Maha deepam lights up night sky in Tiruv­annamalai

Karthigai Deepam festival celebrated at the ancient Sri Aruna­chal­eswarar temple in Tiruv­annamalai.
Tiruvannamalai/Chennai: Devotion and fervour marked the Karthigai Deepam festival at the ancient Sri Aruna­chal­eswarar temple in Tiruv­annamalai, near here. Cries of “Annamalayarukku arohara” by teeming devotees reverberated in the air, as the maha deepam was lit atop the Tiruvannamalai hill exactly at 6 pm Sunday.
The deepam, lit at an altitude of about 2,900 feet, was powered by over 3,500 kg of ghee, and was visible for several miles around.
People in the town lit terracotta lamps. Several thousand devotees started descending upon the temple since Saturday even­ing. At 4 am on Sunday, pri­ests lit the Bharani Deepam at the temple. After the Ard­ha­nareeswarar deity was tak­en around the flagmast of Sri Arunacha­lesw­arar temple, the maha deepam was lit atop the hill.
The deepam’s wick measured over 300 metres and was made with a special cloth and inserted in the cauldron. The lighting of the deepam was preceded by a grand procession in which the procession deities of Lord Vin­ay­aka, Lord Muruga along with His consorts, Valli and De­iv­anai, the presiding deities of the temple, Lord An­namalaiar and His consort Unnamulaiamman, Pa­ra­s­akthi and Chandi­kesw­arar were taken around.
After the lighting of the maha deepam, devotees proceeded to perform girivalam (circumambulation) of the hill. It is said over 20 lakh devotees from various parts of India and from abroad witnessed the Karthigai maha deepam, amidst tight security arrangements. In Chennai, oil lamps were lit in temples and houses. Shopkeepers and business establishments also observed Karthigai Deepam by lighting oil lamps.
The maha deepam on the mountain would burn for more than 11 days till November 27, said the temple authorities.
More than 2,000 TN government transport buses and nine trains from different parts of south Tamil Nadu brought devotees to Tiruvan­namalai for the festival.
( Source : dc )
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