Chithirai festival of this temple celebrated for ten days is one of the declared festivals of Tamilnadu Government. This festival day is declared as Local Holiday. In chithirai, Lord Kallalagar starts from Alagar kovil in the form of Kallar and reaches Madurai on Pournami (Full Moon day). Here he steps into river Vaigai in his Horse Vaganam. Lakhs of devotees flock to river Vaigai to see this event. “Ethir Sevai” festival is celebrated on the day before Alagar steps into river Vaigai. It is a tradition for the people of Madurai to welcome Alagar.
As Alagar returns from Vandiyur Dhasavatharam festival is celebrated throughout the night at Ramarayar Mandapam in the Northern part of river Vaigai. After this event Alagar is taken to Mysore Veera Mandapam on decorated Anantharayar Palanquin. The next morning Alagar in the form of Kallar returns to Alagar kovil in ‘Poo Pallakku'(Palanquin decorated with flowers)
In the month of April and may, each year the great Chitra festival is celebrated on Pournami (full moon day). The Festival dramatically re enacts the visitation of Lord Kallalagar to Madurai from Alagarkoil . Lakhs of devotees flock to river Vaigai to personally witness the event of lord Alagar stepping down into the river and to get his blessings.
During the months of July and August the festival of Aadi Brahmmorchavam is being celebrated for 10 days. This festival occurs within the precincts of the shrine. Devotees from different parts of Tamilnadu throng to participate in this festival. The temple car ‘Amaiththa Narayanan’ is taken in procession during Pournami (Full-Moon day) of Aadi (Brahmotchavam).
|1||Chithirai||Chithirai grand festival|
|4||Aadi||Aadi grand festivall|
|5||Aavani||Thiru Pouthira festival|
|7||Iyppasi||Thailakkappu (Sri Perumal visiting Noopura Gangai)|
|8||Karthigai||Karthigai Deepa festival|
|9||Margazhi||Thiruvadhyayana festival (Pagal Patthu Rappatthu festival)|
|11||Masi||Gajendra Motcham festival, Float festival|
Unique Pilgrim Center
The Azhvars have sung in praise of the stories of Lord Vishnu who gives ‘Darshan’ in 108 temples. Divya Prabandham’. Though there are more than 108 temples, only those temple which have been glorified in the songs of Azhvars are referred to as Divya Desams’. Moolavar of this temple is seen carrying five different weapons. Among them chakara is in launched position.
Why this festival is celebrated
Amongst the many festivals that are conducted here, the Chitra festival is the most important one. During this festival, the processional idol of Alagar is taken to Madurai, halting at various places on the way. This festival attracts thousands of pilgrims and visitors from South India as well as from other parts of the country.A legend is popular how Alagar, the brother of Meenakshi was unable to attend her marriage in time and how he turned back from the banks of the Vaigai river. It is surprising what a strong visible influence this picturesque belief has been left in the environs of Madurai.