by a Thinker, Sailor, Blogger, Irreverent Guy from Madras

Celebrating Tamil Festival of Lights - Karthigai Deepam 2012

Today is the ‘Festival of Lights’ celebrated by the Tamil (and some Malayali) people as Karthigai Deepam.  Actually the Thirvannamalai Deepam was yesterday - Tuesday and the Sarvalaya Deepam is being celebrated today.

The idea behind the Karthigai Deepam is thought provoking.  It seems once the God of Creation - Brahma, and the God of Nurturing - Vishnu, started arguing whom among them is the greater.

Shiva the God of Destruction appeared during the discussion in the form of light (Jyothi or Fire) and challenged the other two to locate either of the ends of his brilliant form. 

Brahma took the form of a swan and started flying up to locate the head, while Vishnu took the form of a boar and plunged down to locate the foot.

Neither were successful and realised that God is in fact infinite - Alpha and Omega, and were wasting time arguing who among the Trinity is greatest.

The Day Shiva took the form of Light, Fire or Jyothi is the celebrated as the Day of Lights by the Tamils as Karthigai Deepam.  We pray to the God in the form of light or oil lamp (diya) in the evening and light lamps all around and in the homes.

The practice is to remember that God is infinite, omnipresent, all-powerful, and letting go of our ego and ignorance leads us to the path of light, right and knowledge.

Here are the snaps from the evening.

The maakolam in front of the flat.


The same maakolam adorned with the lamps.


The staircase lit with diyas as usual.


The serial lights adorning the apartment complex.


Here are the photos from 2009 and 2011.

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