Want to be a part of a fun, cheerful, and oh-so-divine celebration? Well, the Aurbathimoovar Festival might just be up your alley. They say Kerala is God’s own country, but Aurbathimoovar Festival might just be God’s own festival. Celebrated in every nook and cranny of Chennai, this festival has a ton of legends and beliefs associated with it.
The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is where the whole town comes to witness the holy yet ecstatic pious celebrations. However, that doesn’t stop the locals to celebrate in their own small-scale way by fancily decorating their homes as well.
Starting from the very city it is celebrated in to the festival itself - there are numerous stories behind this whole celebration. Located in the serene location of Chennai’s Mylapore, the festival has a rich history through and through.
Apparently, the town’s name is derived from Mylia which translates to peacock. And it is said that here, Goddess Parvati used to practice penance often in order to marry Lord Shiva. Interestingly, she used to do so in the form of a peacock, and that’s how the city got its name.
Talking about the origin of the festival, the Kapaleeshwarar Temple, where the festival is celebrated, is of high religious value. As old as 400 yeras, it is a classic product of Pallavan architecture. However, the main reason this temple is popular is that it houses a whopping 63 bronze idols of Nayanmars aka Shaivaite saints.
These saints are highly revered for leading a life of complete atonement and dedicated it entirely to the devotion of Lord Shiva. They have also originally written many psalms in the devotion of Shiva and it is to celebrate these saints that the festival is observed.
1. The Procession. The date of the festival is the time when these bronze statues see the world outside. All 63 idols are carried around the town for the public to see and be a part of the holy parade. The whole affair is made out to be very colourful as well. The locals offer fruits and flowers to express their devotion to the divine.
2. Decorations, Decorations, Decorations. The whole place comes to life during the celebration of the holy festival. Houses, as well as streets, are liberally decorated with kolams (Rangoli). The drawings are mostly made from chalk powder, rice flour, rock powder, or even synthetically coloured powders.
3. Music and Dance. While folk music enriches the air of Mylapore all through during the Aurbathimoovar Festival, it’s Koothu and Kokkalikattai dances that paint the town red with energy and liveliness. A very special puppet show is also arranged called Thoippavai.
Capital of Tamil Nadu, Chennai is the major economic, educational, and cultural center of South India. Also counted among the top Indian cities visited by foreign tourists, it is located at a distance of 2,201, 347, 1,337, 1,683 km from Delhi, Bengaluru, Mumbai, and Kolkata respectively. Here’s how you can reach the city to attend the Aurbathimoovar Festival.
By Air. Chennai International Airport is the main airport serving the Chennai city. Being one of the main four airports in India, it handled about 22 million passengers in the year 2018-19. It is expected to reach its peak at 40 million by 2022. Here is flight information if you’re planning to visit Chennai via air.
By Train. Although Chennai houses a number of railway stations, the major one is Chennai Central. It was previously named as Madras Central. It is also South India’s busiest railway station. Having the railway station’s building designed by George Harding, it is also one of the prime landmarks of the city. Here is your travel guide to reach Chennai via train.
By Road. If you happen to live near Chennai, then traveling by road is also a very suitable option. There are multiple of luxury and deluxe buses that run between Chennai and nearby places. From Mysore, the bus fares start from Rs.800; from Madurai, the bus fares start from Rs.600; from Nellore, it starts from Rs.500; from Kanchipuram, it’s Rs.500; and, from Tirupati, it starts from Rs.140.
If you have your own vehicle or you have a hired cab, you can take the following routes: