The night before the day when the big chariots go in procession through Tiruvannamalai there is a special procession of silver chariots that starts about midnight. A friend, Jim Clark, took these photos and kindly let me share them with you.
This is a big event. Just look at the crowd. Many people stayed up for this procession!
The chariots are well lit.
First I think should be Ganesh. It is hard to make him out in the glare. Other chariots follow behind.
In the night, this all seems magical.
These chariots are beautiful.
What a crowd!
Robin is shooting video of all this.
Next should come Murugan.
Drums and horns lead the way.
Murugan’s chariot is pulled by horses. (Just ignore the tractor in front.)
The figures are wonderful, life size and life like. Ceramic? Wood?
Murugan passes the west gopuram.
Pulled behind each chariot is a generator, to light the lights. It can be seen in the photo below, painted blue. .
There are men carrying lamps to light the way.
Now comes Annamalai and Unnamalai, the Lord and Lady of Arunachaleswara Temple.
Golden horses for the Lord and Lady.
The crush of the crowd is greatest for them, too.
Boys watch raptly (except for those looking at the camera).
There they are, Annamalai on the left and Unnamalai to the right.
Amazing workmanship on the chariot!
After the Lord and Lady comes Meenakshi (I think).
Past the west gopuram.
One more god follows. Since the order of the gods looks to be that of the first day’s procession, this must be Chandikeswara. He is the record keeper of devotees who visit a Siva temple, and is considered part of Siva’s family, hence is included in the procession.
Chandikeswara goes by. This is the end of the procession.
This is a night of magic. This is the kind of procession you would remember for the rest of your life. But it is just one aspect of Deepam. Such a rich celebration!
thanks again to Jim Clark for the photos.