The next day is the day for farm animals - especially bulls.
Most farmers still use olden day machinery for plowing and for
irrigation. Survival without bulls would be difficult. Bulls,
cows and other farm animals are worshipped on this day. Bull
fights or Manju Virattu also takes place on this day. Every
house nurtures at least one bull to be a fierce fighter. The
horns are periodically sharpened. Traditionally it is believed
that a family loses status if it has no warrior bulls. Farmers
gather to display their fierce bulls. Each bull has a cloth
tied around its neck containing money. The owner of the bull
challenges the rest of the people to bring the bull under
control and get the victory cloth away from its neck. The
bulls are infuriated with lots of noise from the drums,
whistles, shouts and even fume. Fatal accidents happen at
times. The bulls are overpowered sometimes but it is a
difficult task. If the bull is overpowered, the owner of the
bull has to invite the conqueror to his house and serve a
Thiruvalluvar made a significant contribution to Tamil
Literature with Thirukkural. There are 1,330 verses of two
lines each in this work and they talk about all aspects of
human life. People visit their native towns and villages
during the harvest festival season.
In January, the sun gets into a holiday mood and Chennai gets
a cool respite from the heat. Time for family outings to the
colourful TTDC Trade Fair. The exhibition presents a panorama
of Tamil Nadu - places of tourist interest, cultural wealth
and economic progress.
Madurai brings you a spectacular re-enactment of the marriage
of the Pandiyan princess, Meenakshi to Lord Sundareswarar. An
ancient legend unfolds right before ones eyes as Lord Vishnu
rides to his sister's wedding on a gleaming real-gold horse
Held every year in January, the month long Mamallapuram Dance
Festival brings Mamallapuram to life celebrating a cultural
gala. Odissi, Kuchupudi, Kathakali and Bharatanatyam, the most
expressive of Indian classical dances are performed against
the serene backdrop of temple, sand and sea.
Natyanjali Dance Festival
The temple city of Chidambaram pays special tribute to Lord
Nataraja, the cosmic dancer, in a divine setting.
Chidambaram's gold-roofed temple with pillars depicting Lord
Nataraja in 108 poses from Bharatanatyam becomes a venue of
hectic religious activity at this time.
Held once in 12 years at Kumbakonam - the temple city that
gets its name from Kumbha - the divine pot. Legend has it that
Brahma, the creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed
of creation. Shiva, in the form of a hunter, shot an arrow at
the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank
at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple.
Arubathimoovar refers to the 63 saints of Shiva canonised for
leading exemplary lives of devotion and penance. Bronze
figures of these 63 saints adorn the magnificent Kapaliswar
Temple at Mylapore, Chennai. Once every year, they are carried
in a colourful procession through the streets of Mylapore.
The summer festival might find you in the 'Queen of Hill
Stations', evergreen Ooty; exquisite Kodaikkanal or enjoying
the salubrious climbs of Yercaud - where boat races, flower
and fruit shows are specially organised. It also presents a
splendid opportunity to go trekking in any of Tamil Nadu's
hill stations that promise unforgettable holidays off the
This festival makes a celebration out of a simple ritual bath.
And indeed, a bath at the picturesque Courtallam waterfalls is
no ordinary event. The healing waters of the roaring
Courtallam are famed for their medicinal properties.
A truly secular festival - where devotees flock to the shrine
of saint Quadirwali, believed to bless people of all faiths.
One of the descendants of the Saint is chosen as a Peer or
spiritual leader and is honoured with offerings. On the tenth
day of the festival, the Saint's tomb is anointed with
sandalwood - and later the holy sandal paste, renowned for its
healing powers, is distributed to everyone.
Dancing in a hypnotic trance to the rhythm of drums, devotees
of Muruga carry the KavadI, a flower-decked decoration, all
the way up the Palani Hills to fulfil their vow. According to
Hindu mythology, Idumban is said to have carried two sacred
hillocks on two ends of a pole placed on his shoulders, up
Wondrous legends surround the church - the most famous being
that of ship-wrecked Portuguese sailors who in the 16th
century vowed to build a great shrine for the Virgin Mary for
saving their lives in a terrible storm. The Velankanni
festival attracts thousands clad in orange robes to the sacred
spot where the ship landed. Equally famous are the Virgin
Mary's miraculous healing powers - earning for the church the
name 'Lourdes of the East'.
Literally, this means the festival of nine nights taking
unique and different forms in different states of India - all
to propitiate the goddess Shakti for power, wealth and
Rows of glittering earthen lamps outside every home and the
joyous burst of firecrackers mark Tamil Nadu's Festival of
In December, Chennai celebrates her priceless heritage of
Carnatic music and dance.