Festivals in Tamil Nadu

A calendar year for Tamil Nadu is dotted with some really colorful and culturally important festivals and that too a lot of them. The traditions of olden times are still very much prevalent in Tamil Nadu and they can be seen during the festivals that are celebrated in the state. tamil nadu india festival, tamilnadu festival tours, festivals in tamil nadu, festivals in tamilnadu, tamil nadu festival tour The new tourist puller for Tamil Nadu from Festival group, are the dance festivals like Natyanjali Dance Festival. It is not that they were started in recent past, but they have been promoted only now, the way they ought to be promoted.

Like everywhere else, festivals in Tamil Nadu too are generally religious. But it is the amount of culture that is displayed in these festivals that makes them so very special. Most of the festivals are Temple Festivals. And why not; so many temples are present in the state and almost every temple has their own festival or fair. These festivals fall according to the months in Indian Calendar. tamil nadu india festival, tamilnadu festival tours, festivals in tamil nadu, festivals in tamilnadu, tamil nadu festival tour And most of the temple festivals come between September and November, and between March and June.

The major festivals of Tamil Nadu :

Natyanjali Dance Festival
Natyanjali Dance Festival may be a cultural festival but it has a religious significance as well as the festival is dedicated to Lord Shiva in the form of Nataraja, 'The Cosmic Dancer'. Held in the temple city of Chidambaram in the month of February, Natyanjali Dance Festival attracts famous and excellent classical dancers as well as young performers, for whom this is a perfect platform to showcase their talent.

Karthigai Deepam
Karthigai Deepam Festival is the festival of light of Tamil Nadu. It is a nine day festival and on all days houses are illuminated with many lights and lamps. tamil nadu india festival, tamilnadu festival tours, festivals in tamil nadu, festivals in tamilnadu, tamil nadu festival tour On important days between these days, beautiful processions of many deities are taken out.

Jallikatu Bull Fight
Jallikatu Bull Festival is celebrated in Tiruchirapalli on the 4th day of Pongal. People tie bundles of money on horns of violent bulls and they try to snatch it from there.

Music & Dance Festival, Chennai
Among the many cultural festivals that are held in Chennai, Music and Dance festival is the most famous and attracts the most number of performers as well as audiences.

Vinayaka Chathurthi
Vinayaka Chathurthi is a festival that is celebrated in many parts of the country. However the rituals and method of celebrations are totally different in all parts. The festival dedicated to Lord Ganapathi is celebrated in the month of September – October.

Navarathiri
The festival of Nine nights is an important part of people of Tamil Nadu as well. During these nine days Goddess Durga, Goddess Lakshmi, and Goddess Saraswathi are worshipped for health, wealth and knowledge.

Deepavali
The Festival of Deepavali symbolises the triumph of good over evil. During the festival people light up their houses with lamps and lights.

Saraswathi Pooja
The festival is celebrated in the honour of Saraswathi - the Goddess of arts and letters. Educational institutions and academies of art naturally take a lively interest in these celebrations. The goddess is invoked in every home and hearth during the celebrations.

Chitri Rai Festival
The festival is held in the famous Madurai Temples and lasts for 10 days during the Tamil month of chithirai Major attractions is the procession of lord kallazhagar otherwise known as lord Vishnu from Azhagarkoil to give away his sister goddess Meenakshi, in Marriage to Lord Sundareswarar.

Mahamagam Festival
A holy festival that will bring you to Kumbakonam once in 12 years - the temple city that gets its name from "Kumbha" - the divine pot. Legend has it that Brahma, the Creator, held a pot containing nectar and the seed of creation. Shiva. in the form of a hunter shot an arrow at the pot - spilling the nectar into the famous Mahamagam tank at the Adi Kumbeswarar Temple.

Festivals have great value in Chidambaram. The Natyanjali festival dedicated to the Cosmic Dancer (Lord Shiva) is celebrated every year during February-March. Lord Nataraja, according to Hindu mythology is the cosmic dancer. He is also called "the Lord of Dances".

Natyanjali festival opens on the auspicious occasion of the Maha Shivaratri day and of course in the right kind of venue - the 'Prakara' of the Chidambaram temple. The magnificent temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, built a thousand years ago, provides a beautiful backdrop for the event. The setting is truly divine-Chidambaram's gold-roofed temple, with pillars depicting Lord Nataraja in 108 poses from Bharatanatyam - Tamil Nadu's classical dance.

An Oppurtunity For All :

This is an opportunity for all dancers, from all over India, to perform and to pay their tribute to Lord Nataraja. Natyanjali festival is jointly organised by The Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, The Ministry Of Tourism, Government of India and The Natyanjali Trust, Chidambaram. The festival lasts for 5 days.

This dance festival at Chidambaram brings together all the prominent dancers of India with an enchantment and elation, which shone in their eyes and evocative Abhinaya as they offered their dance to the great divinity, Lord Nataraja. To many of them it is like a dream come true, to be able to perform in the vicinity of the sanctum sanctorum of Lord Nataraja himself, whose 'Padams' and 'Varnams' they often dance upon creating an imaginary figure of the Lord.

The Natyanjali Dance Festival is designed to promote a universal message of "Unity in Diversity" conveyed in the universal language of music and dance. Its purpose also is to both educate and entertain the audience.

How to get there ?

Air - The nearest airport is at Trichy, at a distance of 160-km.

Rail - The railway station is a 20-minute walk southeast of the Nataraja Temple. Express and passenger trains leave for Chennai four times daily, Kumbakonam, Thanjavur twice daily, Tiruchirappalli and Madurai.

Road - Chidambaram is well connected by road with Chennai, Pondicherry, Madurai, Thanjavur, etc.

Pongal Festival
Pongal Festival - Tamil NaduA majority of the population of India depends on agriculture. As a result, most of the festivals are also related to the agricultural activities of the people. These festivals are celebrated with different names and rituals in almost all the states of India. Pongal is an important festival of Tamil Nadu, which is celebrated to mark the withdrawal of the Southeast monsoons as well as the reaping of the harvest. It falls in the month Thai and is strictly a rural festival.

The Legend Behind The Celebrations :

There are few interesting legends behind the Pongal celebrations. The most popular among them related to the celebrations of the first day of the Pongal festival goes like this - Lord Krishna lifted the Govardhan Mountain on his little finger to shelter his people and save them from being washed away by the rains and floods.

According to another the third day of Pongal is celebrated because Lord Shiva once asked Nandi, his bull, to go to earth and deliver his message to the people - to have an oil bath every day and food once a month. But Nandi got it all mixed up when he delivered the message, and told the people that Shiva asked them to have an oil bath once a month and eat every day. Shiva was displeased, and told Nandi that since the people would now need to grow more grain, Nandi would have to remain on earth and help them plough the fields.

Mattu Pongal is also called "Kanu Pongal", and women pray for the welfare of their brothers. This is similar to the festivals of Raksha Bandhan and Bhai Dooj celebrated in some states of North India.

About The Festival :

The festival is celebrated for four days and the celebrations on the first day of the Tamil month Thai and continues for the three days. The month of Thai is supposed to be very auspicious for every kind of activity. The Sun is worshipped for his rays are responsible for the life on earth.

It is the biggest harvest festival, spread over four days. 'Bhogi' is celebrated on January 13, 'Pongal' on January 14, 'Mattu Pongal' on January 15, and 'Thiruvalluvar Day' on January 16. Thiruvalluvar has done a great contribution to Tamil literature with 'Thirukkural'. There are 1,330 verses in this work and they talk about all aspects of life.

In fact, the name of the festival is derived from Pongal, a rice pudding made from freshly harvested rice, milk and jaggery. The first day, "Bhogi Pongal", is a day for the family. "Surya Pongal", the second day, is dedicated to the worship of Surya, the Sun God. The third day of Pongal, "Mattu Pongal", is for the worship of the cattle.

Cattle are bathed, their horns polished and painted in bright colours, and garlands of flowers placed around their necks. Pongal is associated with cleaning and burning of rubbish, symbolizing the destruction of evil.

All the four days of Pongal have there own individual significance. On the first day, delicious preparations are made and homes are washed and decorated. Doorways are painted with vermilion and sandalwood paste with colourful garlands of leaves and flowers decorating the outside of almost every home. On this day 'Bhogi' or the Rain God is worshipped.

Rituals Followed :
Pongal Festival - Tamil Nadu
A typical traditional Pongal celebration has a number of rituals attached to it. The place where the Pongal Puja is to be conducted is cleaned and smeared with dung, a day prior to the festival. People generally choose an open courtyard for this purpose.

'Kolams' (Rangoli) generally drawn with rice flour are special to the occasion. The idea behind using rice flour is that the insects would feed on it and bless the household. At the centre of it a lump of cow dung holds a five-petal pumpkin flower, which is regarded as a symbol of fertility and an offering of love to the presiding deity. In a similar way the houses are also cleaned, painted and decorated. Kolams (Rangoli) are made in the front yards of the houses and new clothes for the whole family are bought to mark the festivities. Even the cattle are gaily caparisoned with beads, bells and flowers-their horns painted and capped with gleaming metals.

The Tempting Recipes :

Sweet rice, known as "Pongal", is cooked in a new earthenware pot at the same place where puja is to be performed. Fresh turmeric and ginger are tied around this pot. Then a delicious concoction of rice, Moong Dal, jaggery and milk are boiled in the pot on an open fire. This Pongal, according to ritual, is allowed to boil and spill out of the pot. Pongal, once ready, is offered to God first, on a new banana leaf along with other traditional delicacies like Vadas, Payasam, etc. Besides this, sugarcane, grain, sweet potatoes, etc are also offered to the Sun God.

Tea & Tourism Festival, Ooty
Tea & Tourism Festival - Tamil NaduAkin to the nectar of the Gods is the Camellia Sinensia, which is a bush that gives fragrant amber ambrosia-a refresher and stimulizer. In other words, TEA.

Commercial plantations came into existence in the Nilgiris around 1853, though tea plants were thriving in Tamil Nadu earlier to this. South Indian Tea has gained recognition far and wide. India is the fifth largest tea-producing belt in the world after China. In 1991, south India exported 50 million kg. to over 30 countries.

The Celebration Of Tea :

The major tea growing areas in the South are the Nilgiris and the Anamalais High Ranges, Peermedu-Vandiperiyar belt and Wynad in Kerala and a few in Karnataka.

The Annual Tea and Tourism Festival is celebrated in the Nilgiris in the months of January/February jointly by the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu and Ministry of Tourism, Government of India. The festival is held for 3 days and varieties of tea are put on display. Visitors can also taste and select from the wide varieties of tea available.

Cultural programs, visits to Tea Estates and factories, fun and frolic etc., mark the celebrations. Come to the Nilgiris, during this festival, when tea lovers from all over the world converge. An occasion not to be missed!

How to get there ?

Air - The nearest airport is at Coimbatore (100-km).

Rail - Udhagamandalam on the narrow gauge railway is connected to Mettupalayam, which is directly connected to Coimbatore and Chennai on the broad gauge.

Road - There are regular bus services connecting Udhagamandalam to Coimbatore, Trichy, Bangalore, Madurai, Kanyakumari, Mysore, Calicut, Tirupati etc.

More great attractions can be found in the Explore Wildlife in India page.

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