On the 7th day (24/June/13) of Uthsavam is the grand Chariot Festival (Thiruther). Early Morning Sri Azhagiya Singar with Ubaya Nachimars ascended the Thiruther. The purappadu began at around 07.00 am.
The big Chariot in Thiruvallikkeni is pulled twice every year. First duing the Brahmothsavam of Sri Parthasarathi, the charioteer of Arjuna aka Parthan. The Ther is not very big but is pretty majestic ~ it has wheels made of iron steel as the roads are of thar, generally, the uthsavam concludes in less than 2 hours with most of the time being taken at street corners where turn has to be negotiated. In some Temples, the Ther has hydraulic breaks also; but not in Triplicane, here is is stopped using wedges. Remember Temple Thers [chariots] do not have steering for turning the wheel ~ it is done through deft usage of ‘sliding wedges’, known as ‘muttu kattai’. In Street corners, they push the chariot using the ‘crow bar’ technique
The Ther festival combines all people ~ it engages so many. In villages, people will not move out of the village when there is the Car festival, all the people will join together to pull the Chariot at Thiruvallikkeni – it is grand festivity – hundreds will come to pull; the streets would be decorated with beautiful kolams, at many places – buttermilk and panagam [jaggery water] [now a days – cool drinks] would be served to devotees.
It is a great pleasure to see the movement of Chariot with its big wheels gliding smoothly and the top portion slowly swinging. In some places huge vadam made of coir rope is used to pull – at Thiruvallikkeni this ‘pull string’ [ther vadam] is made of steel and would weigh heavily.
Lord Thelliya Singar remains on the Thiruther itself till evening. In the evening there would be usual ‘pathi ulavuthal’ and purappadu, after which ‘thotta thirumanjanam’ would take place. This used to happen in the cool Vasantha Mantapam situate in Venkata Rangam Street – unfortunately, this is no longer there and thirumanjanam takes place in the temple itself.
Photo and News Courtesy: Sri Sampathkumar Srinivasan