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Sunday, May 13, 2018

Thirumayilai Sri Madhava Perumal thiruther 2018 - the Manouvre

தேர் என்றால் பிரம்மாண்டம் -  தேர் திருவிழா நடக்க ஊர் மக்கள் ஒன்று கூட வேண்டும்*

The above is the grand Thiruther at Thiruvallikkeni  - could recall that the Thiruther of yore was even bigger ~ in 1980s for a couple of years, there was no Thiruther purappadu as it was under repair – when made again, in tune with times, it got reduced a bit – also now it has steel wheels; the earlier one had wooden wheel… it now runs on concrete cement road. Thiruther, the chariot, is easily the most grandeur and most attended by bakthas too. Ratha [the chariot] has existed in puranic days, historic days and more.  We have heard of Kings of recent past having had platoons of horse and horse-driven chariots.  Today had the fortune of worshipping Sri Mylai Madhava Perumal on Thiruther. 

On screen too, we have seen many – one got enamoured by the scene of Arjuna wading through the forces in Mahabaratha  - those chariots were quite attractive.  Ratha is not only fleet-footed mode during war, it symbolizes energy and zeal to move forward.  It was on the chariot steered by Lord Krishna, Geethopadesam occurred to Arjuna, the mighty warrior.  The rath itself according to legend was given by Agni.  The battle formation was unconceivably bigger ~ by some accounts an Akshauhini is described as a formation consisting of 21870 chariots, 21870 elephants, 65160 cavalry and more than a lakh of infantry.

Odisha’s king Narshimhadeva, the first of Eastern Ganga dynasty, decided to make a huge temple complex consisting of four temples dedicated to the Sun god in 1255 AD. The site chosen by the architects was in the north-eastern corner of Puri, one of the four sacred dhams – Konarak,  Bhubaneswar.  The Konark temple is designed in the form of the chariot of the Sun god. It has 24 wheels and seven horses.  

Standing closer and seeing the ‘juggernaut’ rolling is an awesome experience – people pull and sometimes push from behind too .. .. the steering and stopping the big ther requires great skills.  Since the bigger Thiruthers do not have steering wheel and brake – the control is by means of a wooden wedge commonly known as ‘muttu kattai’.  As the ther rolls, this is placed from outside and from inside too. The wheel running over on it, would slowly veer from its direction and eventually a turn is complete.

wooden wedges

this muttukattai is different - it acts like a lever

The maneuvering with the aid of wedges is risky too – there are experts who put this wedge from inner side.  At some point of time the person’s head would be completely under the Rath – they a rope at a distance and roll it on their hands, as they bend, if ever they are to lose control or slip, technically they shall get dragged by the rope and should remain notches away from the moving wheel – if you could imagine this and observe it, it would be greatly frightening – yet the ease is to be seen to be belived.  The last set of photos are from Mylai Madhavar thiruther today – rest are of Thiruvallikkeni

Adiyen Srinivasa dhasan
13th May 2018.

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