Karthigai Deepam is a festival of Hindus which is mainly celebrated in Tamil. This day is based on Tamil Solar Calendar. It falls in the month of Karthikai when the Karthigai Nakshatra prevails during Ratrimana. This is also the prime time in Karthigai Nakshatra which coincides with Pournami, the full moon day in the month of Karthikai.
Tiruvannamalai town is a very popular abode of Lord Shiva. The good thing with the town is that it’s located in an area where you can easily access it using airways, trains or road. If you are using airways, the easiest access to the town is through Chennai airport that is 185 km away.
Karthigai Deepam festival is the most important festival in Tiruvannamalai and it is celebrated during the months of November and December. The most important event during the festival is the lighting of Deepam which is a large lamp made with many liters of ghee and a cotton wick that is several meters long. When the Deepam is lit, the light can be seen within a 30 km diameter.
Karthigai Deepam festivities at Tiruvannamalai Arunachaleshwara Swamy temple are the most famous one and popularly known as Karthikai Brahmotsavam. The festivities in this temple spans for 10 days. The celebration mainly begins with Dwajarohanam on the day when Nakshatra Uthiraadam prevails at sunrise. Most of the time, Nakshatra Uthiraadam prevails for 10 days before the festivities of the main day.
The legend of Karthigai Deepam
As per the Legend and mythical stories, Goddess Parvati closed Lord Siva eyes in a playful mood, which pushed the entire creation into darkness. This angered the Lord Siva and he directed Goddes Parvati to perform a penance for this mistake. Goddess Parvathi came down to Earth and started a very tough penance at Kanchipuram. On Shiva’s advice, Parvati moved to Tiruvannamalai and did penance on top of Tiruvannamalai Hills. The goddess killed the demon Mahisasura and organized a festival on the day of Karthigai. Goddess reunited with Lord Shiv who appeared in the form of a cosmic flame on the summit of the hill. This day marks the beginning of Karthigai Deepam.
It is said that Lord Shiva appeared in the form a great flaming cosmic pillar, Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu requested Lord to take a pleasing form here for the benefit of all beings. On their request, Shiva took the form of the Arunachala Hill. The Lord declared that every year on the day of Karthigai, he will appear on this highest point of the hill in the form of a peace-giving “hope”.
How it is celebrated?
Karthigai Deepam should not be confused with Bharani Deepam as it falls one day prior to or on the same day of Karthigai Deepam. Bharani Deepam is lighted inside the temple premises during the Bharani Nakshatra. The usual timing for the same is at 4 a.m. on the same day of Karthigai Deepam.
Karthigai Deepam is lit somewhere around 6 p.m. after sunset with the flame taken from Bharani Deepam. In the evening the flame is carried at the top of the hill to light the Karthigai Maha Deepam. The beautiful rows of glittering earthen lamps outside each home and the joyous burst of firecrackers mark Tamil Nadu’s Festival of Lights. As part of this occasion, a huge bonfire is built at the summit of Arunachala Hill. This light can be seen from a very far distance. Devotees go for Girivalam walking around 12 km long trail to the hill.
AskGanesha wishes you a prosperous and bright Karthigai Deepam.Karthigai Deepam at Tiruvannamalai by Astrologer Amit