Thirunedunthandakam At Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Divya Desam Commences

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On the eve of Pagal Pathu that is today, December 31, 2013; Vijaya Varusha Margazhi Kettai (16th naal), Thirunedunthandakam as part of Thiruadhyayana Utsavam commenced at 7 pm at Sri Ranganathaswamy Divya Desam, Srirangam.  Prior to this, the Araiyars were brought with music and maryadhai to the temple.

On January 1, 2014; Vijaya Varusha Margazhi Moolam (17th naal), Pagal Pathu utsavam will commence at Srirangam. At 6:15 am (Dhanur lagnam), Nammperumal purappadu will take place from moolasthanam. Nammperumal will reach Arjuna Mandapam at 7:15 am. Araiyar seva will take place between 7:45 am and 1 pm.

Araiyars are male priests who spend several years studying the 4000 Divya Prabhandham and the traditional commentaries on the hymns.These are set to music and dance steps are done to reveal the meaning(based on Tampiran pati).

This is a hereditary tradition and the dress is panchakacham veshti and a conical velvet cap (Araiyar kulla) embroidered with Shanku, Chakram and Thiruman. Araiyar swami wears perumal’s garland and holds a pair of cymbals. First the relevant verses are sung. Then abhinayam (gestures) is done. Third step the inner meaning is stated.

This tradition goes back to the times of Nathamuni who set the music and steps for the four thousand. About today’s Thirunedunthandakam, it celebrates Parasara Bhattar’s victory over an Advaithic scholar in Melkote. Using Thirumangai Azhwar’s Thirunedunthandakam Parasar Bhattar defeated the Advaitin who became his disciple, who became famous as Nanjeeyar. When Parasara Bhattar returned to Srirangam and reported the incident Namperumal asked Bhattar to repeat the winning arguments. Thus it is that on the eve of Pagal Pathu Araiyars enact this incident before Sri Ranganatha.

At about 6:15 pm, Thiruchinnam, theevati and drummers came to summon the Araiyars. The boy who hits with the deer skin to clear the way for the divine performers was there. The Araiyars, Sri LaksmiNarayana Araiyar, Sri Rangachariar Araiyar, Sri Ranganatha Araiyar, Sri Krishna Araiyar and Sri Madhava Araiyar were all ready in thair traditional attire to perform before the Master Actor Sri Ranganatha. From their Thirumaligai on East Uthira Veedhi they entered temple through the white gopuram entrance and proceeded to Sri Ramanuja Sannidhi. They were honoured with Parivattam, malai, theertham and Sri Sathari. The same was accorded at the adjacent Parthasarathi Sannidhi. Araiyars then went to Sri Nammazhwar Sannidhi where similar honours were accorded. After worshipping Garudazhwar, they entered temple after offering Dandavath pranamams at the Dwajha sthambam. Inside they offered dandavaths infront of Vishvaksena sannidhi. Then they did pradakshinam before entering the sanctum sanctorum. Araiyar Seva takes place between 7:45-9 pm at Santanu Mandapam. By the time Theertha ghosti is over it will be 11:30 pm.

The following are some of the photographs taken earlier today…

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Courtesy: Vyjayanthi and Sundararajan

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