Faith

Century-old portrait

The 100-year-old Ramar Pattabhishekam portrait in Tanjore Art style, the focus of attraction at the Manathattai Sri Rama Navami utsavam in Karur district. The festival has been an annual feature for the 100th unbroken year since 1912.   | Photo Credit: HANDOUT_E_MAIL

Bhakti is expressed in various ways one of which is conducting weddings of celestials, Radha Kalyanam and Sita Kalyanam being the most popular. The latter, especially, is an integral part of Sri Rama Navami celebrations.

There are groups and families that have been conducting these weddings for several years. One such effort is the celebration at Nanjai Pugalur Agraharam on the banks of the Cauvery in Karur district. The late P.K. Narayanaswamy Iyer, an influential landlord in the region, organised Sita kalyanam to unite the people of the region. The effort was a success as devotees of all hues came together and with their cooperation Narayanaswamy Iyer was able to organise the festival every year for more than half a century after which the mantle passed on to his adopted son and advocate P.N. Radhakrishnan, who has continued the tradition.

The highlight of the Sri Rama Navami and Sri Sita Kalaynam celebrations at Nanjai Pugalur is the beautiful and ornately painted (Raja Ravi Varma style) portrait of Sri Ramar Pattabishekam. The 100-year portrait takes centre stage during the main function.

This year Sri Rama Navami was celebrated for three days with all the rituals connected - chanting of Sri Rama Sahasranamam, bhajans and Ashtapati, Sri Rama jananam, and dolotsavam on the first two days, Unchavriti and Sita Kalyanam on the final day, the curtain coming down with Anjaneya utsavam.

For several years now Salem Sri Krishna alias Subrahmanya Bhagavathar has been undertaking the task of organising bhagavathars and conducting the rituals associated with the divine celebrations.

The locals offer flowers and garlands to the deity and sweets during the annadhanam at Sita Kalyanam. It is their way of thanking the deity who, according to them fulfils all their wishes.

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Printable version | May 9, 2021 5:52:35 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/features/friday-review/religion/centuryold-portrait/article1993608.ece

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