Temple car

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Temple car in Colombo, Sri Lanka.

Temple cars are chariots used to carry representations of Hindu gods. The car is usually used on festival days called Ther Thiruvizha (தேர் திருவிழா) usually happens once in a year, where many people gathered around the temple and pull the cart. Thiruvarur,Kanchipuram, Srivilliputhur, Tirunelveli in Tamil Nadu and Puri, in Odisha, Kadiri in Andhra Pradesh host some of the largest annual temple car festivals.

One of the very old and ancient festivals that often mentioned in the devotional hymns of saints like ( Tirugnanasambandar and Sundarar) and many Tamil literature, usually held during the summer between March and April months of every year, lasts more than 25 days. The main attraction of the festival is the procession of the great temple car of Thiruvarur (in Tamil: ஆழித் தேர்). This great chariot is said to the biggest one of its type in size and height. It is 96 feet (29 m) tall and weights more than 300 tons.The other famous temple car festival which draws more devotees from all over Tamil Nadu is Kanchi Varadhajar swamy temple car festival.The temple car was once about 90 feet tall before the renovation and holds a significant importance that, it's one among the Big Temple cars of Tamil Nadu.

The size of the largest temple cars inspired the Anglo-Indian term Juggernaut (from Jagannath), signifying a tremendous, virtually unstoppable force or phenomenon.

As of 2004, Tamil Nadu had 515 wooden carts of which 79 need repairs. Annamalaiyar Temple, Tiruvannamalai, Chidambaram Natarajar Temple are some of the temples that possess huge wooden chariots for procession each. In particular, Natarajar temple celebrates the chariot festival twice in a year one at summer (Aani Thirumanjanam (June- July)) and another at winter (Marghazhi Thiruvaadhirai (in December - January )). Lord Krishna of Udupi has five temple cars, namely Brahma ratha (biggest), Madya ratha (medium), kinyo (small), and silver and gold rathas.

Chariot of ChinnaThirupati, Salem

List of Places having Temple cars[edit]

Tiruvarur temple car, the largest temple car in Tamil Nadu
Temple car (decorated), Udupi,Karnataka, India
Srivilliputtur Andal Temple car which was idle 18 years up to 1974 - 2nd largest Temple Car in Tamil Nadu
~ Picture of Tirunelveli Nellaiappar Temple Golden Car taken on Nov 2,2009
~ Picture of Alwarkurichi People pulling Sivasailanathaswamy Temple Car taken on Apr 13,2006
Temple car in Chennai, India.
Construction of a chariot or ratha
Thungapuramஅய்யனார் திருத்தேர் Ayyaņār Tiruttēr
  • Palakkad - Many temples in settlements of Palakkad have temple cars
  • Koduru, Anantapur(Dt) Andhra Pradesh
  • Karnataka-Sri Mahabaleshwara Temple Gokarna
  • Kallal - Somasundareswarer Kovil
  • Kancheepuram - Ekaambaranathar Kovil

List of temples/cities having Golden cars[edit]

  • Sri Kodhanda Ramudu, Koduru, Anantapur(Dt)

See also[edit]

Tiruchembur Tirumurugan Temple, Mumbai