Dindigul is slightly interior part of Tamil Nadu and is well connected with places like Kodaikanal, Madurai, Trichy, Karur and Palani. It is famous for locks, textile mills and tobbaco cultivation. The rockfort is the land mark for Dindigul and this is visible from any part of the town and I am staying at present in this place.
There are a quite a few temples here and Masi festival of Kottai Mariamman temple is very famous and has concluded recently.
I never like crowded places but my curiosity was kindled by my neighbour who gave me a detail description of the temple and the rituals. Armed with my camera I went to shoot. This was really a different experience altogether as some of the rituals were very unique.
Kottai Mariamman temple is about 200 years old and the deity is believed to have been installed by the soldiers of Tipu Sultan. This temple is at the base of the rock fort. The idol of Mariamman is worshipped by all the people in and around Dindigul and people from villages flock here with their offerings to their deity. The Mariamman temple festival is for 15 days.
The main idol in the sanctum is installed on the floor of the temple and She is always adorned with golden Kavacham during the festival. The Utsavar is taken around the streets surrounding the temple on a chariot. There is a flower chariot festival and on that day all the people in Dindigul come out to offer flowers to the deity and the streets also get decorated with flowers. As part of the celebration the temple is decorated with floral patterns. Carrying sprouted grains, fire pots, milk pots with the accompaniments of percussion instruments is a common sight during this festival. One thing made me nervous was the Pookuli. Here a fire pit is made which is about 8- 10 feet in length and is filled with burning charcoal and devotees walk through the pit chanting the Amman's name. I witnessed the same and have included various clippings of the festival.
How to reach : The nearest Airport is Madurai, is about 70 Kms. from Dindigul.
Railway station is in the heart of Dindigul town itself.
Many State Government buses as well as private buses ply from nearby towns.
Good hotels are available in Dindigul.
Photos 1. Maraimman Utsavar,2. Balaji , brother of Maraimman, 3, 4, 5,6 floral carpets and rangoli, 7-10 flower chariot 11. Decorated pandal with a idol of Amman on the road side 12, Flower offerings kept ready for the deity. 13. Elephant pilot in front of chariot. 14. sprout pots, 15.fire pot 16, 17, 18, Pookuli( fire walk) 19, Amman temple in the background is Dindigul rock, 20 A decorated pandal during the flower chariot festival.