Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Srirangam Chitrai Kona Voyali

Gifts from Andal of Srivilliputhur Divya Desam, Display of the 'beloved's' presentation atop the Elephant, Silver Horse Vahana beneath the 'Vandalur Chapparam', Golden Horse Vahana and the Exciting Kona Voiyali mark the 8th day of the Chitrai Brahmotsavam in Srirangam

While the 8th day of the Chitrai Brahmotsavam is popular for the Kona Voyali presentation in the evening, the day is also special for other reasons.
It is the only day when the morning Vahana procession is delayed to 7am as against the 5am/6am on other days. And there is a good reason for that.

Andal's gifts to Lord Ranganatha
Early in the morning, a big contingent from the Andal temple in Srivilliputhur Divya Desam, led by the 225th descendant of Periyazhvar had gathered at the Ranga Vilas Mandapa. It was an occasion to present Andal’s gifts to her beloved Lord Rangatha of Srirangam ahead of the famous Chariot festival the next morning. Mounted atop the temple elephant and led by the beating of the drums as is the traditional centuries old practice, the lead priests of the Srirangam temple went around the four streets showcasing the loving gifts that had just arrived from Srivilliputhur.

Have thus displayed the special gifts to the residents of Srirangam, these were presented to Lord Ranganatha at 7am.

The shining silk vastram presented by Andal is the one worn by Lord Namperumal the next morning on the occasion of the Chariot festival.

Historically, the day leading up to the Chitrai Chariot festival is one of the most crowded days in the year in Srirangam, both inside the temple and outside. But with the statewide bandh call on the day of the ‘Chitrai Ther’, it was a quieter day this year.
The morning Silver Horse Vahana procession around the four Chitrai streets on the specially decorated ‘Vandalur Chapparam’ was watched only by a handful of the local residents, leaving them quite surprised for this is the day when people land up from all the nearby villages in several thousands.
As the day passed by, the villagers started trickling in. Much like the Aruvathumoovar (63 Nayanmar procession) festival day in Panguni at the Kapaleeswarar temple in Mylapore, the evening prior to the Chariot Festival in Chitrai  in Srirangam is also one when food is distributed in large quantities, especially on the East Chitrai Street. Typical with the eating habits of the people, the food and water packets are littered on to the four streets making it a tricky exercise every year for the carriers of the Lord on the Golden Horse Vahana and the presentation of the Kona Voiyali later in the evening.

Better arrangement by the temple authorities to clean up the garbage meant it was a clean platform for the Sri Patham Thangis (http://prtraveller.blogspot.in/2017/04/sri-patham-thangis-srirangam.html)who had gathered in hundreds (Vethal Volunteer Group) to present the once in a year Kona Voyali  of the Lord on the Golden Horse at the Southern end of the East Chitrai Street. This Chitrai Horse Vahana is one of the most eagerly looked for event of the year in Srirangam.

Kona Voiyali
Several hundreds of residents were perched on the roof tops as early as 7pm through the Southern stretch of the East Chitrai Street with their video cameras to capture this unique display of Lord Namperumal.  A few had even climbed the Chariot, that had been colourfully decorated for the next morning’s procession, and positioned themselves on top of it to watch the special skills of the Sri Patham Thangis as they carried the Lord at great speed diagonally one way and then the other  in a zig zag motion. 
It lasted around ten minutes and the traditionalists had seen this for many years. And yet, every time one watches the Sri Patham Thangis in action with this Kona Voiyali display in Chitrai, one gets a new devotional feeling about their skills in presenting the special walking steps of Lord Namperumal within such a small area where people line up the entire stretch on either side of the East Chitrai Street.

The loudest round of applause of the Chitrai Brahmotsavam was heard once the Sri Patham Thangis completed the exciting Kona Voyali presentation in front of the Chariot. One found a great sense of happiness among these carriers of the Lord for having presented them with this great opportunity to showcase this zig zag walking mode of Namperumal.
video
Video as received 
As the Lord made his way back to the temple just after 9pm on Monday evening, one was witness to the not so happy part of the festival. There was wasted food scattered on South Chitrai Street. Devotees were seen sleeping all over the temple in several thousands in the Ranga Vilas Mandapa, in front of the Sannidhis, on the Manal Veli and in the Nandavanam.  Late on this hot Chitrai evening, there had gathered a sizeable crowd though not in the numbers one is typically used to in the traditional summers in Srirangam.

If one thought the day that had begun just after 5am with the welcoming of the gifts of Andal had ended with the Golden Horse Vahana Procession, the onlookers were left in awe of the devotional fervour of the Villagers. Well past 10pm, as part of their annual prayers, there were many who did ‘anga pradakshanam’ around the four Chitrai streets leaving many of the residents speechless at this total devotion of the villagers who had come in from remote locations of the Trichy District.

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