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2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Karthikai -2009 - Bharani Deepam

Karthik – the word signifies many things – the 8th month of the Hindu calendar, and also the 3rd Nakshatram, or star, according to the Indian system of astrology. Most of all, it is one of the names of Muruga, the son of Shiva and Parvati, a name he earned, having been nurtured by the Krittikas – 6 young girls born under the Karthik star, who picked up the 6 babies born of Shiva’s sparks from the river ganga, and who merged to take the form of Karthikeya.

Karthikai Deepam is a festival celebrating this event, falling in the Karthik month on the day when the Karthik star shines above us. It is, in a way, the south Indian equivalent of Diwali, for we celebrate this day by lighting lamps all over our house.

The first day of the festival falls on the day when the ascendant star is Bharani, and is hence called “Bharani Deepam”. In our house, it is this day which is special, and we prepare a special confection of Nell Pori (paddy flakes) and Aval Pori (puffed paddy flakes). For dinner, we also make Adai (a thicker variety of Dosa) with whole grains.

Here are my pics of the celebrations – mostly my kolam with the lamps…….  Sorry for not taking any more pics, but we were rather busy with Samhith’s classes, and had no time for more…….

Meanwhile, today is Annamalai Deepam, the main day of the festival, where a huge lamp is lit on the Arunachala hill at Thiruvannamalai. We shall wait for the live coverage of the lamp being lit (on Podhigai TV) and then light our own lamps, hoping that someday, we shall be able to see the light directly rather than on TV.

There are quite a few videos of the Deepam on You-Tube, but I found an interesting blog, Living in the embrace of Arunachala , where the author, Richard Clarke, who lives with his wife in the holy town gives a day-by-day account of the festival. The narrative is interesting as well as a visual treat….. Do check it out….


  1. You know so much about the festivals!

  2. Felt like I had visited home!

    I love the nell pori..I am so grateful for being a reader of your blog . Thanks so much for the post about the festivel, the signifcance and photos, The lamps looks beautiful.

    I pray to Annamalayar to shower ur family with his choicest blessings.Wishing you a trip to thirvannamalai soon.

  3. Beautiful Pictures..And I agree with know much about the festivals :)

  4. @ Mridula : well, guess i ought to know, considering my mother and mother-in-law are festival experts, both perform so many pujas and celebrate so many festivals.. grew up with one and found myself in a house with another one..... so by now, its part of me... :-))

    @ Sri : thanks so much!! i have been to thiruvannamalai thrice, but would welcome any chance to visit it.....

    @ Tarun : thanks a lot!

  5. Hi Anu...
    Happpy karthigai deepam to you too....

    Jus lit all velakkus and now waiting to dig into pori... love eeeeet :)

  6. Nice pictures Anu.
    i watched the Arunachala jyoti yesterday. While the jyoti was lit and the Lord made an entry as the Ardhanareeshwara tears were rolling down my eyes.A great moment indeed!


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