This year, Thai Poosam was celebrated in a grand manner on January 23, 2016, The previous day, the Utsava Murthis of Lord Murugan along with those of Goddesses Valli and Devasena were nicely decorated and were placed on a decorated center stage in front of Lord Mahaganapathi’s Shrine. Fifty kalasams for, and along with twenty-five Kavadis, and another 108 kalasams for Palkudams [milk vessels] were placed around the deities.
Shilpis Shanumaganathan, Dandapani and Ilango made a decorative structure in front of Lord Murugan’s sannathi [sanctum sanctorum] with Lord Murugan’s picture on the top. The structure was decorated with flowers.
On Thai Poosam day, Food Committee volunteers came around 7 AM and started preparing the meals for the devotees. Religious volunteers along with Temple Priests Jeyantheeswaran Bhattar and Anil Kumar Sharma prepared the temple to receive the devotees, especially those who would bear kavadis and palkudams in procession.
After Ganesa Pujai by Priest Jeyantheeswaran Bhattar, Priest Anil Kumar Sharma tied red thread on the hands of devotees registered for carrying kavadi and palkudam.
Religious volunteers filled the palkudam kalasam with holy incense, covered with betel leaves and placed a whole coconut over it. Other religious volunteers helped the devotees to fill the kalasams with milk, place coconut over it, covered with yellow cloth and tied it around the kalasams so that it could be carried over the devotees’ heads.
Priest Jeyantheeswaran Bhattar helped the devotees to fill the kalasams for kavadis with vibuthi and panjamirtham [made by devotees at the temple exclusively for this purpose and for abihshekam], and blessed them to carry the kavadis.
With chanting of, “Muruganukku arohara! Kanthanukku arohara! Velvel Muruga, Vetrivel Muruga!” the devotees went on procession with Kavadis leading, followed by palkudams and the rest of the devotees.
The procession was photographed and video-taped with an unmanned drone by temple photographer. Devotees with kavadis formed circles at each corner of the temple and danced around shouting chants of Lord Muruga. The entire are reverberated with theirchants.
All the kalasams were placed on a dais in front of Lord Murugan’s sannathi. With chanting of Rudram, chamakam and sukthams, turmeric water, honey, panjamirtham, orange juice, panner [rose water], milk, vibuthi, sandal paste abhishekams were performed for moola vigrahas of Lord Murugan, Valli and Devasena.
After the abihshekam, the deities were decorated with silver kavachams, flower garlands imported from India for this occasion and other jewelry, while the devotees sang Kantha Sashti Kavacham in Tamil.
Harathi was followed by Veda chanting and Thevaram recital, Maha harthi was performed for the deities.
All the devotees were offered maha prasadam consisting of abihiseka vibuthi, fruits, kumkum. At the Annalakshmi Hall [where Lord Mahaganapati was temporarily housed for a few years], all the devotees were served with sumptuous food along with abhisheka panjamirtham.
The divine vibration of Lord Murugan filled the temple and the surroundings and the devotees felt very blessed to have such an Agamic temple in metropolitan Phoenix area.
They are eagerly awaiting February 14 when Rajagopuram brick laying ceremony would start with Gaja [elephant] pujai and Go [cow] pujai, where the devotees would carry silver kudams and brass kudams with holy water around the temple, and the Gajaraja [elephant] will lay the first brick for Rajagopuram.