Garudotsavam at Kancheepuram Varadarajaswami temple is a grand sight.
Generations of devotees have made it a point not to miss even a single
Garudotsavam. On Vaikasi Visakam day, which is the birthday of
Nammalwar, the lord visits the Nammalwar shrine and bless him.
In the month of Ani, the full moon is in the Jyesta constellation-Kettai
in Tamil. On this day, Jyesta Abishekam in srirangam, flot festival
in Mannargudi and padi Utsavam or festival of steps
at the Alagar Temple near Madurai are celebrated.
Padinettam Perukku or flood of the eighteenth is
a festival which occurs on the18th of the Tamil month,
Adi and is celebrated by people living in the Cauvery
delta. The Cauvery will be in full floods on that day, over flowing
its banks and submerging all the flights of steps at the innumerable
bathing Ghats all along the course of the river, in the districts
of Tiruchirappalli and Thanjavur. This is a festival peculiar to the Cauvery
in Tamil Nadu.
Even two or three days ahead of this festival Chapparams
are exhibited for sale all along the approaches to the river.
Chapparams are miniature temple chariots on tiny wooden
wheels with tapering towers artistically decorated with
glittering paper and cut flowers with a niche in the centre,
where pictures of gods and goddess can be mounted. From early
morning on Padinettam Perukku day, the children would
drag these tiny chariots along the metalled streets. In the evening the
children put lighted candles in the niches of the chapparams and
drag them again along the streets.
Worship takes on many forms, according to the customs
prevalent among the different communities that constitute the Hindu fold.
People of some communities make images out of mud, offer it kumkum, saffron,
sandal paste, incense and gur-mixed rice and coconut called Kappirisi.
It is the custom on tgis occasion to wear a saffron dyed thread ,married
couples tying it to each other. Bangles, black beads etc. are thrown as
offerings to the river Goddess and after chewing betal leaves, women
and children return home. Some married couples deposit
into the river, the garlands they had worn during their marriage.
After morning bath in the Cauvery, the Brahmins
offer her flowers and milk and to mark the occasion, they prepare
and partake of sweet payasamm in their homes. In the evening women
and children go out to the river-front with prepared Chitrannam
variegated rice food and after offering some to their river goddess,
eating the prepared food and return home. The Padinettam Perukku
is essentially a women's and children's festival .
It is customary, on this auspicious day to throw, bundle
of old cadjan leaf manuscripts which are worn out into the river,
instead of offering them to the fire. Gods and goddess are taken
from the temple around noon to the mantapas on the Cauvery banks
during this festival.