THANJAVUR: Come the Tamil month of Aadi, it is time for ‘Ashada Navaratri’ festival at Big temple in Thanjavur. Special pujas are performed to Varahi Amman at the temple. Hundreds of devotees witness the different ‘alankarams’ of Varahi Amman who has the face of a boar with two hands in sitting posture at a small temple located on the southern ‘praharam’ of the temple under a tree.
“We have been celebrating the ‘Ashada Navaratri’ festival for Varahi for the past five years. This year the festival started on July 14 and will go on till July 24. A unique feature of the festival is the different ‘alankarams’ of Varahi. On July 14, the Goddess was decorated with sweets. ‘Manjal (turmeric powder) alankaram’ was done on July 15, ‘Kumkum alankaram’ on July 16, Sandal ‘alankaram’ on July 17, ‘Thenkaipoo (Coconut kernel) alankaram’ on July 18, ‘Mathulai Muthu (Pomegranate grains) alankaram’ on July 19, ‘Navathaniya (nine millets) alankaram’ on July 20, ‘Vennai (butter) alankaram’ on July 21, ‘Kanivagai (fruits) alankaram’ on July 22, ‘Kadambari (vegetables) alankaram’ on July 23. On Tuesday July 24 the Amman will be in ‘Pushpa (flowers) Alankaram’” said Sundaramurthy Kurukal.
Legend says that Varahi is one among the sapthamathas who guard different directions. Varahi means destroyer of evil and the protector of Good. Lalitha Sahasranamam, a collection of 1000 names of the supreme mother hails Varahi as destroyer of demon Visukaran, born from the right hand of demon Bhandasura.
Full moon days are considered auspicious to worship Varahi. Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam has arranged for cultural programmes every day in connection with the festival.