Thiruvathirai..Kali ( A tasty delicacy prepared using powdered rice and moong dal )
















Arudhra Darsanam also known as Thiruvathirai



What is arudhra?

Arudra is the name of a star. There are 27 stars that are used by the Hindu calendar. Arudra is one of the stars. Arudra means a Golden Red flame.

Ardra Nakshatram, also known as Arudara or Thiruvathirai in South India, is the sixth Nakshatra among the 27 Nakshatras.  The astrological prediction of Ardra Nakshatra as per Moon Sign is that of Mithuna Raasi or Gemini Zodiac. Mercury or Budha is the Lord of the birth star.

The lucky color of Ardra is green.Arudra Darshan is a Tamil festival and this day is dedicated to Lord Shiva. Arudra Nakshatram, which is also known as Thiruvaathirai Nakshatram, during Maargazhi Masam is considered highly auspicious. On this day Arudra Nakshatra also coincides with Pournami.

On this day Nataraj form of Lord Shiva is worshipped during Arunodaya along with holy chanting from Vedas. Being dedicated to Nataraj form of Lord Shiva this day is also considered as the birthday of Lord Shiva. In rest of the India it is Maha Shivaratri which is considered as the birthday of Lord Shiva.


Arudhra Darshan or Arudara Darshan is observed in the Tamil month of Margazhi (December – January). It is essentially a Shaivite festival and celebrates the cosmic dance of Lord Shiva, which is represented by the Nataraja form.

 The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents five activities – Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. Arudra Darshan celebrates this ecstatic dance of Lord Shiva.

It takes place on the full moon night in the month of Margazhi and this is also the longest night in a year. The festival is mainly observed in the Tamil speaking world.

The most important Arudhra Darshan festival takes place at the Chidambaram Shiva Temple in Tamil Nadu. The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva is enacted on the day. Most of the temples around the world with Lord Nataraja as deity perform the Arudhra Darshan.



The cosmic dance of Lord Shiva represents five activities – Creation, Protection, Destruction, Embodiment and Release. In essence, it represents the continuous cycle of creation and destruction. This cosmic dance takes place in every particle and is the source of all energy. Arudra Darshan celebrates this ecstatic dance of Lord Shiva.


Ardra Darsan is celebrated in Kerala also. In Kerala, in the malayalam month of Dhanu the Brahmins & Nair women celebrate Thiruvathira, a kerala dance form in one of the houses in each locality. They all gather in the night for the Thiruvathira and they will dance and sing Thiruvathira songs. They celebrate it for 10 days and the last day is Ardra Darshan or Thiruvathira day. That day women will avoid rice and full night they will not sleep. The married women keep fast for husband's well being and unmarried for a good marriage. Ardra darsan is in early morning and temples are decorated with flowers and diyas.



Significance of Arudra Darisenam


It is believed that Lord Nataraja, the dancing form  of Lord Shiva was born on the day of Arudra Nakshatra. Therefore sighting of the Arudra star is known as Arudra Darshanam. Arudra Darsha is like the Mahashivaratri for few people.

The month of Margazhai is the twilight time for the Gods and the best time for the Gods to rest and rejuvenate their powers.


Significance of the Dance of Lord Nataraja


Lord Nataraja whose dance is a representation of the movement in all the particles. This movement in particles is the basis for the very existence of the universe. This movement is the source of all the energy and hence the cause for the universe to exist.

The dance of Lord Nataraja represents the five vital activities namely “ Creation, Protection, Destruction, Release and Embodiment”.

Lord Nataraja is known as Sabesan, the Lord who dances on the dias. The posture of the idol of Lord Nataraja is with his left leg lifted and suppressing the demon of ego under his right feet. The right hand  of Lord Nataraja is in the posture of  Abhaya Hasta or the hand of protection to his devotees. This form of the Lord Nataraja is known as the one who performs a still dance.

It is believed that the power of Lord Shiva is at the nearest to the people of Earth on the Arudra Darshan day  and hence devotees would throng the temple of Lord Nataraja on Arudra Darshan day.The night on which the Arudra Nakshatra or star is sighted has the longest night in the whole year. From the next day onwards, the day starts to get bigger thereby making the nights smaller.

Arudra Darshan day is the significant for the Sadhak for the enlightenment of his mind.

who is worshipped during Arudra Darisenam




Benefits of Arudra Darisenam


Devotees on Arudra Darshanam would visit the temple of Lord Shiva and seek the blessings of Lord Nataraja. This would help them to overcome the difficulties in their lives.


On the Tiruvadirai day in margazhi , Lord Natraja comes out in procession to give darshan to his devotees.In Sanskrit ‘Arthirai’ is called ‘Ardhra’ and the Thiruvathirai anointing ceremony is called Ardhra Abisheka and the Thiruvathirai viewing as Ardhra Darshan. It is held as a great achievement to view the Nataraja's procession in Chidambaram.

In Chidambaram abhishekam for the Lord on tiruvadhirai day in Margazhi will be performed in a grand manner and the devotees will be given KALI as prasadham.Obtaining the prasadam , is attainment of bliss through the Lord.


Story behind why Kali is given as Prasadham :

A devotee named Sendanar had the habit of eating food after offering it to Lord and then distribute among other devotees . He would partake only the leftover food.t.On the day of Thiruvadirai, due to constant  bad weather he couldn't get any essential items for preparing a  proper meal and offering to God.He had no other option but to mix water with rice flour and prepare a mashed paste. Lord Shiva understood his predicament. He wanted the people to know how sincere his devotee was to him. He disguised himself as a Shiva devotee and enjoyed what was given to him as food. And as he stood for a while in the Nataraja Sanctorum,The Lord Showered the Kali all over the premises , in recognition of his deep devotion. Since that  day  of this  miracle  Kali is  offered as prasadam to the Lord  in the temple. .


Legend Behind Arudhra darisanam :

Once when Mahaa Vishnu was lying down on the great Serpent Adhi sesha, Adhi sesha felt Mahaa Vishnu was quite heavy that time. He asked Mahaa Vishnu what was the reason. Mahaa Vishnu said that he was remembering and enjoying the Dance of Lord Shiva. The answer developed the desire in Adhi seesha to see the Great Dance of Lord Shiva. He asked Mahaa Vishnu how his desire could be fulfilled. Mahaa Vishnu asked him to go to Chithamparam and do "tapas". Adhi seesha came to Chithamparam and prayed the Lord for a long time.

There was another muni and devotee of Lord Shiva in that place, called Viyaagra paadha. He prayed to God to get the paws of tiger, so that he can pluck flowers early in the morning to offer to the God, before any bee touches the flower. He was also praying God to see His Great Dance for a long time.Pleased with their prayer the God appeared on the Thiruvaadhirai day and danced in Chithamparam. The Nataraaja image of the Lord is prayed with great devotion this day. In Chithamparam and other temples it is celebrated as Arudraa dharshanam. In this festival abhisheeka (holy anointing) of Lord Nataraaja takes place early in the morning and then He comes around the town.

Famous Shiva shrines :
Next to Chidamabaram , the Shiva shrines at Perur, Kuttralam and Madurai are famous for this festival.

Rituals on Arudra Darisenam


Devotees would get up early in the morning before sunrise and take a head bath. Perform their worship and visit the temple of Lord Shiva before sunrise. The devotee would lit a lamp using ghee. A fast is observed for the whole day. Food is taken on the next day after feeding the Brahmins.

Rituals in the temples on Arudra Darisenam

On the day of Arudra Darshanam a special Abhishekam is done to the Lord Nataraja along with his consort Sivakama Sundari. Followed by a special Archana to the Lord Nataraja. Devotees would throng the temples to have the glimpse of Lord Nataraja on the day of Arudra Darshan.

A fire ritual will also be performed in the temples to please Lord Shiva.

Famous temples where Arudhra Darisenam is celebrated

Almost all the temples of Lord Shiva would celebrate the Arudra Darshanam. Out of all the temples the temple in Chidambaram. Chidambaram is considered as one of the five places that represent the Pancha Maha Bhootalu ( Fire, Air, Water, Land and Sky). Chidambaram is the place that represents the Sky or Aaksam.


Significance of the Dance of Lord Nataraja


Lord Nataraja whose dance is a representation of the movement in all the particles. This movement in particles is the basis for the very existence of the universe. This movement is the source of all the energy and hence the cause for the universe to exist.

The dance of Lord Nataraja represents the five vital activities namely “ Creation, Protection, Destruction, Release and Embodiment”.

Lord Nataraja is known as Sabesan, the Lord who dances on the dias. The posture of the idol of Lord Nataraja is with his left leg lifted and suppressing the demon of ego under his right feet. The right hand  of Lord Nataraja is in the posture of  Abhaya Hasta or the hand of protection to his devotees. This form of the Lord Nataraja is known as the one who performs a still dance.

It is believed that the power of Lord Shiva is at the nearest to the people of Earth on the Arudra Darshan day  and hence devotees would throng the temple of Lord Nataraja on Arudra Darshan day.The night on which the Arudra Nakshatra or star is sighted has the longest night in the whole year. From the next day onwards, the day starts to get bigger thereby making the nights smaller.

Arudra Darshan day is the significant for the Sadhak for the enlightenment of his mind.

who is worshipped during Arudra Darisenam

On the day of Arudra Darshan, Lord Shiva in the form of Lord Nataraja is worshipped. Nataraja means the King of the dance. Nataraja is the known as the God of the dance. The dance of Nataraja represents the motion in the different particles that make up the universe.
source...wiki, astro ved, Hindu blog 

Recipies of Arudra Darisenam


A sweet called Kali is prepared on the day of Arudra Darshanam.

A dish called Kootu is also prepared on Arudra Darshanam day.

Recipe for kali

Raw  Rice
1 Cup
Powdered  Jaggery
1 1/2 Cup
Water
3 1/2  Cups
Moong dal ( Paasi parup)
1/4 cup
Cardamom powder
1/2 tsp








Freshly Grated Coconut
3 tbsp
Cashewnuts broken and some raisins if you wish.
8
Melted Ghee
2-3  tablespoon
Salt
A pinch


Method:


First rinse the rice, drain well and dry roast the rice on a small flame till it gets a golden colour taking care not to burn .This will take a bit of patience and slow roast.



When it attains a golden colour as shown and the rice appears puffed and crunchy, time to remove from flame and keep aside.



Now roast the moong dal also in a similar way , till it attains a light golden tinge and becomes aromatic.




Time to remove from flame when the dal appears to have browned and aromatic, keep aside.



When the rice and dal have cooled down, powder them together in the mixie till it resembles coarse grains like rava/sooji texture.




While you are roasting the rice and moong dal, you can keep the jaggery syrup ready by immersing jaggery in sufficient water to melt. When heated, the jaggery melts, strain it to get a clear liquid and free from dirt.

Add 3 cups of water to the jaggery and keep in a wide pan preferably a non stick one as we have to prepare the kali without forming sticky lumps.





Meanwhile keep the cashewnuts and raisins toasted in ghee for a few minutes till golden and raisins swell.





Add the 3 1/2 cups of jaggery water to boil , add the pinch of cardamom and let boil as we do for upma, then add the powdered rice moong dal mixture and give a stir and turn the gas flame to medium or low and cover and cook.







You will notice the mixture leaving the sides and the texture looking more like upma and grains cooked well. Add the grated coconut for garnish and some melted ghee for enriching the taste and aroma.






Kali is now ready to  be served warm. Usually on this festival day, Kali is served with the Ezhu kari kootu , which is a thick gravy prepared using 7 types of native vegetables available during the winter month.

The kootu can be prepared using minimum 5 vegetables also, the recipe follows after this post.






Typically Kali is offered as neivediyam /prashad and served with kootu. Some regions of Tamilnadu prepare the kuzhambu using  7 or 5 vegetables and serve it with kali.