The Deepam flame is lit. People in Tiruvannamalai and all around the mountain rejoice and celebrate. Many visitors start the long trip home, most by bus. I want to show you pictures of lighting the flame, and of what it is like the day after Deepam.
The Deepam flame photos are from Saran, the Arunachala Mountain Guide.
The Deepam Torch is ready.
A torch is lit.
The flame is passed to the Deepam Torch.
The Deepam Torch flames.
People pranam the torch.
The torch is visible all around Arunachala for miles, this night and for ten nights in all.
The Day after Deepam
The next day starts out with clouds covering the peak, so the Torch is not visible.
Everywhere there is an open field, vehicles were parked. When they leave, their trash remains.
At 6 AM there were still many people walking around Arunachala. I think at least 300,000 ( 3 lakh) people walked pradakshina this day.
The path from the road to Arunachala’s Inner Path is empty of people. The walkers are all on the road.
The Inner Path is peaceful, as usual. It is not quiet though. There are still so many people on the Outer Path, that the noise travels to the mountain.
The peak is still in the clouds.
By the Northside basin a vendor had set up a food stall. Today the area is filled with trash. Some say that it is best if no one buys from these vendors, so as to not encourage their presence on the Inner Path.
I started noticing groups of ghee lamps, near the Inner Path. Several were here, shielded from last night’s wind.
There was another group of lamps. Tigger is seeing if there is any ghee left that she can eat.
Anthills along the trail have received an offering of uncooked rice. Cooked rice would have been eaten by many creatures. The uncooked rice remains for the ants.
Near the Inner Path is a termite hill, under some bushes.
The hill has been decorated with flowers, like someone made a puja to it.
Another area had many sets of pots, usually set out in twos. I talked to people here, and they said that these would have been lit after the Deepam flame was. So it seems that some people, instead of watching the flame being lit from their homes, go near Arunachala to places they have found where they can watch, and then perform their own ceremony.
Arunachala is still crowned by clouds.
Many men seem to be taking ceremonial baths at the tank near Pachiaimman Koil.
On the road, there are still vendors. This one sells clothing.
This one, puffed rice.
Arunachala, still head in the clouds.
At Ramanasramam things are pretty quiet. The only sign of Deepam today is the sign for the Deepam Festival Book Sale.
After today, things will get back to normal in Tiruvannamalai. The trash will be cleaned up, the people will have left, and life resumes its normal winter tourist season rhythm.