It is Panguni Uttiram today.
It seems to be a day at the heart of all festivals….The day of wedding of Goddess Meenakeshi and Lord Sundareshwara….birthday of Lord Ayyappa….Wedding day of Rama and Sita….One of two days of the year when you can see the feet of Lord Tyagaraja in the Tiruvaaroor temple….The birthstar of Ranganayaki, and the day when one can see the divine couple of Sri Rangam together in Utsavam….The birthday of Arjuna….
And what needs one say of Lord Muruga….Try going to Palani today….Or to the Murugan temple in Malaysia….or anywhere else….
And in Kapaaleeshwara temple in Mylapore….the oceanic din of aruvathi-moovar of yesterday has subsided….But there are marks all over….the roads bear witness to the aftermath of a tornado….the big chariot is resting in its parking place, like a warhorse after battle….the praakaaram-temple-courtyard floor is wet and sticky….the open-palanquins that were used to carry the Nayanmar idols are huddled in the courtyard, quite like the desks in a school classroom after the end-of-day bell has rung on the last day before summer holidays…
One walks to the shrine of Murugan, and then Arunagirinathar….mouths a line or two of the terrific Tiruppugazh….walks across the little shrine of the maiden Poompavai….reminds one of the time, more than a thousand years ago, when the child saint Jnanasambandar, sang in Mylapore, in the temple of this very Lord,
malivizA vIthi maTan^allAr mAmayilaik
kalivizAk kaNTAn kapAlIchcharam amarn^thAn
palivizAp pATalchey paN^kuni yuththiran^AL
olivizAk kANAthE pOthiyO pUmpAvAy. (TM 2, padikam 47, verse 7)
….asking the departed girl Poompavai, ‘how she could have left the world without seeing the festival of Panguni Uttiram’…
One walks into the sanctum of Goddess Karpaganbal…She is dressed in red….devotees are standing, hands folded, chanting verses….The priest waves Arati, and one feasts ones eyes on the feet of the Goddess….
Lord Kapaleeshwarar is adorned with a crown of Vilvam leaves….
The utsava idols of the Nayanmaars are back to their regular places…
The temple-tree, Punnai – its inclined plane trunk, tied with threads and papers carrying a hundred petitions….a bright looking girl, with a slight walking disability, circumambulates the tree with all devotion….the little shrine near the tree has the depiction of Parvati, as a peacock, offering worship to Kapaleeshwarar.
The utsava idols of Kapali, Karpagambal, Vinayaka, and Murukan are stationed between the Yaaga-shaala and the Shaneeshwara shrine, beaming on the pilgrims who walk past…
It is Panguni Uttiram day….God Kapalishwarar is in his earth…All is well above….