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Karthika Deepam: Beautiful Kolam And The Legacy Of More The 200 Years Old Artistry of Tamil Nadu

Karthika Deepam: A Festival of Lights and Tradition in Tamil Nadu.

Chennai, 26 November(City Times): Karthika Deepam Kolam Tamil Nadu: As the Karthika Deepam festival approaches, Tamil Nadu buzzes with anticipation. The festival, observed on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Karttikai, signifies the triumph of light over darkness. Starting on Diwali, it extends for a month, culminating on November 26 this year.

Kartika Deepam, a radiant festival cherished by Hindu Tamils, illuminates the night sky in Tamil Nadu, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka, and Sri Lanka. This age-old celebration, steeped in history and myth, revolves around the full moon day of the Kartika month, usually in November or December of the Gregorian calendar.

Karthika Deepam History Unveiled

The roots of Kartika Deepam delve deep into antiquity, with references found in the Akanaṉūṟu, a collection of poems from the Sangam period (200 BCE to 300 CE). Avvaiyar, a distinguished poet of that era, immortalized the festival in her verses. Known as Kārtikai tīpam in ancient times, it continues to be one of the oldest and most revered celebrations among the Tamil people.

Karthika Deepam and The Story of the Six Stars

Hindu mythology weaves a captivating tale around Kartika Deepam, linking it to the creation of Kartikeya (Murugan) by the deity Shiva. According to legend, six faces emerged from Shiva’s third eye, each nurtured by Kartika nymphs. These nymphs, resembling the six stars of the Kartika constellation, were later granted immortality by Shiva. Worshiping these stars during Kartika Deepam is considered equal to revering Murugan himself, symbolized by the lighting of rows of oil lamps.

Karthika Deepam and Mud Lamp Making in Salem

In Salem, the tradition of crafting mud lamps thrives, with over 1,000 families involved across districts like Namakkal, Dharmapuri, and Krishnagiri. Salem alone boasts nearly 400 families engaged in this age-old practice, creating intricately designed lamps in locations such as Nachipalayam, Melchithoor, and Koneripatty.

P. Akalya, a fourth-generation mud lamp maker, expresses hope for a bustling business this year. Abundant wet clay, a gift from recent rains and sourced from the river Cauvery, enhances the quality of their creations. While challenges persist, including the preference for shop purchases, the festive spirit fuels optimism.

Villupuram Women Groups: Crafting Diyas for Karthika Deepam

In Villupuram district, six women’s groups in Thennamadevi Village Panchayat are at the heart of the festival preparations. Trained in the pottery industry under a special project, these women employ a meticulous nine-step process to craft special lamps for Karthika Deepam. From clay extraction to intricate designs, their work symbolizes devotion and craftsmanship.

Weather Impact on Karthika Deepam Artisan Livelihoods: A Plea for Support

However, erratic weather conditions have posed challenges for artisans across Tamil Nadu, impacting the production of earthen lamps. Artisans in Dharmapuri, highlighting the need for support, appeal for a designated warehouse to store their products and a work area to protect their clay from rain. The appeal underscores the importance of safeguarding the livelihoods of these skilled craftsmen.

RL Handicraft’s Vilakkukadai

In Porur, Chennai, RL Handicraft’s Vilakkukadai stands as a testament to artistic finesse. Founded by Rajalakshmi Sivasankaran, the store hosts an exquisite collection of over 600 lamp designs sourced from across the country. As an ode to the Karthika Deepam festival, the store is currently hosting an exhibition of lamps until November 27, 2023.

Karthika Deepam Kolam Tamil Nadu: Artistry on Doorsteps

Beyond lamps, another traditional art form graces Tamil Nadu’s doorsteps during festivals – Kolam. These intricate and symmetrical patterns drawn with rice flour symbolize prosperity and welcome auspiciousness. Kolam artists showcase their skills, turning doorsteps into vibrant canvases during the festival season.

Karthika Deepam Jyotirlinga Revelation

In another Shaiva legend, Shiva manifested as an infinite flame before Vishnu and Brahma, challenging them to find his head and feet. Vishnu, in the form of a boar, and Brahma, on his swan, embarked on a quest. While Vishnu admitted his failure, Brahma resorted to deception, claiming a tāḻampū flower had witnessed Shiva’s head. Unveiling the falsehood, Shiva condemned Brahma and established the significance of Kartika Deepam, marking his appearance as the jyotirlinga.

Karthika Deepam Auspicious Illumination

Central to Kartika Deepam celebrations is the lighting of Agal vilakkus, clay oil lamps. Adherents believe this practice wards off evil, inviting prosperity and joy. The festival transcends the realms of spirituality to foster the bond between brothers and sisters in South India, akin to Raksha Bandhan. Sisters pray for their brothers’ prosperity, marking the occasion with the glow of lamps.

Karthika Deepam Telugu Traditions

In Telugu households, the entire month of Kartika is deemed auspicious. Starting from Deepavali until month-end, oil lamps are kindled daily, upholding tradition and symbolizing the triumph of light over darkness.

Karthika Deepam Rituals and Fasting

On Kartikai Pournami, oil lamps with 365 wicks are lit in Shiva temples. Some households observe fasting until sunset throughout the month, adding a touch of devotion to the festivity.

Regional Splendor: Thiruvannamalai’s Maha Deepam

Thiruvannamalai paints a breathtaking picture during Kartika Deepam with the lighting of the Thiruvannamali Maha Deepam. A colossal earthen lamp atop the holy mountain represents the entire mountain as a Shiva Linga. Devotees believe that Shiva’s form, Ardhanarishvara, blesses them during this divine spectacle. The light emitted from the mountain is visible up to a radius of 35 KM, attracting hundreds of thousands of devotees for the sacred circumambulation.

Karthika Deepam Sri Lanka Grandeur

Sri Lanka, mirroring Tiruvannamalai’s fervor, celebrates Kartika in Koneshwaram, Trincomalee. The festival spans three days, with the climax being Thiru Kartika, when a magnificent fire lamp, Mahadeepam, lights up the hill, symbolizing the divine presence of Shiva. Devotees converge to offer prayers and witness this awe-inspiring spectacle.

A Tapestry of Light and Faith

Kartika Deepam, woven with ancient tales and contemporary celebrations, creates a vibrant tapestry of light, faith, and tradition. From the sacred streets of Thiruvannamalai to the serene hills of Sri Lanka, the festival beckons devotees to partake in its radiant splendour.

Importance of God Kartikeya – The Six-Faced God, Jyotirlingas – Sacred Temples of Lord Shiva and Tamil Nadu Tourism – Kartigai Deepam is easily visible in tradition of Tamil Nadu. Embrace the luminosity, delve into the myths, and kindle the spirit of Kartika Deepam – where light becomes a beacon of divinity and tradition.

Karthika Deepam: Lets Know More

  1. Traditional Indian Lamp Designs
  2. Tamil Nadu Tourism – Karthigai Deepam
  3. Kolam Artistry

Karthika Deepam A Tapestry of Tradition

As Tamil Nadu prepares for Karthika Deepam, the confluence of mud lamp craftsmanship, Kolam artistry, and the cultural celebrations paints a vivid tapestry. From the heritage-rich streets of Salem to the artistic doorsteps adorned with Kolam, the essence of tradition shines bright.

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