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 Panguni Uttiram

Click here to Offer Panguni Uttiram Pooja

The Hindu festival going by the name Panguni Uttiram falls on the full moon day in the month of 'Phalguna' called Panguni in Tamil (March-April). The moon is then in the asterism 'Uttira' (Beta Leonis). Hence the day is considered to be specially favourable for the worship of Siva.

The festival is also known as Kalyana Vrata since goddess Meenakshi is said to have wedded god Sundaresa at Madurai on this day. It is the belief of the Hindus that the people who observe this Vrata whole-heartedly and sincerely, are blessed with all the boons.

The goddess Meenakshi had her origin in a sacrificial fire in the city of Madurai on a day in the Tamil month of Adi (July-August), when the asterism Pooram (Delra Leonis) had sway; and ruled over that kingdom. She then commenced a world-round expedition starling from the east. While completing the same in the north-east, Siva blessed her and promised that he would come to her capital city and marry her. She thereupon returned to Madurai and was anxiously looking forward to the day when Siva would come and marry her.

Siva kept his promise by appearing in her palace on the Adi Puram day which was also a Monday, and married her in the name of Sundaresa. From that time onward this festival has come to be observed every year by the people of southern India, not only in the city of Madurai, but also in almost all the important religious centres in the country. The Panguni Uttiram day is supposed to be the turning point of` the season from winter to summer. There is also a story current to impress upon the people the importance of this Vrata and it is as follows:

In the Krita or the golden age there lived a pious and highly virtuous king named Raghu, who ruled his country wisely and well. There was neither famine nor sickness during his reign; nor were there any premature or untimely deaths among his subjects. In ruling over his kingdom, the dictates of Manava Dharma Sastra (Manu Smritis) were closely followed by the king. Though his subjects were contented and happy for a long time, yet there arose a circumstance which upset the equilibrium and made the people feel ill at ease. A rakshasi (female demon) called Dundha visited their houses, troubled their children and was generally harassing them in diverse ways. Unable to prevent her, they at last came to Raghu for help.

The king thereupon sought the advice of the sage Narada, who directed him to observe this Vrata along with his subjects. By doing this, not only was the rakshasi Dundha overpowered, there was also increased wealth and prosperity all over his kingdom. The temples in which this festival is specially observed are those in Madurai and Tiruvarur in the Tanjore District as well as those at Conjeevaram, Vedaranyam, Tinnevelly, and Perur in the district of Coimbatore. There is also a myth related to the importance of the observance of this festival at Conjeevaram and it is as follows :

On one occasion Parvati, Siva's consort, caused Siva's eyes to be closed by her prowess, and the whole universe was shrouded in darkness as a consequence. Parvati was then deprived of her privileges and Position as the consort of Siva. In order to regain her lost prestige, Parvati is said to have performed a penance at Conjeevaram on this day sitting under a mango tree, invoking the blessings of Siva who appeared to her and restored her original position to her. There is also another festival observed by the Hindus as this festive day and it is called the Kama Dahanam day. The Indian Cupid, Manmatha is said to have been burnt to ashes by the wrath of Siva on a particular occasion and the myth is as follows:

Once his consort Parvati went to her father's house to attend a sacrifice. Lord Siva was doing penance at that time. The devas or the celestrial beings, with a view to put an end to the troubles caused by a demon called Tarakasura, desired Manmatha to disturb Sivas penance so that representations may be made to him about the troubles caused by Tarakasura. Prompted by the devas, Manmatha aimed at Siva his arrows, tipped with the petals of his favourite flowers, said to be five in number, with a view to, arousing the sleeping passion of Siva.

Provoked to intense anger by the action of Manmatha, Siva opened his third or fiery eye and reduced him to ashes. On account of this incident Manmatha has won the immortal name of Ananga, that is, 'one without a body. Rati, Manmatha's wife (Indian Venus or the goddess of love), aggrieved at losing her lord Manmatha, approached Vishnu and solicited his help. He advised her to go to Sundara Tirtam - a large tank in front of, Siva temple at Kamarasavalli in the forests of Dandaka, between the river Krishna and the island of Rameswaram, and perform a sacrifice there to propitiate Lord Siva. Rati Devi did as advised and underwent severe penance for about forty days. Siva, pleased with her austerities, restored to her, her husband, but made him invisible to all save Rati. He is also said to have ordained that the observance of the Kama dahanam festival in honour of Ananga, should win conjugal felicity for the observer.

Formerly the festival was observed by all classes of people including kings. In course of time, however, it came to be observed only by the Hindus of lower caste. A bronze representation of Rati appealing to Siva exists in the temple of Kamarasavalli in the district of Trichinopoly. The whole scene of the incident is well depicted in the portico near the tank in the Ekambareswara temple at Conjeevaram. On the east wall of the second prakara in the Adipurisvara temple at Tiruvorriyur near Madras, there is a record of the 9th year of the reign of king Rajakesarivarman alias Tribhuvanachakravartin Rajadhirajadeva II (1172-86), mentioning his presence on the occasion of Panguni Uttiram festival in this temple.

Click here to Offer Panguni Uttiram Pooja

 Other Hindu Festivals
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Durga Pooja Ganesh Chathurthi Holi Karthigai Deepam
Krishna Jayanthi Maha Shivarathri Makar Sankranti Maasi Magam
Naga Panchami Navarathri Onam Panguni Uttiram
Pongal Rakshabandhan Ramanavami Sri Skanda Sashti Pooja
Sri Rudram Thaipusam Vaikunda Ekadasi Vaikasi Visakam
Varalakshmi Vratham Vasant Panchami Vijayadashmi Navarathri
Rishi Panchami      

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