Thirumalai Naicker Palace - Festivals

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Naick History   Palace   Festivals   Natakasala   Thief Entered   Rajarajeshwari Temple   Rangavilasa   Naubatkhana
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Festivals

Thirumalai Naick instituted a number of special festivals in the temple of Meenakshi, among them the Chitrai Festival was the most celebrated one. Originally this festival was celebrated during the month of Thai (January). Because of busy harvest season people in and around Madurai were not able to attend this festival and took part in pulling the Temple Car. In order to solve this problem, the King Thirumalai Naick changed the festival to Chitrai (April) for the convenience of the village yoke.

Sceptre Festival: This festival was celebrated for a number of days. In the eighth day of the festival the Goddess used to be specially decorated and placed in the special pavilion of the temple. On that day, the King will visit the temple and after special worship, receive the royal sceptre from the hand of the Goddess Meenakshi. Then the Sceptre would be brought to the palace on the royal elephant in a great procession. The sceptre would be placed on the throne and would receive special worship from the hands of the king. The diginatories, commanders, poets and other palace servants would behonoured with titles and gifts would be presented on that occasion. The sceptre will remain enthroned in the celestial pavilion on the whole day and after due worship it will be returned to the temple the next day. Symbolically this function shows that the country was being ruled by Goddess Meenakshi and the Naick ruler administered the country as a representative of the Goddess. This festival was continued even in the 18th century by the successor, like queen Mangammal.

Navaraathiri Festival: This festival was celebrated by the King for nine nights (hence it is called Navaraathiri) in the month of Purattaasi (september) with great Pomp. This is one of the famous festivals celebrated in all the Amman Shrines in Tamilnadu. On these nine nights the Goddess will be decorated on various forms and kolu (Puppet Exhibition) will be arranged for the visit and worship of the common people. In the palace, the King used to bedeck himself with costly jewels and garments and be seated with audience in the celestial pavilion on all the nine days. This was the occasion when the feudatories used to pay tributes and present costly jewels and bring other gifts to the King. As a part of the daily routine the King used to appear in the evenings, in the court-yard when the palace guards used to salute him with torches and show various feats with lights. Queen's apartment were located to the west of the Swargavilasa. In the south-west may be seen a room with block polished columns supporting the root. The queens used to hear music and literary discourses in this portion during the mornings.



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