Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Thirukalyanam Grand Finale to Chithirai Thiruvizha Mahotsavam

Photos:Srini Sundarrajan

Photos:Srini Sundarrajan

By Kamala Raghavan

PEARLAND: The festival of Meenakshi Chithirai Thiruvizha is one of the most important annual festivals held at the famous Meenakshi Temple at Madurai, and the same traditions are followed by Sree Meenakshi Temple. The festival has many highlights including the coronation of Sri Meenakshi (Pattabhishekam) and her handing over the scepter to the Chairman, the daily homams and evening processions, cultural events, and the grand finale of the Thirukalyanam of Lord Sundareswarar with Goddess Meenakshi, and the Ratham festival. The Mahotsavam began with dhwaja-arohanam (flag hoisting) on April 28 and concluded on May 7 with dhwaja avarohanam. The festival is believed to shower all of God’s creations with health, wealth, happiness and prosperity. More than 1600 devotees filled the hall and enjoyed the divine wedding ceremony.


A beautifully decorated podium was set up inside the main temple by the silpis, where the utsavamurthys of Meenakshi and Sundareswaran resided throughout the festival to indicate the gruhasta ashrama (married life) of Lord Shiva with his consort Parvathi, and their son Ganesh and Karthikeya. Sri Meenakshi personifies the female energy (Shakti) as illustrated by the coronation in the beginning of the Utsavam. The daily homams were performed at an outside tent (Yaga Sala) in accordance with the basic guidelines established by the Shastras. Since the temple has been designed according to the principle of Vaastu Shastra, these daily rituals are performed to request the deva paarshadas (attendants of the deities) to safeguard the temple premises and the devotees.


The divine wedding celebration started with a seervarisai procession from Ganesh temple accompanied by Nadaswaram. Malai Matruthal (garland exchange), pidi sutruthal and oonjal seva was done with pomp and splendor by the priests with many of the ladies participating in the pidi sutral and mangala Aarthi at the entrance to the Kalyana Mandapam. The silpis outdid themselves in constructing the wedding mandapam on the stage and the priests followed the traditional steps for a beautiful celestial wedding of Sri Meenakshi and Sundareswarar, Devotees were involved in performing rakshabandanam and kanyadhanam. The event was broadcast on MTS radio show 3 times during the ceremony to give an opportunity to all devotees to partake in the blessings of the deities. MTS board representatives attempted to provide explanations in English during the event for the benefit of the young devotees and non-Indian attendees. The chanting of the mantras from all 4 vedas reinforced the bhakti vibrations in the hall, and the recital by the priest was absolutely mesmerizing. After the wedding, utsava murthis procession with Ratham and all the vahanas was a beautiful sight to watch. The Nadhaswaram music brought the Madurai Temple atmosphere to all the devotees in Pearland, Texas.


The sunny, cool weather was perfect for the outside activities, and made the whole event immensely enjoyable. The attendees enjoyed the grand banana leaf sit down lunch with the traditional wedding menu prepared by the temple staff and served by more than 150 volunteers. The post lunch cultural program was a visual treat for the devotees, and the performances by graduating seniors was a wonderful conclusion to a grand celebration. MTS Chairman S. Narayanan thanked all the staff and volunteers. Kudos to the Mahotsavam coordinator C. Vijayarajan and RAC Sheila Sriram, Food Committee Rani Chilukuri, Sit down Lunch Committee Kumar Bashyam, the cultural committee Mala Gopal, Audio & Video committee Sundar Arun, Electronic Committee Nachal Sethuraman, Rathotsavam Committee Tupil Narasiman, Secretary GN Prasad and Treasurer Sasi Pillai for job well done.