THANJAVUR, INDIA, April 22, 2015 (The Hindu): The new chariot of Sri Brihadeeswarar Temple here rolled out on its trial run gleaming under the early morning sun. The Big Temple finally got its chariot, the first in over a century as hundreds of eager townsmen, hailing the Lord, came together to draw the chariot. For all the people of Thanjavur, young and the elderly, it was their first glimpse of the Big Temple chariot run ritual as the temple never had experienced that chance in the last nearly 100 years. The new chariot, radiating the pleasant smell of fresh paint, commenced its journey on the four main thoroughfares preparing for its maiden run on April 29.
Earlier, Sivacharya priests performed special poojas and conducted rituals on the simhasanam, representing the Lord, and held over that a flashy umbrella as a mark of respect before waving the green flag as a sign to start pulling the chariot. Immediately, hundreds of devotees gathered for the occasion, reverentially picked up the huge ropes of the chariot and tugged at the car that wobbled and then instantly stabilized to give a perfect start. The giant wheels of the wooden car crushed sacred ash gourds, as a mark of tradition to ward off evil, at the starting mark and commenced their run.