Cittirai Festivals- Madhurai Cittirai Festivals

Cittirai Festivals:Chithirai Festival or Chithirai Thiruvizha is an annual celebration celebrated in the city of Madurai during the month of April. It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai. It lasts for one month of which the first 15 days mark the celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and the Marriage of Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi, and the next 15 days mark the celebrations of the Journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazhagar temple in Alagar Koyil to Madurai.
Cittirai Festivals

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Cittirai Festivals

Citirai festivals are held in Madurai throughout the year, and hence are known to be Madhurai Cittirai Festivals. These festivals attract people from far and wide. This festival is one of the grandest celebrations in the Indian subcontinent.
The annual Bhramhotsavam is an occasion which is celebrated in the month of Chittirai. The Chittirai festival also shares the day with the annual festival at Tirumaaliruncholai. The Divine marriage is nothing but a procession of deities from Tirupparamkunram. During this time, the entire area in and around Madurai is filled with light and it becomes a huge place for celebration.
The Chittirai festival starts on the 5th day of the bright half of the month of Chittirai and the important events in this time fall on the 8th, 9th and the 10th days of the festival. The eighth day of the Chittirai festival is an important day as this day witnesses the coronation of Meenakshi. It is also the day when procession is done on silver thrones. The 9th day is the digvijaya festival and the 10th day marks the wedding of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar.
It has been said that Vishnu gave his sister away in marriage to Shiva and in memory of that an image of Vishnu is brought in procession from Tirupparamkunram to Madurai. Since Lord Subramanya is the presiding deity of the Tirupparamkunram temple, an image of Subramanya leads the procession and after the wedding, images of Meenakshi and Sundareswarar are taken out in a grand procession on a palanquin and a silver elephant respectively.
During this festival, Kallazhagar from Azhagar Koyil (Tirumaaliruncholai) visit Vandiyur, near the Vaigai river. This lies on the eastern outskirts of Madurai. It is also believed that Kallazhagar realizes that he is too late for his sisters wedding. At this time, he refuses to cross the river. He then returns disappointed to Azhagar koyil.

History of Cittirai Festivals

Historically, the chittirai festival used to be celebrated in the month of Maasi. Now it has been moved to the month of Chittirai in the period of the Naik kings. This is done so that the festival is in line with that of Azhagar Koyil.
This is also called as chariot festival is celebrated on the 11th day of the annual festival.
It has been said that Somasundara Vimanam who is also called as Somaskanda Vimanam or the Somachanda Vimanam was designed by Viswakarma. This shrine was built by Dharma Deva. Then Vishnu took his place here. The temple is located among hills and is engulfed by two forts Azhagapuri and the Hiranyapuri. The southern gateway to the fort is the main entrance and it is called the Hiranyankottai vaasal. The Tirumalai Nayakar mandapam is a grand structure. The Anna Vahana Mandapam has sculptures describing scenes from the Puranas.
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