One of the highlights among Chennai’s various celebrations of a traditional nature is the Phalguni Festival of Sri Kapali Temple held during March-April. The ten day festival begins with Kodiyetram and concludes with Thiru kalyanam.
We witnessed Arubathmoovar, which takes place on the eighth day and soaked in the festival though in a different way. Not venturing to be part of the scene where thousands/lakhs of people vie with each other to get the best view /glimpse of the 63 saints being taken in a procession, we settled for a ride by an auto rick through the various streets and by lanes of Mylapore surrounding the temple .What an experience it was, never to forget all the rest of my life I thought. There was deafening music, songs on Lord SIVA being played and clusters of people all the way, collecting ‘plates’ of biryani, glasses of butter milk, juice and what not and trying to balance themselves holding the stuff in both their hands. Some were grabbing three and four plates, surely with an intention of taking home for the family and some were eating the biryani on the spot and throwing the ‘plates’ on the way side before heading home. Even as I thought the menu comprised all the above I found another group of people in front of a small eatery and when I craned my neck to see what was holding their attention, I noticed a man making ‘kal dosa’ and serving it straight from the pan!
It took us more than two hours to reach our home, hardly three kilometres away, literally ‘wading’ through all kinds of traffic comprising pedestrians, four wheelers, two wheelers, cycles, fish carts and ofcourse auto ricks. Hats off to our auto driver for his dexterity and patience.
n.meera raghavendra rao