Category: Holidays » Hindu holidays
Agni Nakshatram is one of the chief festivals dedicated to Lord Murugan and is celebrated with immense zeal and fervour in the state of Tamil Nadu. It is observed for a period of 14 days starting from the 4th of May till the 29th of May. Agni Nakshatram is perhaps the only festival observed by Hindus during the hottest month of May. The 14-day celebrations of Agni Nakshatram are marked by the celestial movement of the Sun through the star named Krittika.
Also the period of Agni Nakshtram is also defined by the movement of Sun through the 3rd-4th quarter of Bharani Nakshatra and 1st quarter of Rohini Star. This Hindu festival derived its name from this star that is, in Tamil language also known as ‘Agni Nakshtram’. The festivities of Agni Nakshtram is observed with full grandeur on Lord Murugan temples in Tiruttani, Palani, Palamuthirsolai, Swamimalai and Tiruchendur to name a few.
Agni Nakshatram is celebrated mainly in the temples of Lord Murugan, especially in Palani, Tamil Nadu. Thousands of Hindu devotees flock to this place during this period. They worship Lord Murugan devotedly to be blessed with His divine blessings. During the period of Agni Nakshtram, devotees perform the ‘Pradakshina’ of the Giri Valam, the holy hill. The Pradakshina is performed during the morning as well as evening. It is a popular belief that the aroma of the medicinal herbs growing on the Giri Valam, offers good health and peace of mind.
Also while taking the Pradakshina; female devotees adorn the Kadamba flowers found there as this flower is considered to be the most liked flower of Lord Murugan. During the Agni Nakshatram period, in the Palani temple ‘Abhishekam’ of Lord Murugan is performed daily with water. This water is then collected and known as ‘Theertha’. On the final day of Agni Nakshatram, the Theertha distributed amongst all the devotees. Furthermore spilling of this water in temples and wells is believed to be very auspicious. Some of the devotees even carry this Theertha water to their homes.
The festival of Agni Nakshtram holds great religious significance for staunch devotees of Lord Murugan. According to the Hindu mythology, Lord Murugan is the son of Goddess Parvati and Lord Shiva. He is known as the warrior God. Lord Murugan is referred by different names as ‘Skanda’, ‘Kartikeya’ and ‘Subrahmaniam’. During the Agni Nakshatram period Lord Murugan is prayed with dedication for prosperity and well-being. However in some places, many people consider that the period of Agni Nakshatram is considered inauspicious.
People avoid performing any auspicious events, taking journeys or even borrowing and lending of money. This is so owing to the fact that even in the ancient times, people avoided doing any auspicious events during the Agni Nakshatram period due to extreme heat that prevails during this time.
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