Skip to main content

Featured Post

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 - Its Time to Light the lamps!

Karthikai could possibly be called the South Indian equivalent for Diwali. While Diwali for us means Ganga-snanam (purifying bath), new clothes and of course, crackers, it is Karthikai for which all the lamps come out in full force... especially the earthen ones! The festival is celebrated over 3 days - the first day is called Bharani Deepam, the second is called Annamalai Deepam, and the third is Sarvalaya Deepam. The second is the main day, when a huge lamp is lit on the holy mountain of Thiruvannamalai, symbolising the form of Shiva as a never ending pillar of light (Yes, that's another long story, one I dont have time to write right now!). 

In our south-Indian dominated colony, Karthikai arrives with much fanfare, with special pujas in the temple, which I have never attended, thanks to having to celebrate the festival at home, and stay guard over the lamps, which have to be constantly replenished with oil! But more interesting are the beautiful red and white kolams decorating every house and the beautiful lamps which light up the usually dark passages. I have earlier written posts on Karthikai, mentioning different types of lamps, as well as my own celebrations, and this year, here are some photographs once again from the celebrations at my house.....

Welcoming you to my home on the first day.....

A free hand kolam...

Now all lit up!

Those aren't the only lamps....

Some more lamps in the corner.

One of my favourites.. this one lasts for hours and hours!

Another pretty one...

The most important part of the festival - the prasadam! Pori urundai!!! Samhith must have eaten a dozen of these!!
And now for the second day....

Another free hand effort!

All lit and ready!

Kept inside on a plate...

Another set

Samhith bought this one at his school fair!

And finally, this was how the approach to our house looked!

As you can see from these pics, we effectively blocked the path to not just our house, but also the neighbouring  ones with our lamps! And this was just the beginning, for even the others lit their lamps a little later....though not as many as these!!! Apologies too all who had to navigate this flaming stairway for two whole days! Now to pack up all these lamps (more than 65 of them, yes, i counted!) for next year! Sigh!

Related Posts:


  1. Beautiful festival.

  2. The lamps look so enchanting and of course I had never heard of this before!

  3. Thanks Mridula! i guess there are so many festivals in india, that none of us can possibly know abt all of them!!!

  4. Beautiful Anu, Usually I dont' celebrate this festival as our karthik masa is along with diwali.But my neighbour yesterday coaxed me and I too decorated my house with diyas. It was a nice feeling.

  5. THanks chitra! here, karthikai is much more important than diwali ! my in laws light just a couple of lamps for diwali... at my mom's place we used to celebrate both! and for karthikai, i used to draw elaborate kolams inside the house and light lamps in a pattern! cant do that now till samhith grows up! glad to hear that u enjoyed it this year!

  6. Beautiful! This is so new to me Anu. So you celebrate Diwali 2 times a year, I am jealous!!
    Wonderful shots of Rangoli and glittering Diyas.

  7. lovely lamps and light show!

  8. Beautiful, Anu! I know abt this festival but never celebrated at home. Who did the kolams? Pretty designs. I do with dry powder, not the wet ones. Just don't know how to do it. :P

  9. Ah! Very beautiful indeed! I didn't know about this festival, thanks for introducing with such lovely writeup! 

  10. Me, Nisha! I love drawing kolams, esp the ones with the wet flour!

  11. Nice blog with good and interesting information. I always keep in touch with your blog and going to bookmark also.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

Pandharpur Yatra 2023

The first time I visited Pandharpur was back in 2007 . The names Vitthal and Pandharpur, were just names to me. I had heard of them, but that was about it. Seeing the lord standing on the brick, hands on his hips, was memorable, but more memorable was the sight that greeted us as we walked out of the main sanctum of the temple. In the mandap just outside were a group of devotees singing abhangs , and dancing. This was the first time I had heard abhangs , and even almost 15 years later, I can remember the welling of feeling within me, listening to the songs, and how fascinated I was by the sight of the devotees dancing, lost in their love of the Lord. Over the years, as I have read more about Vitthal, and participated in Ashadi Ekadashi programmes at Puttaparthi, that first experience has stayed clear in my mind and heart. Every time I tell my Balvikas students of the saints who sang of Vitthala, it is that experience that I re-live. I visited Pandharpur again, in 2010, but that experie