Wednesday, 25 November 2015

Maha Kartikai Deepam, Lighting the Sacred Flame Atop Arunachala



Lighting the Flame on the Hill of Fire!

Every year during the month of November an ancient ceremony is enacted at Arunachala in the South of India.
A huge copper cauldron is carried up to the summit from the Arunachaleshwar Temple and filled with ghee offerings, many of which are carried up by local and visiting pilgrims.

Each evening as the sun sets the lamp is ignited and burns throughout the night for ten consecutive days.
A lot of the foreign visitors run out of town during the main day of the festival, but i would not miss it for the world.

There is something very special about the atmosphere in this place during these days.

Come dusk on Deepam day, most of the town surrounding the entire Hill are outside on their rooftops. Everyone has ghee lamps prepared and offerings of flowers and incense.

When the sun is setting in the wast and the moon is rising in the east the head priest at the main Arunachalesvar temple sends a signal from the inner sanctum at the exact and auspicious moment.

A flare shoots up into the sky and the great cauldron atop the hill is lit and bursts into a mighty flame. At that instant a roar rises up from every place in and around the Hill.

The crowds cries out Harohara, three times. This translates as; This is a sight for the gods to see!

It is a truly exhilarating moment.

In a world torn apart by hatred, fear and the endless divisions created by countless human minds, we can take heart in the united joy which ignites itself as the eternal flame at Arunachala!


Arunachala is the sacred Hill which represents the Agni Lingam (Fiery Element) of India.

The following link will take you to one of my previous and more detailed posts on the;

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