SRI LANKA, August 1, 2019 (Facebook): Arumugaswamy, the six-faced Lord Murugan, paraded in a glorious, newly built chariot at the Maviddapuram Kandaswamy Kovil in northern Sri Lanka on July 30, 2019. Thousands of devotees gathered on the Chariot Festival day, or Ther Thiruvizha as it is known in Tamil, after twenty-nine years. The festival saw pilgrims flock to Maviddapuram from all over the island and even from continents away, to get the blessings of Lord Skanda, destroyer of evil. The annual high festival of the temple, which lasts for twenty-five days, commences on the fifth day, after the new moon of the Hindu month of Aani (June 15 to July 15), with the Chariot Festival on the twenty fourth day.
Those lucky enough to witness the inaugural parade of the chariot, with its brilliant construction, stood in awe of its commanding forty-five feet of grandeur. The base, a perimeter of nuanced carvings, represents the Gods and Goddesses in Skandapuranam, the holy scripture of God Skanda, while the midsection of the chariot pays homage to the Peedam. In the heart of the chariot sits Arumugaswamy, surrounded by meticulously painted wooden pillars. The roof of the chariot is covered with colourful, bright fabric on top of which sits the gleaming silver Kalasam. On the day of the Chariot Festival, Hindu Gods, Ganapathy, Sivan, Muthukumaraswamy, Arumugaswamy and Sandiheswarar parade in their five respective chariots. The last time all five chariots came together was in July 1990.