Tamil’s festival always starts with the famous Chithirai Thirunaal that is held in the renowned Madurai temple, 500-km from Chennai. The festivity starts from the Tamil month Chithirai (April-May) and ends on the tenth day. The celebration is filled with pomp and festivity.
The highlight is the procession of Lord ‘Kallazhagar’ (Lord Vishnu) the elder brother of Goddess Meenakshi, who proceeds from his abode – Azhagarmalai 30-km from Madurai, to give away his sister in marriage to Lord Sundareshwar. One can witness an ancient legend unfold right before your eyes as Lord Vishnu rides to his sister’s wedding on gleaming real-gold horse chariot. The ‘Kallazhagar’ entering the river Vaigai is indeed a spectacular sight.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu as Azhagar rode on a golden horse to Madurai to the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi (Parvati) with Lord Sundareshwar (Lord Shiva).
On the occasion, a decorated chariot carrying the two idols of the couple is taken around the town to the tumultuous notes of Nadaswaram and beats of drums. A spiritual ambience descends on Madurai. As the procession passes through the streets and in the vicinity of the ‘Devasthanam’, devotees make offerings of coconuts, flowers, camphor and Agarbattis (incense sticks).
A spirit of devotion marked by pomp and gaiety pervades right through the day. The festival draws a mammoth crowd. A trade exhibition and fairs organized here lend festivity to the occasion.