Garuda Sevai from the Agraharams of Kallidaikurichi - Be On The Road | Live your Travel Dream!

Friday, May 05, 2023

Garuda Sevai from the Agraharams of Kallidaikurichi

Garuda Sevai at Kallidaikurichi, Tamil Nadu

Rustic holidays are a great way to experience our country’s rich and diverse culture. Here is one such example from the agraharams of Kallidaikurichi, a village in India’s deep south. In this village’s Adi Varaha Lakshmi Pati Perumal temple, you can get to see Garuda Sevai, an important ceremony during Brahmotsavam and during other auspicious days of the year.

In this ritual, the utsavamurti (processional idol) of Sri Maha Vishnu is taken around the temple street atop Garuda – the vahana of Vishnu. This Garuda Sevai ceremony is usually held during the night and it lasts for a couple of hours. The blend of Vishnu and Garuda manifests itself as the form and head of the Vedas.

Lord Vishnu gets ready to visit the streets of Kallidaikurichi

As a thumb rule, certain families (whose family has followed the temple for generations) have the first right to offer Garuda Sevai on certain days of the year, especially Saturdays on months that are considered auspicious for Lord Vishnu. But, these days, anyone can pay the fee and get a Garuda Sevai procession arranged on certain pre specified days of the year.

In my family, we also have Garuda Sevai at a similar rural Perumal temple on the 5th Saturday of the Poratasi Tamil month of the year. During this day, our whole family congregates at this family and offers respect to the god. Religious fanfare, new clothes, delicious food and a jolly atmosphere makes up these Garuda Sevai nights.

Lord Maha Vishnu visits the streets of Kallidaikurichi village for Garudai Sevai celebrations

On the night of Garuda Sevai, all front yards of the houses in the agraharam are washed and decorated with beautiful kolams in anticipation of the lord. Devotees assemble in front of the temple in the evening to see the lord come out of the temple on top of his Garuda vahanam. After mangalarti, the garuda chariot is then taken on a clockwise pradakshinam of the temple through the different agraharam streets of Kallidaikurichi. In front of each house, people wait in eager anticipation with pooja items (betel leaf, betel nut, fruits, flowers and coconuts). The procession stops in front of each house so that each household can offer their respects and prayers to Lord Maha Vishnu and collect the prasadam. This procession goes on for close to two hours before returning to the temple with full honours.

Garudai Sevai celebrations at Lakshmi Pati temple, Kallidaikurichi

These Garuda sevai nights also mean there is delicious prasadam to eat and it is also an opportunity to get dressed in your favourite traditional attire. It is these simple ceremonies that make rural vacations so special. If you ever happen to visit India’s deep south, don’t miss the opportunity check out Kallidaikurichi – the village of the Saaral season.

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