In Pictures: Colourful ‘Vel’ Festival for Lord Murugan in Colombo

by Dushiyanthini Kanagasabapathipillai

Aadi”- The month of Festivals. The annual Aadi Vel festival of Arulmigu Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy temple was held on July 30 th 2007. The temple is decorated with fresh banana trees with bunches of bananas, “Thoranam” (young coconut leaves are woven together) and sugar cane leaves. All the statues at the temple are specially and beautifully decorated with fresh flowers, and silk for the festival.

“Aadi Vel” (Festival of Trident) celebrations began on July 28th 2007 at the temple with the “Poorna Aguthi” (Vedic fire to dissolve the negativity). ‘Adi Vel” is held annually in honour of Lord Murugan-God of War. Vel cart started its journey while the temple bell began to toll and devotees chanted “Vettivel (Victorious Vel), Veeravel (Courageous Vel), and Arokara amidst tight security set up in the city.

Brass statues of Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy along with Sri Valli and Theivaanai were polished and beautifully decorated with lotus, jasmine, vaada mallikai, ponnochchi, sevvanthi, rose and nanthiyaavattai flowers .These three statues were taken on procession on a wooden carved cart which was dragged by a tractor.

The cart procession started in the morning, and ended in the night on the same day. The procession went on Ginthupity Street, Vivekananda Hill, Wolfendhal Street, Gabos Lane, St. John’s Street, Main Street, 5th Cross Street , Norris Road, 4th Cross Street, Keyzer Street, Lotus Road, Sea Street, Sri Kathiresan Street, Aandivaal Street , and Brass Founder’s Street. It stopped on the way to bless the devotees. A special Police protection was given to the procession and devotees.

Raja Kopuram (Main Tower) of Jeyanthi Nagar Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy Temple in Ginthupitty

God Ganesh in front of the Kodi Thambam (where the flag is tied during the annual festival of the temple) is decorated with fresh flowers and Golden border Vetti

God Sri Sivasubramaniya Swamy, and Goddesses Valli Ammai and Thivaiyanai are decorated with fresh flowers and silk for the festival

The main priest of the temple Sri Sivanesa Kurukkal (Palani Kurukkal) sings Carnatic musical notes which creates an enviornment for the festivity

Panchcharaththi is being offered at the Vasantha Mandapam

Statues in the Moolasthaanam (main shrine of the temple) are decorated

An elephant leads the Vel procession

Devotional songs dedicated to God Sivasubramaniya Swamy are being played by the musicians

Aadi Vel festival had been celebrated in Colombo since 1840s according to the historians

Devotees began to arrive at the temple since dawn

Drums are beaten throughout the procession

Goddess Parvathi has presented the Vel (Trident) to her youngest son Lord Murugan as her power and energy according to Hindu Mythology. Vel symbolises victory

Shop keepers in vicinity are seen busy selling camphor,garlands,incense sticks and coconuts

Beautifully deacorated Vel cart paraded through the streets of Colombo

The main priest of the temple Sri Sivanesa Kurukkal (Palani Kurukkal) accompanied the statues on procession

Camphor is lit on coconuts which are waiting to be smashed

Coconuts are continuously smashed by the devotees

The atmosphere of the festival was felt all over the city

Kids perfom Kavadi dance

The elephant blesses the devotees

Karakattam dancers adding colour to the festival

Colourful cart stopped on streets to bless the devotees

Festival-goers share the blessings

Peanut seller at the festival site

Poojas continued in the cart while on procession

Heaps of coconuts are waiting to be smashed

“I am blessed to drive the tractor for the Hindu Gods” said Amal

Devotees gathered to celebrate the Vel festival amidst the climate of fear

Aadi Vel festival was suspended by the temple authorities for eight years after 1983 riots in Colombo

Aadi Vel festival has ended with the cart carrying the statues around the city

Source: humanityashore

Contact: Dushi.Pillai@gmail.com

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