TAMIL NADU

Embodiment of devotion

With faith: Aadi Pooram car festival of Sri Andal Temple at Srivilliputtur in Virudhunagar. — file photo

With faith: Aadi Pooram car festival of Sri Andal Temple at Srivilliputtur in Virudhunagar. — file photo  

Aadi Pooram is indeed Andal's Day. It was on the eighth day of the fourth month in the Tamil calendar, Aadi, that the cherubic infant was found by Vishnu Siddhar (Perialwar), an ardent Vaishnavite, under a ‘Tulsi' (Holy Basil) plant in a ‘nandavanam,' garden of holy plants, on a Tuesday. The childless Vishnu Siddhar named it ‘Kothai' and brought her up in true Vaishnavite tradition. Legend has it that Kothai used to wear the garland made by her father for Lord Vishnu before being taken to the Vadabadrasayanar Temple. Vishnu Siddhar deemed it a sacrilege and prepared another garland for the Lord. But the Lord insisted on accepting the garland worn by Kothai. The child, believed to be an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi, began to be referred to as ‘Soodi Kodutha Sudarkodi.' Kothai transformed into Andal through sheer devotion for the Lord, which transcended geographical limits.

Her devotion for the Lord manifests itself in the hymns of ‘Tiruppavai' and ‘Natchiar Tirumozhi.'

These two works are revered not only as an expression of devotion but also for their rich literary content. Adi Pooram is celebrated every year as a 10-day festival at the Natchiar Temple in Srivilliputtur. The highlight of the festival is the grand car festival that falls on August 12, Thursday. On this day, Goddess Andal and Lord Rangamannar are taken in a decorated car. Devotees follow the car with piety, singing hymns from Naalayira Divyaprabandam.

S. Annamalai



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