The Sri Mutharamman Temple (KulasaiMutharammam Temple) is located in Kulasekharapatnam near Thiruchendur in the Thoothukudi district, Tamil Nadu. It is an300 years old. Navarathiri festival is the grandest festival in this temple. More than 20 lakhs devotees celebrate together here.
As per the tradition of this temple, devotees from various villages will transform themselves as Goddess Kali, Kings, Monkeys, or any Gods or Goddesses according to their choice and will visit all villages to collect offerings for Goddess Mutharamman. During Dasara, these devotees need to dress like the god/goddess every day and have to abstain from impure thoughts and bad habits. They need to commit to being pure in body, mind and soul.
Kulasekharapatnam is a tiny coastal town with extremely high humidity and temperature. In this climate, it is not an easy commitment to be dressed as a god in heavy costume and with bold makeup. If this was not hard enough, they fast for 41 days and carry a pot of fire in their bare hands, wear multiple weighty false arms and a pair of metal glasses with a tiny hole limiting their vision to almost zero and are surrounded by people playing drums and loud music.
During the last day of the festival, the celebrations peak. The avatars visit the temple and on the last leg of their journey through the temple corridor, they perform a ritualistic dance in devotion to the God. To depict the anger with which Goddess Lalithambigai destroyed Magisasuran, they enter a trance like state characterized by deafening music and violent dancing.
After they have offered their prayers, they then finally go the beach behind the temple and worship the fire that they have carried in their hands. A cleansing dip follows where they take a bath and immerse all the godly belongings which made them look like God. Local kids then have fun collecting these godly avatars to play with them or keep them as a memory.
Millions of visitors come to attend this event. Sometimes an entire village arrives by buses or in trucks. They pitch their tents in open grounds for three days making it look like a mini picnic complete with cooking facilities.
Local residents are also very helpful towards these visitors. They allow them to take shelter in their homes. Some families even offer free water and food to these visitors.
The final day looks like a colourful carnival where thousands of teams line up in a narrow lane marching towards the temple for hour’soften-stretching day into night. It is lifetime experience to witness the event and feel their faith & dedication.
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