Sitthandi Murugan Temple
|Siddhāndi Citra Vêlāyudha Swāmi utsavar |
Cittānti Murukan Temple is one of the newly added Tiruppatai Kōvil in the Eastern region which, like any other temple in the Eastern Province, was initially patronised by the Veddas. However according to another myth, the temple is said to be founded by an ānti (itinerant ascetic) and the temple Cittānti takes its name after one memorable ānti who was recognized to be a cittar (Skt: siddha), hence the place came to be called cittar-ānti.
The temple has a prominent kōpuram, while on either side of the main temple are two shrine rooms for Valli and Teyvayānai, consorts of Murukan. There is also a temple for Kumaratan in the outer courtyard. In the sanctum sanctorum, Vêl is the object of worship.
Worship at Cittānti Murukan Temple is a blend of agamic and traditional worship patterns. The annual festival lasts for fifteen days. From the fourth day onwards, special pujas are conducted in the Valli shrine and the deities are taken in procession around the inner and outer courtyards. It is worth noting that the curtain in front of Teyvayānai remains drawn and all pûja is performed in front of the curtain.
Mayil Kattu Tiruvilā is a special event, where there is cultural approval by parents and relatives for love marriages. In the evening of the water-cutting ceremony, some of the devotees holding ālavatam visit the house of the Vannakar and return with Srîvarisai, an intimation of Valli's marriage to Murukan. Kumaratan Catanku is celebrated for six days following the main festival, when there is heavy festivity and fortune-telling or kattu collal. Another important event, is the Putir Kāvi Kotutal, when every farmer carries in procession a portion of the harvest as offering to the deity.
This temple is rich in its large extent of paddy lands offered to the temple by past kings and rich landlords. Today's youth however are dissatisfied with the administration. Recently during the annual festival there was a clash between a lower rank caste group (barber) and the administration. The affected group, unable to do anything, ran away when the youths threw stones at the procession and the devotees are very unhappy about it. (Pûmiputiran, 1998).
Kataragama Pada Yatra foot pilgrims at Siddhandi, June 2000