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Festivals in Tamil Nadu

Aurbathimoovar Festival

Mylapore, located in Chennai is a popular tourist destination. The name Mylapore is derived from the Tamil word, Myil which means a peacock. It is believed that to marry Lord Shiva, Goddess Parvati did penance in the form of a peacock. The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is an integral part of the town. The 400 years old temple is an example of eighth century Pallavan architecture.

The Kapaleeshwarar Temple is one of the most important landmarks of Mylapore. The 400 years old temple is dedicated to Lord Shiva and showcases beautiful architecture. Some of the inscriptions of the temple dates back to 1250 AD.

Legend proves that Lord Shiva to diminish Lord Brahma’s pride cut off one of his head. Lord Brahma established a Shiv lingam in Mylapore as a form of penance.

The temple is popular for the idols of 63 Nayanmars or Shaivaite saints established in the courtyard. The idols are made of bronze and the famous Aurbathimoovar Festival is the celebrated in honor of the 63 Nayanmars.


During the Aurbathimoovar Festival the 63 saints of Lord Shiva are honored for leading ideal lives of penance and devotion. The Aurbathimoovar Festival includes a colorful procession through the streets of Mylapore. The 63 idols are carried around the town and thousands of devotees travel to Chennai to witness and be a part of the procession. Offerings of flowers and fruits are made to the deities. Streets and houses of devotees are decorated with kolams. Celebrations also include folk music and Kokkalikattai and Koothu dances. The famous traditional thoippavai puppet show is performed during the festival.

Time to celebrate

The Aurbathimoovar Festival is celebrated between March and April. Devotees visit the town in large numbers. 

Chithirai Festival


Celebrated in the Madurai temple located about 500 kilometers from Chennai, Chithirai Festival, Madurai is a popular festival in southern India. Madurai is popularly known as the City of Festivals. The festivals of Madurai are well known for their color and vivaciousness. Devotees gather in large numbers and worship the gods and goddesses.

Chithirai Festival, Madurai includes a procession of Lord Vishnu, locally known as Lord Kallazhagar. The brother of Goddess Meenakshi, Lord Vishnu travels from his abode in Azhagarmalai to get his sister married to Lord Sundareshwarar. This journey from his abode to his sister’s wedding, on a golden chariot, is the legend behind celebrating the Chithirai Festival, Madurai.


The celebrations begin with the hoisting of the flag in the temple. The celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar is celebrated every year in Madurai during the Chithirai Festival. Devotees on this auspicious day celebrate by riding a golden chariot with the idols of the god and the goddess.

The journey around the city is accompanied with drum beats, flowers incense sticks and camphor. The spiritual ambience is heightened with the offerings made by the devotees like sweets and coconut.

A fair is organized on this day. Devotees traveling from different parts of the country visit the fair after the festival. The ten day festivity is a time of the year when devotees from different social and regional background gather together to celebrate and worship.

Time to celebrate

Chithirai Festival, Madurai is celebrated between April and May during the Tamil month of Chithirai. This is one of the popular festivals of Madurai. 



One of the most popular festivals of India, Dussera is celebrated with equal enthusiasm among all regions of the country but in different ways. Also known as Vijaya Dashami in certain parts of the country, Dussera is the tenth day of the Durga Puja during the month of Ashwin. It is celebrate the victory of good over evil after Goddess Durga’s victory over the demon Mahishasura.

The other significance of Dussera is that is marks the end of the exile of the Pandavas according to the Hindu epic, Mahabharata. Another story attached to the significance of Dussera is the fight between Lord Rama and Ravana. Sita, Lord Rama’s wife had been adducted by Ravana, a believer of Lord Shiva. Rama offers prayers to Shiva’s wife, Goddess Durga to help him rescue Sita. Dussera is the day when Lord Rama successfully kills Ravana and rescues his wife.


Dussera celebrations in Tamil Nadu include a lot of color, flowers and exchanging of gifts. In the South Indian states, dolls or Bommai Kolu are decorated by the devotees. Houses are decorated with flowers and colored powder or rangoli. The floor is designed with the colored powder and earthen lamps are lit and placed on the designs. People wear new clothes and exchange greetings and gifts.

In Tamil Nadu, Dussera is celebrated over 9 days of which the first 3 days are dedicated to Goddess Lakshmi, the goddess of Wealth, the second half is dedicated to Goddess Saraswati, the goddess of arts and knowledge and the last three days are dedicated to Shakti, the goddess of Power and Strength.

Time to celebrate

Dussera, Tamil Nadu is celebrated over 5 days between the 6th and the 10th day of the waxing moon in the month of Ashwin according to the Bengali calendar which corresponds to the months of September and October. 

Kanthuri Festival


Tamil Nadu is a land of many beauties, many cultures and many religions. Fairs and festivals of Tamil Nadu have an integral role to play in the understanding of its heterogeneity of traditions and customs. Different religions of the region celebrated different festivals with equal enthusiasm and dedication. However one of the most secular festivals of Tamil Nadu is the Kanthuri Festival.

The festival is not restricted only to the Hindus or Muslims. It attracts people of all faiths and religions. The Kanthuri Festival is expected to bring about well being and prosperity to all irrespective of religious beliefs.


The Kanthuri Festival is held at the Shrine of Saint Quadirwali in Tamil Nadu. One of the saint’s descendent is chosen as the spiritual leader of the celebration. The Peer or spiritual leader of the celebrations is then honored by the devotees. The Peer is given offerings by the devotees. Elaborate rituals accompany the offerings.

On the tenth day of the festival the tomb of Saint Quadirwali is anointed with sandalwood and offerings are made to the saint. The sandalwood paste is then distributed among the devotees.

Time to celebrate

The Kanthuri Festival, Tamil Nadu is celebrated between July and August. Thousands of devotees travel to Tamil Nadu to be present at this significant event and experience the moment. It is believed to be a very religious event of the year. 

Mahamagam Festival


The Mahamagam Festival is a bathing ceremony by which all sins and evils doings are washed away. By bathing in the Mahamagam Tank one can be purified. It is believed that holy rivers like the Ganga and Yamuna meet in the waters of the tank once in 12 years.

People from all parts of the country visit Kumbakonam during the Mahamagam Festival. Since it is celebrated once in 12 years, the crowd that gathers to take a dip in the waters of the tank is more than 40 lacs.

The ten day celebration during the Mahamagam Festival is commenced with the hoisting of a flag in the Vaishnavite Temple and other temples in Kumbakonam.

Time to celebrate

Mahamagam Festival usually takes place when the Moon is in juxtaposition with the constellation, Maham. This happens in the Tamil month of Masi which according to the Gregorian calendar is either in the second half of February of in the first half of March. Mahamagam Festival is celebrated once in 12 years as the astronomical placement occurs then. 

Meenakshi Kalyanam, Madurai


Meenakshi Kalyanam is truly one of the most popular festivals of Madurai that attracts visitors in large numbers, not only across India but from other counties as well. Meenakshi Kalyanam, Madurai is also one of the widely celebrated fairs and festivals in Tamil Nadu, India. The annual festival is celebrated every year at the world-famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai in observance of the divine wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareshwar (Shiva).

Meenakshi Kalyanam Festival in Madurai is an annual festival that falls in the months of April – May (Hindu month of Chaitra) and stretches over a period of 12 days. The festival commences from the second day of the lunar month that is exactly two days after the new moon.

Meenakshi Kalyanam is celebrated in the grandest manner possible at the magnificent Meenakshi Temple located in the renowned temple city of Madurai. During the 12-day festival that is widely celebrated across the state of Tamil Nadu, spectacular images of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Shiva are taken out for processions at the streets. A large number of locals as well as tourists flock to Madurai during this time to witness the majestic proceedings. The magnificent temple is adorned as a bride during the time of Meenakshi Kalyanam festival that adds to the beauty of the already splendid holy shrine.

A large number of umbrellas and fans are beautifully decorated in authentic royal style during the celebrations of Meenakshi Kalyanam in Madurai. Traditional instrumental music provides a perfect backdrop to the enactment of mythological scenes by local artists. Car processions of large deities of Lord Shiva, Goddess Shakti and Goddess Meenakshi are a prominent feature of Meenakshi Kalyanam festival in Madurai.

We at Indian Holiday provide tour packages for Tamil Nadu that take you to the some of the most popular tourist destinations in the state and acquaint you with the rich culture and heritage of its various cities. 



Originated in Tamil Nadu, Pongal is one of the most significant festivals of the region. Celebrated to honor a good harvest and to rejoice in the prosperity, Pongal is celebrated with equal enthusiasm in Sri Lanka, Malaysia, Singapore and other parts of south India.

Astronomically, Pongal marks the start of Uttarayana or the sun’s northward movement for a period of six months.


The festival lasts for about a week. Bhogi, the first day of Pongal starts by getting rid of old clothes by setting them on fire. This act of burning the old shows a method of destruction of evil and all that is bad and beginning the new with everything afresh. The second day is the most significant day of the festival. This day is the first day of the Tamil month of Thai. The second day is also known as Veetu Pongal the rituals involved on this day is boiling rice with fresh milk and jaggery. New pots are used to boil the rice. It is then garnished with brown sugar, cashew nuts and raisins.

The blowing of the conch shell is a significant part of the ritual. This welcomes the New Year and announces prosperity and good fortune. Devotees greet each other by exchanging gifts and sweets.

The third day of the festival, Maattu Pongal is a ritual offering appreciation to the cattle as the cattle aids the farmers in the field and are hence play a significant part in the harvesting of crops. A game known as Jallikattu or taming the wild bull is a special attraction of the day.

The fourth and final day of the Pongal festival is known as Kaanum Festival. Decorating the house with kolam is a part of the day’s ritual.

Time to celebrate

The Pongal Festival usually takes place between January 12 and 15 of every year. The festival is celebrated between the last four days of the Tamil month of Maargazhi and the third day of Thai. 

Summer Festivals


Tamil Nadu bounded by Pondicherry, Kerala, Andhra Pradesh and Karnataka is a popular tourist destination in southern India. The glorious and diverse history of Tamil Nadu dates back to many years. The cultural traditions and the heritage born out of its history showcase the richness and the opulence.

The culture, art, architecture, literature, music and dance which encompass Tamil Nadu’s diverse heritage are unique and exceptionally rich. Apart from a rich legacy, Tamil Nadu offers a variety of beautiful locations like palm fringed beaches, exotic hill stations and enthralling architectural wonders.

The Summer Festivals of Tamil Nadu is a major attraction for locals as well as international tourists. Those wanting a break from the scorching sun and the heat waves enjoy a trip to Tamil Nadu and experience the exciting Summer Festivals.


The Summer Festivals of Tamil Nadu is one of the most popular fair and festival of the region. The festival is organized in the many hill stations of Tamil Nadu like Kodailkanal, Yercaud, Yelagiri Hills and Udhagamandalam.

Ooty also known as Udhagamandalam is believed to be the queen of all hills stations in India. Located in the Nilgiri district this picturesque location is a common summer getaway for many. The verdant hills, the serene picnic locations are ideal to enjoy a relaxed and comfortable vacation. The Tea and Tourism Festival in Ooty is a popular attraction.

Kodaikanal, located in the Pali Hills is a beautiful hill station located on an altitude of 2133 meters from the sea level. The flower shows and the fruit shows in Kodaikanal are major attractions of the Summer Festival.

Yercaud, a coffee plantation hamlet, is located in the Shevaroy Hills. The tranquil hill station offers solace from the bustling modern life. The Pyramid Point is a popular tourist location in Yercaud.

Yelagiri Hills, located about 150 kilometers from Bangalore is another hill station of Tamil Nadu that offers summer festivals like fruit festivals, adventure sports and flower shows. Boat race is another important feature of the summer festivals of Tamil Nadu.

Time to celebrate

The summer festivals of Tamil Nadu last between May and June. Every year thousands of local as well as international tourists visit the region. 

Thai Poosam Palani

Introduction to Thai Poosam

A Hindu festival celebrated mostly by the Tamil community Thai Poosam is one of the important fairs and festivals in Tamil Nadu. Celebrated with great fervor in the holy town of Palani, Thai Poosam celebrates the birthday of Lord Murugan (also referred as Subramanium) – the youngest son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati. The festival also commemorates the occasion when Parvati had given Murugan a vel (lance) with which to vanquish the evil demon Soorapadman. Celebrations during Thai Poosam festival last for ten days surrounding the full moon, and are concentrated in the temples, where thousands of devotees gather to prove their devotion to the Lord.

Time of Celebration of Thai Poosam

Thai Poosam in Tamil Nadu is celebrated each year on the full moon in the Tamil month of Thai which falls in the month of January/February of the English Calendar. The word Pusam refers to a star that is at its highest position during the festival.

Description of Thai Poosam

The sacred town of Palani in Tamil Nadu celebrates Thai Poosam with much grandeur and gaiety. Thousands of devotees flock to Palani for the annual Thai Poosam Festival. The devotees prepare for the festival by cleansing themselves through prayer and fasting. The most important celebrations are held on the Thai Poosam day itself when devotees assemble at the Palani Temples of Murugan.

On the day of the Thai Poosam festival, devotees shave their heads, and set out for the pilgrimage along a set route while engaging themselves in various acts of devotion, especially carrying different types of kavadi (burdens). While some of the devotees simply carry a pot of milk as a kavadi, some others go to the extent of mortifying the flesh by piercing the skin, tongue or cheeks with vel skewers. The most amazing practice is the vel kavadi, which is a portable altar about two meters tall, adorned with peacock feathers and attached to the devotee’s body through 108 vels pierced into the skin on the chest and at back. The devotees claim that they get into a trance like situation, where they do not feel any pain, nor do they bleed from their wounds and even no scars are left behind. Fire walking and flagellation are also practiced to prove the devotion of the pilgrims during the Thai Poosam.

Chennai Dance & Music Festival

Introduction to Chennai Dance & Music Festival

The Chennai Dance & Music Festival is the celebration of South Indian music and dance specially the Carnatic Music which is held in the city of Chennai. The festival is organized at a number of venues and is celebrated throughout Chennai especially for all the music lovers. This is truly a festival dedicated to South Indian Classical music and dance.

Time of Celebration of Chennai Dance & Music Festival

The Chennai Dance & Music Festival is held during mid December to mid January and people from all over come to Chennai during this time to be a part of this celebration of Indian music and dance.

Description of Chennai Dance & Music Festival

The Chennai Dance and Music festival is a celebration of classical music and dance of South India. The festival is held at a number of venues throughout the city and mostly it is organized in the auditoriums, temples and heritage bungalows. Artistes from different parts of the country participate in this musical extravaganza and enthrall the audiences who are music lovers.

This started quite early and was called the Margazhi festival which was back in 1927 and it was meant to commemorate the anniversary of the Madras Music Academy. Since it was held in the Tamil month of Margazhi it was named as Margazhi festival. Later the other music schools joined the festival. The South Indian classical music is treated as a form of worship and the musical notes truly fills the air of Chennai with a divine feeling.

Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Introduction to Mamallapuram Dance Festival

A vibrant dance festival organized at the venue of ‘Arjuna’s penance’ in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu - the Mamallapuram Dance Festival is one of the most awaited Fairs and Festivals in Tamil Nadu. The erstwhile port of the powerful Pallvas, Mamallapuram is an ancient city, renowned for showcasing some exemplary rock sculptures of the Pallavas. Arjuna’s penance is an exquisite bass relief sculpted on the face of two colossal adjoining rocks in Mamallapuram, Tamil Nadu. During the Mamallapuram festival, Exponents of classical dance forms like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Kathakali, etc. perform in an open air stage set against the back drop of magnificent Pallava rock sculptures.

Time of Celebration of Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Mamallapuram Dance Festival is organized for four weeks from early January in the city of Mamallapuram in Tamil Nadu.

Description of Mamallapuram Dance Festival

Organized by the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, the Mamallapuram Dance Festival is a renowned festival and one of the premier cultural attractions to South India. The event outstanding performances on Indian classical dance forms like Bharata Natyam, Kuchipudi, Kathak, Mohiniattam, Odissi and Kathakali. Eminent people from varied fields gather for this festival which is one of the most appreciated cultural festivals in Tamil Nadu.

Held at the venue of the bass relief Arjuna’s Penance, Mamallapuram Dance Festival in Tamil Nadu features open-air dance performances, against the magnificent backdrop of Pallava rock sculptures that lend an aesthetic touch to this cultural event.
The open air stage where the performances are made was erected about thirteen centuries ago, with the amazing monolithic rock sculptures in the background and sea beside. During the festival, dancers from worldwide and tourists come to witness the best folk dancers in India perform under the open sky in an open-air, theater style setting.

Float Festival of India, Madurai


One of the oldest cities of the country, Madurai is popularly known as the Temple Town of India. The history of Madurai dates back to the Sangam Period. Madurai has been ruled by many dynasties and undergone many social, cultural and political changes which has resulted in a fusion of varied traditions. The diversity that Madurai offers is evident in the rich cultural heritage.

From the rule of the Vijayanagar Dynasty to the British rule, Madurai has gone through a series of variety. After Independence, Madurai has proved a position for itself. A tourist’s paradise, Madurai offers magnificent temples, extraordinary architecture and vivacious fairs and festivals. One of the most popular festivals of Madurai is the Float Festival of India, Madurai.


Madurai also known as the City of Festivals is home to the colorful Float Festival which is locally known as Teppothsavam. Originated by King Thirumala Nayaka in the 17th century, the Float Festival of India, Madurai is celebrated by the people of the region with great enthusiasm.

It is believed that the king built a new palatial mansion. For the building of the palace bricks were needed for which a large portion of the land was dug up. Later this excavated site was made into a lake. An artificial lake in the middle of the lake was built. A temple built on the island was dedicated to Lord Ganesha. A ritual arose where idols of deities were taken on a boat ride.

The Float Festival of India, Madurai involves the carrying of Goddess Meenakshi and her consort, Lord Sundareshwarar in a procession to the lake where they are taken on a boat ride.

Early morning, the deities are carried in golden palanquins and escorted by elephants and musicians. On the banks of the lake the devotees worship the deities.

The devotees hold the two ends of the rope that help the idols to float. After a couple of rounds of the lake, the idols are taken to the temple on the island. The island is lit with lamps and decorated with colorful lanterns and flowers.

Time to celebrate

Float Festival of India, Madurai is celebrated in January every year. 



The history of the Kartika Festival dates back to around 200 BC when it finds mention in the Ahananuru, a book of poems. This famous book of poems informs that the festival is celebrated on a purnima or a full moon night during the Tamil month of Karthigai.

One of the oldest festivals of India, Kartika has been celebrated even before people started celebrating Navratri and Diwali. Distinct from other Hindu festivals, Kartika is mostly a Tamil festival and is celebrated on a smaller scale in some other parts of the country. In Tamil the festival of Kartika is known as Karthigai Deepam Festival.


Kartika is a festival of lights. Uttradam day, which is the first day of the nine days celebration, marks the beginning of the festival. A flag hoisting ceremony on the first day is one of the first rituals of the day. The Bharani Deepam is to be lit in the Arunachaleswara’s Sannithi.

In the presence of a full moon, the deity, Ardhanareswarar is removed from the sanctum with five deepams. The elaborate rituals and the decorations in the temple and in the houses of devotees make the festival vivacious and colorful.

The festival attracts thousands of devotees from all across the country. Every house is lit with earthen lamps. An auspicious symbol, lighted lamps have a significant part in the festival of Kartika. The festival is to welcome peace and prosperity and to ward off evil and ill luck.

Time to celebrate

The festival is celebrated in the Tamil month of Karthigai which is between November and December. The nine day celebration begins on Uttradam day. The tenth day marks the end of the celebrations. 

Maha Shivratri, Chidambaram


Chidambaram is located along the Bay of Bengal, about 75 kilometers from Pondicherry. Known for the beautiful beaches, Chidambaram is a town of temples as well. Fairs and festivals of Chidambaram are popular tourist attractions. Among many Hindu festivals, Maha Shivratri, Chidambaram is the most popular one.

Celebrated in honor of Lord Shiva, Maha Shivratri literally means, ‘Lord Shiva’s Great Night’. According to Hindu mythology, Shiva is the third God of the Trinity. Shiva is one of the most revered deities among the Hindu devotees.


Devotees on Maha Shivratri in Chidambaram fast during the day and keep a vigil during the night. The festival includes enchanting verses from sacred texts, offering fruits and flowers to the deity, ringing bells and praying in the temples and most importantly offering leaves and milk to the Shiv lingam. On this auspicious day, the Shiv lingam is bathed in five different offerings known as the panchagavya. Offering to Lord Shiva also includes the five types of food representing immortality, milk, clarified butter, curd, honey and sugar. Some temples are believed to offer Dhatura as well as Jati.

In Chidambaram devotees visit temples and carry out the rituals of the festival and make offerings to the deity.

Time to celebrate

According to the Hindu calendar, the fourteenth day in the Krishna Paksha of the month of Phalguna is Maha Shivratri. People all across the country celebrate this day as one of the most auspicious days in the Hindu calendar. 

Natyanjali Dance Festivals


Located along the Bay of Bengal, about 75 kilometers from Pondicherry is the beautiful land of Chidambaram. It is well known not only as a tourist’s paradise for the beautiful beaches but also for the reputed Natyanjali Dance Festivals. Dedicated to the Cosmic Dancer, Lord Nataraja, the Natyanjali Dance Festival is a tribute to the Lord of Dance.

A joint venture of the Department of Tourism, Government of Tamil Nadu, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India and the Natyanjali Trust, Chidambaram, the Natyanjali Dance Festivals is one of the most popular dance festivals of south India.


The Natyanjali Dance Festivals are a platform for established and internationally reputed classical dancers as well as for amateur dancers. The motive behind organizing the dance festival on such a grand scale is to promote and spread the message of ‘unity in diversity’. The universal language of music is spread through the different forms of Indian classical dances. All regional, political and social barriers are overcome and every individual becomes a part of the single whole. This umbrella-feeling is one of the most important aims of the Natyanjali Dance Festivals, Tamil Nadu.

Performed at the ‘prakara’ of the temple in Chidambaram, the audience travels from different parts of the country and the globe. The five day celebration of the forms of Indian classical dance is set under the golden roof of Chidambaram’s temple. The 108 poses of Bharatnatyam forms the centre of the Natyanjali Dance Festivals, Tamil Nadu.

Time to celebrate

The Natyanjali Dance Festivals, Tamil Nadu is organized between February and March every year. This like every other religious festival of India is celebrated with immense enthusiasm and passion.

Saral Vizha


Madurai is a land of many beauties. It offers breath taking locations, picturesque valleys and magnificent waterfalls. The Courtallam Waterfall is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Madurai. Also known as Kuttalam, the Courtallam Waterfall is often called the ‘Spa of the South’. Located in Tamil Nadu, Saral Vizha is about 16.7 meters on the Western Ghats. The medicinal properties of the waterfalls are unique and another reason for tourist attraction.

Some of the main waterfalls of Courtallam Waterfall are Peraruvi, Chitraruvi, Shenbaga Devi Falls, Thenaruvi, Aintharuvi, Puli Aruvi, Pazhaya Courtallam, Puthu Aruvi and the Pazhathotta Aruvi.


Saral Vizha is a ceremony which involves bathing in the Courtallam Waterfalls. The bathing at the magnificent waterfalls is believed to welcome prosperity and well being. The event is magnified into a ritual which is believed to bring about a pleasant change in the life and body of the devotees.

The waterfalls endowed with medicinal properties helps to tone the body and wash away the toxics collected in the body. This helps in the smooth functioning of the human body and hence helps the mind and brings about a feeling of peace and tranquility. 

Tamil New Year

Introduction to Tamil New Year

The Tamil New Year is celebrated on the first day of the Hindu Solar Calendar. Popularly known as Puthandu, the Tamil New Year is celebrated with feasts in Hindu homes and the entrances to the houses are decorated elaborately with kolams. Every year in the month of Chithrai (the first month of the Hindu calendar), Tamil New Year is observed with much gaiety and fervor.

Time of Celebration of Tamil New Year

Based on the solar cycle, the Tamil calendar has a sixty years cycle, with each year comprising twelve months. The Tamil New Year is celebrated after the vernal equinox and it generally falls on April 14 of the Gregorian Year.

Description of Tamil New Year

The Tamil New Year which usually falls on April 14th is an occasion that calls for celebration for Tamilians all over the world. This is supposedly the day when Lord Brahma (the Creator of the world, according to Hindu mythology) started creation. People exchange greetings of “Puthandu Vazthukal” (Happy New Year) with great fervor on this day.

The Tamil New Year day begins with viewing the ‘kanni’ (the auspicious sight) at dawn, out of the expectation that starting the New Year by looking at auspicious things will bring good luck all through the year. The auspicious things include gold and silver jewelry, betel leaves, nuts, fruits and vegetables, flowers, raw rice and coconuts. Thereafter, people take a ritual bath followed by visiting the temple to pray for a happy and prosperous New Year. After this, the Panchangam (almanac) is read.

During the Tamil New Year celebrations, women decorate the entrance to their houses with ‘kolam’ (design made with rice flower), and adorn the doorway with mango leaves. Every year on Tamil New Year, a grand car festival is held at Tiruvadamarudur near Kumbakonam. The month of Chitthirai also witnesses the marriage of Goddess Meenakshi to Lord Sundereswarar, which is celebrated as Chitthirai Festival.

The highlight of Tamil New Year Festival in Tamil Nadu is the ‘Maanga Pachadi’ (a dish made of raw mangoes, jaggery and neem flowers), which tastes sweet, sour and bitter at the same time. This signifies the various aspects of our lives.

 Thyagaraja Carnatic Music Festival


Tamil Nadu, the southern most tip of India is a popular tourist destination. It is well known for the beautiful golden palm fringed beaches, the refreshing hills resorts and many beautiful temples and magnificent architecture.

Festivals, art and culture are significant tenets which describe the state. Cuisine is another major aspect of Tamil Nadu culture. The specialities of the region are idli, vada, pongal and uppama.

A land of culture, music, art and architecture, Thiruvariyar in the Tanjavur district of Tamil Nadu is the birth place of the famous singer poet, Thyagaraja. The Thyagaraja Carnatic Music Festival, Thiruvariyar is a major music festival that is held here every year. This beautiful land is also popular for the beautiful handicrafts and the other forms of art.


The history of Carnatic music dates back to around 15th century. Vocal music finds special emphasis in Carnatic music. The two main elements of Carnatic music are raga and tal.

The Thyagaraja Carnatic Music Festival, Thiruvariyar attracts musicians and instrumentalists from all across the country. Legendary singers and musicians of Indian Classical music take part in this gathering and showcase brilliance and extraordinary talent. Music lovers and tourists visit Thiruvariyar during this time of the year to witness one of the most enchanting and enthralling experiences of a lifetime.

Conducted on the Pushya Bahula Panchami to pay homage to Saint Thyagaraja, the music festival is also organized in other parts of the world. The songs sung as part of the homage are the Pancharatna Kritis or the Five Gems of Carnatic music.

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