Festivals

      Besides the monthly Krittikais which attract a large number of devotees to this shrine, the two outstanding annual festivals are the Aadi Krittikai and the 31st of December New Year Step Festival. The float festival is celebrated in the month of Aadi, Bhramotsavam in the month of Maasi, during which Valli Kalyanam is celebrated on the 8th day, and the Skanda Sashti is celebrated in the Tamil month of Aippasi.

Aadi Krittikai :

      Aadi Krittikai festival (in July-August) lasts for three days with Float Festival when lakhs and lakhs of devotees come to this holy place from far and near. The streets are thronged to the full. About one lakh and fifty thousand flower kavadis (which increase with each year) are offered to the deity. The sight of the devotees who carry them, uttering the sacred and inspiring "Haro Hara!" (Hallelujah) as they march and dance in long rows touches the very core of our hearts and makes us spellbound. One should see it to believe it.

December 31st Step Festival :

      When the old (Gregorian) year is rung out and the New Year sets in (ie at the stroke of midnight on December 31st each year), lakhs of devotees are present on the sacred Tanikai hill to have the darshan of their Lord. They come to Tiruttani to offer their heart-felt prayers to our Lord on that day and night to be blessed with peace and plenty during the New Year.

      This festival came into vogue during the British Raj when the famous Vallimalai Swamigal persuaded his followers to offer their homage first to Lord Tanigesan, the giver of all good, and only then to their official bosses. On this day, numerous bhajana parties gather and ascend the hill, singing the melodious Tiruppugazh songs and burning camphor on each of the hill's 365 steps, one for each day of the New Year.

      The entire atmosphere is filled with the music of these devotional songs, which is a feast to the eyes and ears. The sight of the Vel Kavadi taken to the shrine by some devotees on this day with the thin, sharp ends pricked and pierced all over the body above the hip (in spite of which they carry it with ease and grace) inspires and elevates our thoughts to adore our Lord for His mighty, marvellous and miraculous powers.