Mystical Margazhi: Unravelling A Tapestry of Tradition
Margazhi: The Divine Month
The crisp nip in the air and the overcast sky are harbingers of the pleasant Margazhi month. As the ninth month in the Tamizh calendar year, Margazhi augurs the cool season in the southern regions of India. This month concludes the apparent southward movement of the sun (Dakshinayana), thereby blessing us with cooler and nicer days, after the unsettling vagaries of tropical weather. The earth is swathed in the gentle glow of the bronzy golden light emanating from the sun; the frangipani flowers and the yellow pumpkin flowers adorning the kolams take on a golden hue too. Such loveliness in the atmosphere sends waves of rapture and bliss through the mind and spirit.
In Margazhi, every household is abuzz with activity, from very early on in the mornings. An early rise, a quick refreshing shower, drawing an elaborate kolam in the entryway, lighting earthen lamps, chanting the sublime Thiruppavai and Thiruvembavai, and a visit to the nearby temple are typical Margazhi rituals for those in the path of Bhakti. It is believed that Margazhi marks the dawn of the celestial beings and hence the most conducive period for us, earthlings to advance in our spiritual odysseys. In the Hindu Dharma, Bhakti is always a celebratory affair with flowers, feasts, music, and festivities along with solemn prayers, rituals, and observances.
Temple Festivities in Margazhi
The most significant Vaishnavite temple in Tamil Nadu, the Srirangam Ranganatha temple celebrates Vaikunta Ekadashi during Margazhi, and the most venerated Shiva temple, Chidambaram Natarajar temple celebrates Aarudra Darshan during this month. Women dressed in beautiful Kanchipuram silks and men in Dhoti Kurtas can be seen flocking to these temples for a darshan of the Lord. A bedecked, bejewelled Ranganatha Deity passes through the Swarga Vasal (Heaven’s gate) with the crowd of devotees following suit, and this is the pinnacle of piety. Similarly in Chidambaram on Thiruvadirai day, the idols of Lord Nataraja and Devi Shivakami are taken out in a glorious procession on a palanquin with crowds thronging behind for a glimpse of the Lord.
A Taste of Heaven in Margazhi
As Prasadam, a gamut of delectable delicacies are offered in homes and temples during Margazhi. Akkaara Adisil – a sweet rice and milk pudding, Selvar Appam (a stout crispy appam), the mouth-watering Venpongal, Satti Aravanai (milk, jaggery, rice payasam) are the offerings on Vaikunda Ekadashi day. Thiruvadirai Kali and Koottu are so delicious that their taste stays in the palate for the whole year. Music and dance halls also become popular destinations during Margazhi with Rasikas making a beeline to see their favourite musicians, dancers, and speakers perform. The canteens in these performance halls become beehives of activity to serve delicious Dosas, crispy Vadas, spongy Uthappams, and every other lip-smacking delicacy available on the recipe register. And Chennai is the hotspot for the Margazhi music festivals.
Adding It All Up
So the month of Margazhi takes us on a roller coaster ride from ascending to the sublime realms of spirituality to enjoying mellifluous music, tapping to dazzling dances, lining up for temple visits, and tickling the taste buds by eating to our hearts’ content. Whatever the activity, the richness and fullness of the experience are intensified if you do it wearing an appropriate, beautiful attire (read as saree). So come and check out the ravishing range of silks, cotton, jute, and Organzas at Rasvriti to add to your collection and soak in the spirit of the magical Margazhi month.