OM GURUBYO NAMA:

THE CELESTIAL WEDDING ( THIRUKALYANAM-SERTHI UTSAVAM ) OF
 SRI ANDAL TO LORD RANGANATHA AT SRIRANGAM. - THE HISTORICAL BACKGROUND :

After the fulfillment of her mission on the earth, Sri Andal merged and became one with Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam. Thereafter in the fond memory of this event ,the wedding of Sri Andal to Lord Ranganatha was celebrated every year. The Muslim invasion put an end to this gaiety. The celebrations have returned one after the other except Sri Andal's wedding. Now is the opportune time for the revival of this prime utsavam.

To rediscover -to observe, obsorb and appreciate the joy that would bring this celebration to one and all, we must enter the stream of history at the point / juncture where and when Sri Andal enters Srirangam (for the union) and there upon allow ourselves to be swept along till we reemerge fully enlightened.

The time is a predawn night (usha; kala; ) about 1500 years ago (about 5100 years ago according to the pandits) and the place is the South of Srirangam on the northern bank of the Cauvery.

The visibility is limited to the light reflected by the moon and the stars shining on a clear sky ; the darkness is on the wane.

The Cauvery flows majestically close to the Thirukuralapan sannidhi (the Adayavalachan came later and the Raja Gopuram only recently). A huge crowd has gathered there and awaits the arrival of Sri Andal. The main temple priests with pride and piety shining about them stand surrounded by hundereds of Brahmins. Their foreheads and bodies bear the Urdhva Pundrams (namam). These groups fill over flow in and around the Thirukuralapan sannidhi,its terraces and prakaras and the sandhya mandapam. There also stands the then Chola chieftain surrounded by the royalty, ministers, heads of departments like the treasury, granary, panchavariams and the chiefs and their assistants of the different wings of the armies. The general public in thousands cover the stand, the ford and even the river bed. The torches are kept in the lamp-posts and also held by the servants and the crowd,positioned at the Thirukuralapan sannidhi, its enclosures, the river bank the parapet,stairs descending towards the river and the river bed-their light reflecting from the surface of the water in the river presents an amaging scene of myriad topaz fixed to Navaratri kolu-stands to those standing in Woraiyur- the opposite bank of Cauvery. Towards the north and a little away from the main crowd the groups of devotees are singing the Alwars'pasurams piously.

The crowd stands restlessly. Suddenly there appear on the other bank of the Cauvery (woraiyur) hundreds of torches and moments later (due to the difference in speed between the light and the sound) great commotion is also heard.

The crowd at Srirangam comes to life. Hundreds of voices are heared shouting, They have arrived ! Andal has arrived!! And the Alwar too !!!

The torches-those who hold the torches get down and cross the river. The temple priests, the brahmins, the king with his paraphernalia and the public move to the water front to welcome Sri Andal.

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