Temple and Festivals

Temples of Udaiyalur and Festivals

There are several old temples in Udaiyalur, other than the Kailasanathar temple. The most famous is the Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman Temple located on the northern border of the village, on the banks of river Mudikondan. Sri Palkulatthi Amman temple is situated on the banks of Palkulam – (Ksheera Theertham) on the Eastern border of the village, Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Perumal temple on the Western side and Sri Kamakshi Amman Temple on the Southern end, on the banks of river Kudamurutty. Sri Ayyanar Temple is between the Siva temple and Sri Selvamahakali amman temple.

Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman, also called Thillai Kali is one of the Ashta Kalis of Chola Kingdom. SHE is the Kaval Deivam (Protecting Deity) of Udaiyalur. As per the puranas, the consort of Sri Chidambaram, the Lord of Thillai, got angry with the Lord and came to Udaiyalur. SHE entered the village from North. On Thillai Kali’s request, the original village deity granted some space to stay. However, as Thillai Kali would not leave the place, the original deity moved to the other bank of Palkulam opposite Sri Kailasanathar temple. She thus, came to be known as Sri Palkulatthi Amman. The famous proverb “Ondavantha pidari oor pidariyai virattitham” – meaning the deity seeking shelter drove away the original resident, finds its origin in this story! Sri Sri Mahaswamihal once explained that Bhattarika became Pidari over the years much like Kathayi for Karthyayini. Thus Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman became the prime deity of the village.  Even though Sri Palkulatthi Amman and Ayyanar are worshipped, the village people worship Thillai Kali as main deity during the annual Thirunal (Thiruvizha) celebrated in Panguni [March – April].

The Thiruvizha is a month long festival, celebrated jointly by all communities in a sincere and gala manner. People come from nearby villages, towns and even from far off places on important days. Panguni is the time when harvesting is over and people have money. Thus, the Thiruvizha is a thanksgiving festival. It begins on the first Wednesday of Panguni, with “kappu” or “pratisara bandhanam”. The very word means protection. A thread is tied around the right hand of Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman and also the temple Poojari. Once this is done, all those present on the kappu day necessarily return to the village for the night till the “kappu” is removed as mark of closure of festival. The strong belief is that Amman grants all prayers. During the first fortnight, Sri Ayyanar visits the village on different vahanams (vehicles), carried by youngsters. The village residents welcome HIM with coconut, fruits and flowers, at their door. Sri Ayyanar represents all the deities of village during these days. On the third Wednesday, Sri Ayyanar goes to Sri Palkulatthi Amman to invite HER for the function and along with HER goes to nvite Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman Temple present in the Sri Siva temple. The uthsavar of Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman is taken out of the temple only during the festival. With all the three deities in attendance, in front of Sri Siva temple, a traditional song in praise of the Goddess takes place, which is called “Pallu Paduthal”. The family entitled to do so, recollect the miracles performed by the deities. Then Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman riding on Yali vahanam and Sri Palkulatthi Amman on horse vahanam are taken on a grand procession in a beautifully decorated chariot with Melam, Nadhaswaram, band and musicians proceeding ahead of them. All the villagers irrespective of caste and creed pull the chariot. The procession reaches the starting point almost at midnight. Among the various offerings, the most important is Kanmalar (a silver eye) and a silk pavadai. The people pulling the chariot are offered Panagam (spiced jaggery water), Neermor (butter milk), Kozhukkattai (modak), and Appam etc. Plenty of garlands adorn the deities.

On reaching the starting point, a special abhishekam is performed and each deity is taken on a procession on separate chariots. On reaching the place called mannadi, “Munnottam – Pinnottam”, which literally means, running forward and backward takes place, to the thrill of everyone present there.  50-60 people carry each Deity. Madurai Veeran who is a great devotee of Sri Ambal also participates. During this time 10 to 15 “Parais”, a percussion instrument, are played. One has to be physically present to actually experience the inexplicable joy produced by the resonance and rhythmic sound of these parais. People who prayed for their health offer salt and pepper on the deities.

Silambattam, a war like game is a part of the festival. It is played using thick 7 ft long canes. Skilled combatants fight several opponents simultaneously. Age is hardly a factor here! There was an old man who warded off several younger opponents single handedly and even beat them all! Other functions like abhishekam, koothu (a puranic musical drama) follow on Thursday. These days music recitals also take place. The deities are then brought to Sri Laksmi Narasimhar Temple on Friday and again “Pallu Paduthal” goes on. The performers indicate the next year’s prospects to the villagers. Ladies flock the temple from Friday through Sunday and follow the old tradition of lighting “Mavillakku Deepam”. A cup is made out of rice flour and jaggery, by pounding them together, along with little ghee, and then ghee is poured in it and as usual is lighted using a wick. On Sunday, the uthsavars are moved to Sri Kailasanathar temple for regular pooja, till next festival. People who fall ill or suffer from diseases of a particular part of the body pray to HER that they will keep clay idols of the full body, or the body parts during the festival. They are cured by HER! People desirous of off spring keep a horse idol. This way the potters are also benefited!

The Perumal temple is the center for various other village activities. As per puranas, Sri Agasthyar stayed here and performed pooja to Sri Laksmi Narasimhar, the temple’s presiding deity. Villagers conduct regular Ekadasi Bhajans and Sri Radha Kalyanam is celebrated annually in the temple complex.

There is a Draupathi Amman temple on the Western side. Recently Kumbabhishekam was performed. During Aadi, theemidhi is performed by those who had vowed to do so. SHE also answers their prayers.  They wear yellow robes and walk over burning coal and it is a sight to see. If they are pure and have upheld their vratham properly they come out totally unscathed and without even the slightest burn! It is really a test by fire and one who comes out unscathed has the satisfaction that he has kept his vratham properly.

A thiruvizha is also conducted for the Sri Kamakshi ambal for a week beginning on the Ist Sunday of every Chitrai month for a week. There is a Pillaiyar temple in the East end of the agraharam, and three in the vellalar streets. The village was named after Ulagamuzhududaiyal, the Queen of the Ist Kulothunaga Chozhan which became Udaiyalur in course of time.

Very large manyams of land have been given by Chola Kings for the upkeep of several temples of Tamil Nadu. However, not much income actually accrues. Udaiyalur is no exception!  The thiruvizhas and similar annual functions of any village, are celebrated very well with good participation. However, for villages with such great tradition and culture, there is a general shortage of funds for daily poojas. With the grace and blessings of HH Jagadguru of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, a Trust has been created to supplement income for the archakas and to fund some left out mandakapadis. Some Udaiyalurans residing in cities are underwriting part of the costs for pradoshams etc. as a mark of their happiness at the fact that they are doing well due to HER Grace. Such voluntary contributions are one way of preserving our People who fall ill or suffer from diseases of a particular part of the body pray to HER that they will keep clay idols of the full body, or the body parts during the festival. They are cured by HER! People desirous of off spring keep a horse idol. This way the potters are also benefited!

villages, towns and even from far off places on important days. Panguni is the time when harvesting is over and people have money. Thus, the Thiruvizha is a thanksgiving festival. It begins on the first Wednesday of Panguni, with “kappu” or “pratisara bandhanam”. The very word means protection. A thread is tied around the right hand of Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman and also the temple Poojari. Once this is done, all those present on the kappu day necessarily return to the village for the night till the “kappu” is removed as mark of closure of festival. The strong belief is that Amman grants all prayers. During the first fortnight, Sri Ayyanar visits the village on different vahanams (vehicles), carried by youngsters. The village residents welcome HIM with coconut, fruits and flowers, at their door. Sri Ayyanar represents all the deities of village during these days. On the third Wednesday, Sri Ayyanar goes to Sri Palkulatthi Amman to invite HER for the function and along with HER goes to nvite Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman Temple present in the Sri Siva temple. The uthsavar of Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman is taken out of the temple only during the festival. With all the three deities in attendance, in front of Sri Siva temple, a traditional song in praise of the Goddess takes place, which is called “Pallu Paduthal”. The family entitled to do so, recollect the miracles performed by the deities. Then Sri Selva Maha Kali Amman riding on Yali vahanam and Sri Palkulatthi Amman on horse vahanam are taken on a grand procession in a beautifully decorated chariot with Melam, Nadhaswaram, band and musicians proceeding ahead of them. All the villagers irrespective of caste and creed pull the chariot. The procession reaches the starting point almost at midnight. Among the various offerings, the most important is Kanmalar (a silver eye) and a silk pavadai. The people pulling the chariot are offered Panagam (spiced jaggery water), Neermor (butter milk), Kozhukkattai (modak), and Appam etc. Plenty of garlands adorn the deities.

puranas, Sri Agasthyar stayed here and performed pooja to Sri Laksmi Narasimhar, the temple’s presiding deity. Villagers conduct regular Ekadasi Bhajans and Sri Radha Kalyanam is celebrated annually in the temple complex.

There is a Draupathi Amman temple on the Western side. Recently Kumbabhishekam was performed. During Aadi, theemidhi is performed by those who had vowed to do so. SHE also answers their prayers.  They wear yellow robes and walk over burning coal and it is a sight to see. If they are pure and have upheld their vratham properly they come out totally unscathed and without even the slightest burn! It is really a test by fire and one who comes out unscathed has the satisfaction that he has kept his vratham properly.

A thiruvizha is also conducted for the Sri Kamakshi ambal for a week beginning on the Ist Sunday of every Chitrai month for a week. There is a Pillaiyar temple in the East end of the agraharam, and three in the vellalar streets. The village was named after Ulagamuzhududaiyal, the Queen of the Ist Kulothunaga Chozhan which became Udaiyalur in course of time.

Very large manyams of land have been given by Chola Kings for the upkeep of several temples of Tamil Nadu. However, not much income actually accrues. Udaiyalur is no exception!  The thiruvizhas and similar annual functions of any village, are celebrated very well with good participation. However, for villages with such great tradition and culture, there is a general shortage of funds for daily poojas. With the grace and blessings of HH Jagadguru of Sri Kanchi Kamakoti Mutt, a Trust has been created to supplement income for the archakas and to fund some left out mandakapadis. Some Udaiyalurans residing in cities are underwriting part of the costs for pradoshams etc. as a mark of their happiness at the fact that they are doing well due to HER Grace. Such voluntary contributions are one way of preserving our People

Thiruvizha

Sri Selvamakali Amman & Sri Palkulathi Amman Thiruvizha combined with Sri Ayyanar Thiruvizha is celebrated during the Tamil month of Panguni (between March – April) and the Grand Procession of Sri Selvamakali Amman & Sri Palkulathi Amman will take place on the third Wednesday of the month and followed by

Munnottam & Pinnottam

(i.e. Running Forward & Backward Directions) on the Wednesday & Thursday. Thousands of people witnessing the Grand Function.

The Thiruvizha is started the first Wednesday of Tamil Panguni month is called as Dwajarohanam. Sri Ayyanar Procession is started from the second Tuesday of the month till the third Tuesday celebrated by all the community people without any differentiation of Udaiyalur apart from the in a grand manner.