States Tamil Nadu Festivals Chitri Rai Festival

Chitri Rai Festival Tamil Nadu

Reenactment of the wedding of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi takes place in Madurai and is celebrated in the form of Chitrirai Festival. One of the grandest festivals in the city, it is observed in the month of April/May.

Chitri Rai Festival Tamil Nadu

Witness the divine union of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi in the ravishing setting of Meenakshi temple in the popular tourism destination of South India, Madurai. Beginning in the month of April which is also known as the Tamil month of Chitrai, this two-week celebration coincides with the 5th day of Chitrai. Placing its name on top of the festival list, the festivities in Madurai commence with a flag hoisting ceremony which with the coming days lets you set your eyes on the extravagant enactment of the heavenly wedding of Lord Sundareswarar (Lord Shiva) and Goddess Meenakshi (Lord Vishnu's sister). The union of the two divine souls was a way to bring together all the casts in unity and to them with love. After the reenactment of the marriage, the last days of this religious festival are cherished in the Kallazhagar Temple (Alagar/Azhagar Kovil) which is snuggled in the Alagar Hills set up close to Madurai. This tourist place is revered as the abode of Lord Kallazhagar, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Meenakshi's brother.

Brief History of the Festival

Lending our ears to the popular legend that revolves around the celebration of this festival, it is said that Goddess Meenakshi was born out of fire and was one of the most extraordinary Queen of the Pandya Kingdom after her father. At the time when Meenakshi was born to the Pandya Malayadhwaja Pandian and Queen Kanchana Malao, a voice was heard from the sky which said that the child is an embodiment of Shakti (Lord Shiva's wife) and hence Lord Shiva would come and marry her. With her skills, Meenakshi came out as a winner in wars and it was when she went to the resting place of Lord Shiva, Kailash that she discovered that she actually is an incarnation of Shakti and hence was promised by Lord Shiva that he will come to Madurai to tie the knot with her.Lord Kallazhagar, Meenakshi's brother also wanted to be shower his blessings on her wedding and was on his way on a golden horse but before he could reach the ceremony got over. To make it up to her brother, Goddess Meenakshi along with Lord Shiva went to River Vaigai where Lord Kallazhagar reached. The Lord in his rage didn't visit Madurai and gave the offerings to his sister and went back. After the marriage, Sundara Pandyan(Lord Shiva) presided over the throne of Pandya Kingdom.

Duration of the Festival

This popular festival of Tamilnadu is a 15 days festival that showcases the enactment of the crowning of Goddess Meenakshi and the union of Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi is celebrated.

Highlights/Rituals of the Festival

  • After the re-enactment of the wedding of Lord Shiva and Goddess Meenakshi, a large-scale feast is organised where a three-course meal is served to numerous devotees in groups.
  • One of the must things to do here is to witness the car festival of Meenakshi Temple that runs through the streets of Madurai during Chithirai.
  • Another attraction that would pull tourists is the arrival of Lord Kallazhagar in Vaigai River seated on a golden horse and the end of this festival, which as per the legend he did to reach Madurai and witness the wedding of Goddess Meenakshi.
  • Cross the vibrantly coloured stalls full of kurtis, dress materials, glass bangles of the 17th Century monument Pudhu Mandapam, which is known as the oldest shopping mall of Madurai.
  • Another tourism attraction of this festival is the Chithirai expo that is the perfect spot for picking up budget friendly goods and can enjoy the giant wheel ride.
  • Try out the sweet and spicy flavours of neer mor (a spicy buttermilk drink) and panagam (a tamarind and jaggery mixed drink) from the pandals that are etched on the roadside while on your sightseeing tour in Madurai.

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