Wooden car is an integral part of any Temple. Car festival is a community festival with people from all walks of life participating and pulling the car. The State government has allotted Rs. 50 lakhs for construction of a new wooden car for the Big Temple at Thanjavur. Construction work of the new car has begun in Thanjavur.
The work is going on at Konganeswarar temple on West Main street. Woods have arrived from Veppanthattai in Perambalur district. A team led by Sthapathi Varadarajan from Arumbavur in Perambalur district is involved in carving woods for the car.
A trial run is expected in Tamil Month of Panguni that is in March, April and car festival will be held in Chithirai brahmotsavam i.e., during April-May. Totally 1,175 cubic ft. of wood will be used for construction of the car, Varadarajan said. One point five tonnes of iron articles will be used. Bharat Heavy Electricals Ltd., (BHEL) will produce the four iron wheels. The car will be 16.75 ft high and will weigh 52 tonnes.
Nearly 400 sculptures will be there in the car. “They are carved as per agama sastra” said the Sthapathi.
There are documents which show that car festival was held in the temple in olden days. There are car stands in the four raja veedhis indicating the presence of cars. It is said that there were five cars in Thanjavur and car festival was held till ninteenth century. A total of 27,394 persons were used for pulling the car.
The Big Temple, built by King Raja Raja Cholan is an all stone temple that has been declared as world heritage monument by UNESCO.
The vimana on the sanctum sanctorum of the temple is 212 ft high and an eighty tonnes cupbolic doom is on top the vimana.