Spectacular Street Parade of a Sparkling Silver Cart

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

You are invited to the festival of this world and your life is blessed” ~ Rabindranath Tagore, (1861-1941), (Indian Poet, Playwright and Essaiyist.Won the Noble Prize for Literature in 1913)

The Silver Vel cart decorated with fresh flower garlands, lines of electrical bulbs in Yellow and traditional cloth hanging paraded through the main streets of Colombo.

The 136th Annual Aadi Vel festival was held in Colombo with colour and glamour. Beautifully decorated Silver cart left the the Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Sea Street left in the morning on July 24th 2010 and reached the Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy in Bambalapitty at night, and stayed there for three nights.

The same cart left the Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty on 27th July 2010 in the morning and reached the Colombo Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Sea Street on July 28th 2010 early morning.

The colourful procession paraded through the main streets in Colombo. Traditional musicians playing the Thavil and Naathaswaram led the procession. The festival wended through many main streets in Colombo after a lapse of 16 years.

The colourful procession started from Pettah and travel through York Street, Echelon Square and Galle Road to Bambalapitty, which has been the route for the annual Vel festival for more the 100 years.

The idols of Lord Murugan and his two wives Goddess Valli Ammai and Goddess Theivayaanai paraded in the cart and blessed the devotees on the way. Special Poojas were offered during their comfortable stay at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty.

The whole temple was decorated beautifully with Yellow colour lights, Banana leaves and fresh flower ganrlands. Devotees thronged the temple in large numbers to welcome and worship the visiting deities and enjoy the traditional musical concerts.

And traditional musicians played throughout the colourful procession filled the streets of Colombo. Many devotees worshipped the visiting deities, fulfilled their vows and made new vows.

A view of Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty

The Chendai is used as an accompaniment for Kathakail,Koodiyaattam and among many forms of dances and rituals in Kerala

Visiting Indian musicians are seen performing

Torch bearer of the festival

Shower time at dawn

Religious texts confirm how diificult it is to be ndowed with the human form

Performance at every junction in the night

A scene at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty at dawn

Chariot parades in the night

Music lovers stop by to enjoy

Decorated Bull in Bambalapitty

Devotees throng to worship and watch the Vel cart

The Bulls have been pulling the Silver cart for 136 years

Deities are being taken on a parade inside the temple

Panchchaararththi is being offered to the deities

The true supreme spirit resides within the body and mind the always

Naagai Kalaichudarmani Sakalakala Thavil Maamurasu Thavil Chakkaravarthy Sikkal P.Srinivasan and group at a stage performance in the night

Many gather to fulfill their vows

Performance continues amidst the hot weather

Beautifully decorated deities are on the move

Carvings on the Chariot

Horns are decorated with wool bands and ribbons

Prayer must be the very core of the life of man

Chendai is used in some parts of Karnatak where it is called Chande

The festival reaches it highest spirit at night

Chendai musicians are on mobile at night

Decorated for the festival

The festival reaches its highest spirit in the night

A section of festive goers

Kerala’s Chenkanoor Sivankutty and group-Panchcha Vaaththiyam-Chendai are being performed at night during the Vel fetival

Lines of electric bulbs are lit to decorate the whole temple

Silver dress for Lord Vinayagar at the main sanctum

Ardent devotees listening to a spiritual speech delivered by Muthamizh Viththagi Vasuki Manokaran at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple

The visiting deities at Aanantha Sayanam (Beautiful Sleep) at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple

Beautiful view of…..from Nattukkottai Nagaraththaar ri Kathirvelaayuthaswmay temple

The Chendai is mainly played as an accompaniment in the Hindu religious art forms of Kerala

Hindu believe divinity moves clockwise

Traditional music Kachcheri is performed by visiting Naagai Kalaichudarmani Sakalakala Thavil Maamurasu Thavil Chakkaravarthy Sikkal P.Srinivasan

Devotees are seen buying trays of offerings

Goddess is dressed in Red for Aadi Sevvaai at Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty

Chendai drummer keeps beating without break

Flag bearers of the festival

Heavy Chariot moves slowly on the streets

Devotees singing Lord Murugan devotional songs

Continuous strikes by an Indian drummer

Chariot moves through a heavy morning traffic in Colombo

Kerosene cart in Bambalapitty

Chendai musician from Kerala blows an iron Trumpet

Karakkam dancers are taking part in the procession

Beautiful wooden horses hang on Chariot

Velupillai Arichchandran is dressed up and pretended to be the Idumban

Many gathered to witness the colourful fetival

Traditional musicians are seen playing devotional songs

Theevatti or torch is usually carried in front of the procession

A cupid on the Chariot

The Chief Priest of Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy temple in Bambalapitty Nagarajah Kurukkal is taking a ride in the chariot

Row of musicians on the road

At the bottom of the Chariot

Decorated bulls pull the Chariot

The deities are seated in the moving Chariot

God is present as the soul in every living hing

Competing with the heavy morning traffic

Sivasri Kamalanatha Kurukkal of Naattukkottai Nagaraththaar Sri Kathirvelaayuthaswamy in Sea Street accompanying the deities

The pinnacle is decorated with flower garland,Silk and Umbrella

The path of faith and devotion brings happiness and protects one from grief

Wooden Dolls fixed to the Chariot

Colourful Chariot takes the lead on Galle Road

Men are seen breaking coconuts to fulfill their vows

After offering to the God

Bajan singers follow the Chariot
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

“J” Awards Nite

By Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapatrhipillai

“In Journalism, there has always been a tension between getting it first and getting it right”~ Ellen Goodman (1941-), (American Journalist and Pulitzer Prize winning syndicated columnist)

Yet another much awaited annual awards ceremony for the journalists in Sri Lanka got under way glamorously last night.

Journalism Awards for Excellence 2009 was held at the Mount Lavinia on July 27th 2010.

Journalism Awards for Excellence 2009 was organised by the editors’ Guild of Sri Lanka and the Sri Lanka Press Institute. The awards were selected by a panel of judges comprised of experienced journalists.

Moment of jubilation was felt in the Empire hall. All dressed elegantly, recipients were wished by their friends and family. And a moment of silence was observed.

Journalists from all media houses in Sri Lanka gathered under one roof to wish and witness. Dancers added colour and joy to the gala night. The event was attended by a large number of journalists, activists and students.

A view of Mount Lavinia Hotel

11th Annual Journalism Awards for Excellence

A Kandyan dancer at the event

The Guest Justice C.G.Weeramantry is being given a warm welcome

A moment of silence is being observed

Dance can be participatory , social or performed for a purpose

Many enjoyed the performance

The performers continued many themes

Colourful costumes were carefully chosen for the theme of the dance

Dance is used as a form of expression or social interaction

Another beautiful performance

Life time Achievement Awards were given to Mrs. Anandi Balasingham, Mr. Sirilal Kodikara, Mr. Arthur U. Amarasena, Mr. M. V. Kaanamylnathan andMr. M. S. M. Munsoor.

The Chairman of Thinakkural Publications (PVT) Limited S.P.Samy is seen with the recipients after felicitating them.

Dance is often accompanied by music

Dance and music are entwined

The annually perform at the journalism awards ceremony

Dance may be regarded as a form of non-verbal communication between humanbeings

A male performer of “Agni”

Dancing has evolved many styles

A quick jump up and down by the performers

Centring, Gravity,Balance, Posture, Gesture, Rhythm, Moving in Space and Breathing are the eight elements in dance

Every single dancer is expected to be perfect in these eight elements

A unique dance performance which leaves the audience gasping in their seats in wonderment

It is believed that before the production of written languages, dance was one of the methods of passing these stories down from generation to generation

Many early forms of music and dance were created and performed together

Audience rose from their seats while Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom of Sri lanka was awarded to Late Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge

Dance and music can be in forms such as jig, waltz, tango, disco, salsa, electronic and hip-hop

The cultural event added colour and glamour to the event

A pot of fresh flowers at Mount Lavinia Hotel

Mervyn de Silva Journalist of the year 2009 Namini Wijedasa of Lakbimanews receives here award from the Guest Justice C.G.Weeramantry

A dance with dedication

Brilliant choreography led to stunning dance performance

Professor K.Kailasapathy Award for Reporting under Special Circumstances was awarded to The Sunday Leader newspaper.

The award was received by the Sunday Leader Editor Frederica Jansz from the National Organiser of the Sri Lanka Working Journalist Association Gnanasriri Koththigoda

Perfect lights were used during the performance

Every movement denotes a message

Bangra dance by the Sri Lanka dancers

Dancers perform for a mix of Indian classic and cinema songs

Dance can embody or express ideas, emotions or tell a story

B.A.Siriwardena Columnist of the year (Tamil): Ayakkannu Titokugan – Thinakkural

The whole space on the stage is occupied

Matching accessories are used for every dance

Subramaniam Chettiar Award for Social Responsible Reporting: Mohamed Hussain Fathima Husna – Thinakkural

Performers quickly and unexpectedly begin to perform faster

Winners of Thinakkural- B.A.Siriwardena Columnist of the year (Tamil):

Ayakkannu Titokugan – Thinakkural,Business Journalist of the year-Tamil: Yogarajah Nimalraj – Thinakkural,

Subramaniam Chettiar Award for Social Responsible Reporting: Mohamed Hussain Fathima Husna – Thinakkural

Upali Wijewardena Feature Writer of the Year-(Tamil): Balasubramaniam Kirubharan – Thinakkural and

Merit Award for Environment Reporting: (Tamil): Kulanthaivel Jeyandran – Thinakkural

Many circles are made according to the rhythm

Cartoonist of the Year Suppiah Jeyapalan of Virakesari

Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom of Sri lanka
Main Award to Late Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge.

The award was received by Late Lasantha Wickrematunga’s brother and co-founder of the Sunday Leader Lal Wickrematunga from the Editor of The Sunday Island Manik De Silva

Drum is beaten fast

Award winners are seen posing for a group photo

The dancers kept the floor tapping

Winners of Journalism Awards for Excellence 2009:

Lifetime Achievement Awards:

Mrs. Anandi Balasingham
Mr. Sirilal Kodikara
Mr. Arthur U. Amarasena
Mr. M. V. Kaanamylnathan
Mr. M. S. M. Munsoor

Best Designed Newspaper of the Year: Irida Lakbima

Merit Award: (English): The Nation

Merit Award: (Tamil): Metro News

Merit Awards: Daily Mirror/ Ravaya

Best Cartoonist of the Year: Suppiah Jeyapalan – Virakesari

Merit Award: Wasantha Kanthilal Siriwardena – The Nation

Merit Award: J. M. Kelaart de Silva – The Island

Best Photographer of the Year: Hettiarachige Ganasiri Samantha Perera – Daily Mirror

Merit Award: Sanka Gayashan Vidanagama – The Sunday Times

Best Sports Journalist of the Year: Channaka de Silva-Daily Mirror

Merit Award: Mohamed Naushad Amit – The Nation

Merit Award: Ehamparan Ravivarmah – Metro News

Best Environmental Journalist of the Year: Karunaratne Gamage – Irida Divaina

Merit Award:(Tamil): Kulanthaivel Jeyandran – Thinakkural

Merit Award: (English): Ifham Nizam – The Island

Upali Wijewardena Feature Writer of the Year: (Sinhala): Udani Wijesundara – Irida Lakbima

Merit Award: (Sinhala): Sanjeewika Samaratunga – Irida Lankadeepa

Upali Wijewardena Feature Writer of the Year (Tamil): Balasubramaniam Kirubharan – Thinakkural

Merit Award:(Tamil): Hassthani Radhakrishnan – Virakesari (Daily)

Upali Wijewardena Feature Writer of the Year-(English): Ranee Mohamed – The Sunday Leader

Merit Award:(English): Randima Attygalle – The Nation

Subramaniam Chettiar Award for Social Responsible Reporting: Mohamed Hussain Fathima Husna – Thinakkural

Merit Award:(Sinhala): Ratna B. Ekanayake – Divaina

Merit Award: (English): Solonachchige Chathuri Prarthanie Dissanayake – The Sunday Times

Denzil Peiris Young Reporter of the Year: Yahalawelge Surekha Sanjeevani Samarasena – Ravaya

Merit Award: Nadia Fazlulhaq – The Sunday Times

Merit Award: B. Dianne Geraldine Silva – Daily Mirror

D.R.Wijewardene Award for earning the appreciation of peers and public:

Main Award to: Mr. Iqbal Athas

Honourable mention:

Mr. Shamindra Ferdinando – The Island
Mr. Sirimevan Kasthuriarachchi – Daily Divaina
Mr. Mihiri Fonseka – Irida Lakbima
Mr. Ramesh Warallegama – Daily Lakbima
Mr. Prasanna Jayasuriya – Daily Lankadeepa
Mr. Duminda Sanjeeva Balasuriya – Irida Lankadeepa
Mr. Sunil Jayasiri – Daily Mirror
Mr. Ranil Wijepala – Daily News
Mr. Tissa Ravindra Perera – Rivira
Mr. Prasanna Fonseka – Siyatha
Mr. Ranga Jayasuriya – Labimanews

Sepala Gunasena Award for Defending Press Freedom in Sri Lanka:

Main Award to: Mr. Lasantha Wickrematunge

Honourable mention to:

Mr. Upali Tennakoon
Mr. J. S. Tissainayagam
Mr. Poddala Jayantha
Mr. N. Vithyatharan

Business Journalist of the year-Sinhala: Shyam Nuwan Ganewatte of Divaina and Sunday Divaina

Business Journalist of the year-Tamil: Yogarajah Nimalraj – Thinakkural

Business Journalist of the year-English: Walimuni Cheranka Apeaksha Mendis – Daily Financial Times

Merit Award: Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema – The Sunday Leader

B.A.Siriwardena Columnist of the year-Sinhala: Amarasiri Wickramaratne – Lanka

Merit Award:(Sinhala): Sujeewa Wimalanath Weeraratne – Ravaya

B.A.Siriwardena Columnist of the year (Tamil): Ayakkannu Titokugan – Thinakkural

Merit Awrad:(Tamil): A. H. Siddeque Kariyapper – Virakesari weekly

B.A.Siriwardena Columnist of the year (English): Chandani Kirinde – The Sunday Times

Merit Award:(English): Emil Hals Van Der Poorten – The Sunday Leader

Scoop of the year: News Desk of The Sunday Times

Professor K.Kailasapathy Award for Reporting under Special Circumstances: The Sunday Leader newspaper

Merit Award:(Sinhala): M. Mihiri Mangala Fonseka – Irida Lakbima

Merit Award:(Tamil): Arun Arokianathan – Daily Virakesari

Investigative Journalist of the year: Mandana Ismail Abeywickrema – The Sunday Leader

Merit Award: Raknish Savan Wijewardene – The Sunday Leader

Mervyn de Silva Journalist of the year 2009: Namini Nimilamalee Wijedasa – Lakbimanews
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

Women Artists’ Colloquium Exhibition 2009/2010: “Omnipresence of the Prick”

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

“The strength of a woman can carry the weight of the world”~ Sarah Pezdek-Smith, (1980-), American born Ukranian Artist, Poet and Writer

Women Artists’ Colloquium Exhibition 2009/2010: “Omnipresence of the Prick” was inaugurated at Theertha Red Dot Gallery in Pitakotte on July 24th 2010.

An exhibition of Art Works by 9 women artists will remain open to the public from July 25th 2010 to August 3rd 2010.

Gallery hours-Monday to Wednesday 10.30AM-5.00PM and Sunday 11.00AM-4.30PM.

Lakisha Fernando, Krishanthi Sepalika, Manori Jayasinghe, Janani Cooray, Shamila Priyadarshani, Inoka De Silva, Priyanthi Anusha, Sajeewani Hewawitharana and Therica Miyandeniya are participating in the Women Artists’ Colloquium Exhibition 2009/2010: “Omnipresence of the Prick”.

Jagath Weerasinghe was the exhibition curator and mentor for colloquium 2010 and Menika van der Pooten was the mentor for colloquium 2009.

Participating nine women artists at the inauguration

The new initiative will encourage many women artists to bring out their hidden talents

Viewers are seen taking a closer look at the Manhood

Kingsley Gunatillake is taking a closer look at the catalogue

It is a different approach say a many art lovers

Koralegedara Pushpakumara is taking a closer look at “Your Eye Tries to Pierce My Tummy”

“Cockroaches” by Inoka De Silva.I feel disgusted with the sexual harassments that women are subjected to by men. It is a violent intrusion into personal space, using the phallus as a weapon with power and strength, purely for male satisfaction.

My work registers this unwelcome male sexual assault and the repugnancy of that act

“Manhood” by Janani Cooray. Contemporary man sustains his manhood on many physical objects such as cars, cell phones and other wearable items.

My work comments on how men construct their manhood and become heroic through the association of these ‘modern’ objects

“Stone Age Weapons” by Krishanthi Sepalika. The man is represented as a heroic character in the overall art discourse where the male occupies a dominant role in art traditions, authorship and politics.

I perceive this ‘dominance of the male’ as an intolerable and a rough experience.

Recalling the acts of the male chauvinism, I find the power of his overt masculinity threatening. I feel that writing everything in male-terms is obstructing the space and possibilities of the woman.

In my work, Stone Age weapons are depicted enlarged and erected alluding to a phallus to denote the unfairly exaggerated power of the male in history, while silently hiding the role and space of women

“Stone Age Weapons” by Krishanthi Sepalika. The man is represented as a heroic character in the overall art discourse where the male occupies a dominant role in art traditions, authorship and politics. I perceive this ‘dominance of the male’ as an intolerable and a rough experience.

Recalling the acts of the male chauvinism, I find the power of his overt masculinity threatening. I feel that writing everything in male-terms is obstructing the space and possibilities of the woman.

In my work, Stone Age weapons are depicted enlarged and erected alluding to a phallus to denote the unfairly exaggerated power of the male in history, while silently hiding the role and space of women

“Your Eye Tries to Pierce My Tummy” by Lakisha Fernando.I find men consuming the female body through their gaze in a way that restricts the movement and expressiveness of women

“Your Eye Tries to Pierce My Tummy” by Lakisha Fernando.I find men consuming the female body through their gaze in a way that restricts the movement and expressiveness of women

“Woman’s Space” by Manori Jayasinghe. Men continue to invade women’s space physically and emotionally !!!!

“Tatoos” by Priyanthi Anusha. The constant reaffirmation of his masculinity, virility and manhood is the foundation of man’s investment on beautifying his body as a desired object

“Poruwa Ceremony” by Sajeewani Hewawitharana.The main focus in my work is to critically look at the male behaviour in the context of female presence at certain moments.

For this, I have chosen the rituals preformed at the traditional wedding platform ‘poruwa’ and the assigned activities and the role for the male as the bridegroom.Certain aspects of this ritual such as adorning the bride with various garments are highlighted in my work

“Shadow” by Therica Miyandeniya. The male identity casts a shadow over everything that is female. The male identity takes on many forms to fashion her according to his own liking in order to generate his own authority. The very presence of a male puts the female on her guard and alerts her to be cautious in what she does and say.

My work critically comments on this lopsided power play and the need for fresh female perspectives on countering it

“Leeches” by Shamila Priyadarshani.My intention is to show how male masculine power intrudes into women’s space (physical and mental) without women’s consent, and use it for their own sensual and sexual intentions

Viewers at the Leeches video presentation

Capturing the moments at the inauguration

This is an event organised by the Women’s Art Program of Theertha International Artists Collective as part of the Women Artists’ Colloquium to support art practices of women artists

Artist Anoli Perera says the following in her introduction to Women Artists’ Colloquium (WAC):

Women Artists’ Colloquium (WAC) was envisaged by Theertha as a program that would support female artists to enhance and sustain their art practice.

While the idea of segregating women artists as a separate category is problematic in general,in a situation where women as artists facevaried impositions within their social, cultural and personal contexts, it is important to give special focus to women who are engaged in art to stabilize their careers as artists.

Hence, the necessity for programs such as Women Artists’ Colloquium.

The exhibition, put together by the artists taking part in the 2009/2010 WACs, is very provocatively named, ‘Omnipresence of the Prick’. Chosen for its contentious nature,the title/theme basically touches the underlying essence of all the works presented in the exhibition.

Initiated as an academic exercise of dissecting and defining the ‘gaze’ as male and female, the colloquium under the mentoring of JagathWeerasinghe explosively brought out the un- inhibited reaction towards the presence of an often unwelcome and intrusive ‘maleness’ from a female perspective.

This exhibition records as artwork these un-reticent manifestations of female counter reaction to the macho maleness in society, an attitude which women artists themselves have to face on a day to day basis in their lives.

Although within the wider global academic feminist discourses, such basic reactions to the presence of macho male has been debated quite some time ago and moved on, at a local level, in reality, women have to negotiate with this macho maleness at its most blatant form at every point in their lives.

As such, if this exhibition presents the female reaction to the hegemony of the male in its raw sense, it has been done consciously to make a point.

The exhibition ‘Omnipresence of the Prick’ is an effort by the participants of 2009 and 2010Colloquiums. The WAC 2009 conducted by Menika van der Pootenwas specifically focused on photography. This resulted in a number of women artists working enthusiastically on photography.

This also has contributed to Theertha’s intention of promoting photography, new media and video art within the artists’ community in Sri Lanka. Weerasinghe’s mentoring has exposed women artists to critical thought and insightful, sometimes explosive, discussions on feminism, art and women’s art practices.

All these knowledge transfers have contributed to enhancing the criticality and innovation in women artists’ work. As such, Theertha and the WAC would like to acknowledge both Menika van der Pooten and JagathWeerasinghe for their support towards WAC programs.

We acknowledge the Arts Collaboratory and Ford Foundation for their long term support of the Theertha Women’s Program and the WAC.
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

“Vigil” and Other Works: An exhibition of installations,drawings and paintings

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Art must be an expression of love or it is nothing”~ Marc Chagall,
(7 July 1887- 28 March 1985),Russian- French Painter

“Vigil” and Other Works by Chandraguptha Thenuwara is currently being held at the Lionel Wendt Gallery in Colombo. It was inaugurated today for special invitees. The exhibition will remain open from July 24th 2010 to July 29th 2010 from 10am to 7pm except the Poya Day on Sunday-July 25th 2010.

There are 15 exhibits including installations, drawings and paintings displayed. He holds an annual exhibition in July to commemorate the Black July which took place in Sri Lanka.

A candle is lit to pay tribute to those who have sacrificed their lives

Chandraguptha Thenuwara’s son Charudaththa Thenuwarar lights a candle

Chandraguptha Thenuwara has developed a specific identity through his own concept

Chandraguptha Thenuwara lights a candle to pay tribute

Vigil Installations-Mixed Media

Columns of our Era

Peak-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Acrylic on canvass

Tyre,Barrel and tin sheet are used make the Columns

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Many previewed the exhibition

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Art curator Saskia Fernando is seen taking a closer look at one of the exhibits

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Untitled-Ink on paper

Chandraguptha Thenuwara with some viewers

Art students at the preview

An ardent art lover is seen taking a closer look t the exhibit named “Vigil”

Art lovers walk through installations
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com

Vairavar Madai: An ancient ritual continues with a traditional touch in Jaffna

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Lord Vairavar is one of the most terrifying aspects of Lord Siva. And, Lord Vairavar is also considered a God who safeguards villages and his devotees. He is the fierce manifestation of Lord Siva associated with annihilation. He is a folk deity who safeguards the devotee on all eight directions.

Lord Vairavar himself has eight manifestations: Kala (black) Vairavar, Asitanga (with black limbs)Vairavar, Samhara (destruction)Vairavar, Ruru (hound) Vairavar, Krodha (anger)Vairavar, Kapala (Skull)Vairavar, Rudra (storm) Vairavar and Unmatta (raging) Vairavar.

He is one of the most important deities in Sri Lanka. Lord Vairavar means “Terrible” or “Frightful”. Vairavar worship is very popular in Jaffna district. Every few households share a Vairavar temple in their compound, and daily poojas are performed.

Vairavar Madai or Mass Pongal with special poojas takes place annually in these temples dedicated to Lord Vairavar. These temples either have the idol of Lord Vairavar or a trident. Friday is reserved for annual Vairavar Madai.

Konaavalai Vairavar temple, which is situated in Kokkuvil on Thirunelvely-Kokkuvil road is believed to be very powerful, and passers-by take a quick stop and worship. The annual Vairavar Madai or Mass Pongal of the Konaavalai Vairavar temple was held on July 2nd 2010 at dusk.

Ardent devotees from Kokkuvil have gathered on this day to take part in special poojas, make sweet rice and offer it to Lord Vairavar along with Vadai, Pal Rotty,Murukku and variety of fruits. The offerings were shared by the villagers.Animal sacrifice during the Vairavar Madai used to take place earlier at Konaavalai Vairavar temple, but it is not practiced now.

Lord Vairavar stands tall on the roof top

Brass pot is kept on burning fire outside the temple

The community pongal gets underway

Boiling over or spill over from the pot

Most people of Kokkuvil are ardent devotees of Konaavalai Vairavar

Pots are in a neat row

Vijayaratnam Vijayanesan from Kokkuvil puts rice in the boiling water

A scene outside the temple

Devotees are taking part in special poojas

Another view of the beautiful sculptures at the temple

Smoke covers the pots during a heavy wind

Sun sets its rays over the temple

The chief priest of the temple performs the rituals in the Vasantha Mandapam (ceremonial hall)

Trident outside the temple

A conch with the holy ash (Vipoothy) hangs at the main entrance of the temple

Traditional musicians at the temple for the festival

Dog is the divine vehicle of Lord Vairavar

Devotees thronged the temple for the festival

Colourful celebration for the guarding deity

Another offering by a devotee

A fast is observed for the whole day during the Madai

A view of the Jaffna Medical College

Konaavalai Vairavar temple is one of the oldest temples in Jaffna

Ganeshwary Mahadeva from Kantharoodau is seen offering the food to the God

Sanctum (Moolasthaanam) of the temple

“Paal Rotty” is offered to the God. “Paal Rotty” is a must offering in a Vairavar Madai

Sculptures at the Vasantha Mandapam

Dressed up Lord Vairavar for the festival

Devotees from the area gathered to fulfill their vows

Offerings to the God
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HumanityAshore.org ~ Email: dushi.pillai@gmail.com