Two days after the Mahadeepam flame is lit on Arunachala, the temple gods from the big temple, Arunachaleswara, and the smaller Adi Annamalai Temple, are taken for Arunachala Pradakshina. Here are a few photos from this event, on 19 November, 2013.
When I rode my scooter into town to get the morning newspaper, I got into a big traffic jam. When I got to it, I saw the Big Temple gods on their carts, stopped by the Ganesh temple, down from Ramanasramam. This reminded me that today was the day that the gods are taken for their annual Arunachala Pradakshina.
About 45 minutes later, here they are, stopped in front of Nityananda’s ashram on Pradakshina Road.
Beautiful flower malas are being offered to Annamalai and Unammalai, on the most important of the Big Temple’s wagons.
I can see Annamalai here, his consort is hidden behind the priest.
Another wagon approaches, pulled, like the first one, by a tractor. In the old days, it used to be bullocks.
And the third arrives, too. I am not sure who either one of these gods is. Anyone know?
Offerings are made: bananas, coconuts. Camphor flame is included.
A young priest stands by, accepting offerings.
After the flame is offered to the gods, it is usually offered to Arunachala, then to the people present.
A mala is offered.
We head back along Pradakshina Road. I had seen another two gods being pulled along when I was out before. We went looking for them.
Along the way we saw one of many cleaning crews, cleaning the road, to remove the mess that 20 lakh walkers left two days ago. They are doing a good job! Look at how clean the road is here!
We spot another tractor pulling wagons loaded with gods.
They go by. We will race the scooter down the road to get ahead of them.
We find them stopped by a tank, next to another Ganesh temple.
Drums are being beaten, announcing the presence of the gods to all who can hear.
There they are. I find out that this is Siva and Parvati.
And then I see our old friend, the priest at Adi Annamalai Temple, A. Mahadeva Sivachariyar. I start to understand that these are the Adi Annamalai gods, out for the day for pradakshina.
Behind is one more god. I am not sure why an armed policeman needs to guard the gods.
This is Unnamalai, wife of Annamalai. Very finely outfitted, too.
Behind them you can see the Arunachala peak. They head down the road.
On the way back home, Carol notices another woman cleaning around a tree.
She will work her way all around it.
The woman is happy to be noticed at her work.
Days like this happen more often that you might think here in Tiruvannamalai. This feels like a city of temples and gods to me, and every temple and god has their annual celebration. And in addition there is the annual cycle of festivals, culminating in the recent Karthagai Deepam, whose aftermath is about over now.
ueI also like it quite a bit that the gods are occasionally brought out to see their devotees on days like today.
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