Chennai

'Aadi Perukku' is about new beginnings for all

HISTORY BECKONS: A view of the Veeranarayana Perumal Temple at Kattumannarkovil in Cuddalore district. Photo: T. Singaravelou  

Water brings fresh hope to farmers, happiness to families, and joy to newly-weds. Aadi Perukku is a celebration of all that.

This year, Aadi Padhinettu, the 18th day of the Tamil month of Aadi, is tomorrow. It holds promise of good times ahead when the harshness of the sun is reduced and the winds are favourable.

Aadi pattam thedi Vidhai is an oft-repeated adage and many farmers still swear by it. A paddy farmer from Ariyanoor near Madhurantakam R. Jayachandran says Aadi 18 is when the samba season begins. “Some start their nurseries on that day and a few others would directly sow paddy,” he says.

Water in the river is about culture too. Residents living along rivers watch the gushing waters, eat kootaanchoru (mixed rice), and enjoy the day, so much so that districts along the Cauvery declare local holiday on that day. “Traditionally, the Cauvery perukku that has found mention in the Silapathikaram too, is a time when newly weds bathe in the waters, change their thali ( mangalsutra) threads and leave the old threads in the water,” says writer Ravikumar.

Mythologically, it is believed that the Cauvery rushes to meet her daughter Sri Mahalakshmi, who rises from the ocean.

Ponniyin Selvan

Kalki R. Krishnamurthy’s historical novel, Ponniyin Selvan, opens with the hero Vandhiyathevan riding along and admiring the huge Veera Narayana Eri (now known as Veeranam lake) that was created by Rajadithya Chola and named after his father Paranthaka –I.

The opening scenes describe how people in the area celebrate the festival watching the swirling waters of the Cauvery empty into the vast lake through the Vadavaaru. “The story starts at Veeranam, which the northern frontier of the Chola kingdom. Kalki wanted to bring to light the greatness of Rajaraja Chola…and to take history to the common man in an acceptable form. Even today, his book is a best seller,” says Pavithra Srinivasan, who has translated Ponniyin Selvan into English.

After the lake, the hero in the novel travels along with the Vaishnavite Alwarkadiyan to the Veera Narayana Perumal temple or Kattumannarkoil near Chidambaram, which is the birthplace of Nathamunigal, the Srivaishnava saint who re-introduced Naalayira Divya Prabandham to the world.

Swethakumar, managing director, Lakshmivilas Heritage Hotel, who is a fan of Kalki, says that all the places, including Kadambur and Pazhayarai, mentioned in Kalki’s work exist. “We began the tour as our property is very close to the Veeranam lake. Many devotees, who come to the Veera Narayana Perumal temple actually take a Ponniyin Selvan tour. You can finish these six or seven spots in a day,” he explained.


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Printable version | Oct 7, 2021 10:10:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/chennai/Aadi-Perukku-is-about-new-beginnings-for-all/article14545766.ece

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