Karthigai Deepam in Tiruvannamalai is mainly celebrated by each family in their own house. In addition there are big celebrations at Arunachaleswara Temple and Sri Ramanasramam. We have photos from a household celebration to share with you.
At 6 PM on Monday, 1 December, 2009, the Deepam flame is lit.
From below you can see it as a spec of light atop Arunachala.
People all around Arunachala start to light their own ghee lamps. Some do this in open areas.
Some at home.
Then all around Arunachala fireworks start going off, sending bursts of fire through the sky.
The puja room waits for the household puja that will follow.
People all over India watch the festivities at Arunachaleswara Temple on TV. It is all televised. Good thing, too, since it is difficult to get tickets to be inside the temple for this big event.
After this a traditional meal will be served. When we are through eating, we have to leave pretty quickly. The wife, who prepared and served the food, cannot sit and eat until the guests have left.
This simple celebration is like that done in thousands of homes all around Arunachala.
For the many visitors who come for Deepam, within five minutes of the lighting of the flame, you starting hearing horns blaring from the main road. Many visitors are already in their cars or buses and have started the drive out of Tiruvannamalai. This exit procession with honking horns will go on through the next day.
There is a nice video of the Ramanasramam Deepam Celebration on the Ramanasramam web site. Click here to view it.