliss of Lord Siva on the auspicious Maha Sivarathri on Friday, February 24. A steady stream of around 2,000 devotees attended the event from 6:30 pm to 6:30 am on the 25.


The authentic chanting of Rudram and bhajans by the priests and devotees made the event a thrilling experience for all. The temple silpis (artisans), priests, staff and volunteers worked hard to create a spectacular display of the Five Pancha Bhootha Sthalams, which are sacred Siva temples in South India dedicated to the Five Earth Elements, namely Prithvi (earth), Appu (water), Agni (Fire), Vayu (air or wind) and Akash (space). This year’s event was even more special since pradosham also fell on the same day. The main event consisting of homam followed by 108-sanku abhishekam and gold bilva archana was from 6:30 pm to 9:00 pm. And a special cultural program was organized for this event. The temple was open all night for the stream of hundreds of devotees who stayed up for the chaturkala pujas at midnight, 1:30 am, 3 am and 4:30 am. MTS was awash in divine splendor – Sarvam Siva Mayam.



The successful event was coordinated by M.K. Sriram, Pandurengan, Muthukumar, and Dr. Padmini Nathan.



About Pancha Bootha Sthalams:
The Pancha Bootha Sthalas (‘pancha’ – meaning 5, ‘bootha’ – meaning elements (Water, Earth, Fire, Wind and Space) and ‘sthala’ meaning location). The creation of Universe is with these 5 elements, and the temples highlighted below are dedicated to Lord Siva to signify these five elements. Three of the five temples-Chidambaram, Kanchipuram and Sri Kalahasti are all situated on a straight line exactly at 79 degree 41 minutes East longitude – truly an engineering, astrological and geographical wonder.

Jambukeswarar Temple at Tiruvanaikkaval near Thiruchirappali, Tamil Nadu: This ancient temple celebrates Siva as Jambukeswara, an embodiment of the element “WATER” and is often referred as Appustalam. It is believed that devotees worshipping here are blessed for this birth and the next birth.

Ekambareswarar Temple at Kanchipuram, Tamil Nadu:
Kanchipuram a temple town is considered to be the foremost among the seven prime pilgrimage centers in India. Siva is the presiding deity here, worshipped as Prithvi Lingam, symbolizing the “EARTH”. No separate shrine for Parvathi exists here.

Arunachaleswarar Temple at Tiruvannamalai, Tamil Nadu:
Tiruvannamalai is the Thejo (Fire) sthalam where Lord Siva (Annamalayar or Arunachaleswarar) manifests himself as a column of “FIRE” in the Annamalai hills to bring light to the world and eliminate the darkness (“ego”). SivaPuranam identifies Tiruvannamalai is one of the four sacred places for obtaining salvation.

Sri Kalahasthiswarar Temple at Kalahasthi, Andhra Pradesh:
Srikalahasthi is known as Kailash of South and the temple here dedicated to Siva (Kalahasthiswara). The Three-eyed Siva, manifested in the form of Vayu Linga. It teaches us the truth that the eternal bliss can be achieved only through implicit faith, humble submission and absolute devotion to the Almighty.

Thillai Natarajar Temple at Chidambaram, Tamil Nadu:
The word Chidambaram refers to the sky of consciousness. Over time, Maha Sivaratri has served as a confluence of artists for annual dance festivals at major temples and it is called Natyanjali, or “worship through dance”.