Tamil New Year, also known as Puthuvarusham and Puthandu, is the very first day in the Tamil calendar and therefore is celebrated nothing less than a festival. Its date is set according to the Hindu calendar’s solar cycle and every year, it falls in April, mostly on the 14th.
In the Hindu community, the same day is celebrated as the traditional new year and is known by different names in different regions. For example, it is called Vishu in Kerala and Baisakhi in central and northern India.
The Tamil New Year is celebrated with great joy with people greeting one another with Puthāaṇdu vāazhthugal! or Iṉiya puthaandu nalvāazhthugal! which translates to Happy New Year.
The day is mainly celebrated as an excuse to spend quality family time. People clean their house; decorate a tray with flowers, fruits, and other auspicious items. They also visit local temples and light up their family Puja altars. This is also the day to wear new clothes and seek blessings from elders. People also cook a complete vegetarian feast on this day.
On the eve of Tamil New Year, a special tray is arranged with betel leaves, flowers, fruits, coins/money, gold/silver jewellery, and a mirror. People see this tray first thing in the morning of the new year as it is considered very auspicious.
People start their day by taking a sacred bath and then praying for a fruitful year ahead. A lot of things that are believed to be auspicious are collected and then offered to God.
People participate in home decorations with great enthusiasm. Home entrances are specially ornated with flowers and colored rice powder. People also make Rangoli designs outside their homes, which in this part of the country is known as Kolam.
The Tamil New Year also sees lots of celebrations at prominent temples in Tamil Nadu. On new year's day, a big Car Festival is held near Kumbakonam at Tiruvidaimarudur. A few festivals are also held at Kanchipuram, Tiruchirapalli, and some other places.
Later in the day, families get together to have a hearty feast. Mangai-Pachadi is a special dish that is prepared from a number of ingredients and flavors. It is made from astringent mustard, sour raw mango, red chillies, bitter neem, and sweet jaggery. As a ritual, this festive dish is tasted by all the family members.
This dish also has a very symbolic meaning. Since it is made from multiple flavours - sour, bittersweet etc, it sends out a message that one should expect similar flavours in the upcoming year. It also signifies that experiences are ephemeral & transitory and no event is wholly bitter or sweet. It teaches us to make the most out of our experiences.
The Tamil New Year is also marked with fun games played between children and youth. Coconut wars or por-thenkai is played in multiple villages. It is especially prominent in north Tamil Nadu. Cart races are also held at some places.
Chennai in Tamil Nadu is a must-visit if you want to explore the Indian culture in its brimming raw essence. The tourist attractions, festivals and events are the major reasons to explore Tamil Nadu. And one such event which you cannot hope to miss is the Tamil New Year. To experience this event, you can travel to Chennai which is located at a distance of 2,210, 1,337, 1,677, and 347 km from Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata and Bengaluru respectively. Here is how you can reach Chennai, Tamil Nadu by the following means of transportation.
Chennai being the capital of Tamil Nadu, you can consider deboarding at the Chennai International Airport (MAA). In the 2018-19 fiscal year, this airport handled total passenger traffic of about 22.5 million, due to this, it is also considered the third busiest airport in the country. It has got very good connectivity with other Indian cities with frequent flights travelling to and fro. Once you deboard at the airport, you can take local means of transportation available to reach your destination.
If you are planning to travel by train, then your best options (depending upon your convenience) would be to deboard at either Chennai Central, Chennai Egmore and Tambaram stations.
All these three stations are considered to be major railheads with good connectivity with other Indian cities. Once off the station, you can take any means of public transport available to reach your destination.
Chennai has been well-connected with other Indian cities by motorable road networks. Thus, if you are planning on travelling here by road, then you can take interstate/private buses or taxis from the nearby regions which are readily available. If both these options don’t suit you, then, you can consider self-driving to this place.
From Mysuru - 482 km via NH48
From Puducherry - 166 km via NH32
From Vellore - 137 km via Vellore Chennai Road
You can plan your trip and create your own route to the city with Adotrip’s technically driven circuit planner. Click here.