As the Meenakshi temple is gearing up for the consecration,I had an opportunity to witness the rituals aligned to the grand event ,which falls on April /8/2009.
The consecration takes place every twelve years.The renovation consists of repairing the concrete structures, panting the gopurams, and cleaning the floors and pillars.
The base of the Gods and Goddesses have to be treated with a holy mixture of eight or ashta marunthus derived from herbs . This medication will bind the statues to the base and provide a medicated treatment to the age old edifices. It rejuvenates the sculptures and adds to the divine charm .
A couple of days back , I went to the temple, particularly to see the ritual , A batch from Nemam Koil , near Thiruppathur, had come to Madurai . They have been trained to prepare the medicinal balls.A committee consisting of the local Nagarathars , a community which has spent a fortune in renovation of temples and still relishes in involving itself in the spiritual endeavour. Twenty persons were performing the task. A group of five were sorting out the extracts, and another group was pounding the herbal format in a wooden base ,specially brought from Nemam. The pounding was so hard and so scrupulously mixed . Soon it got metamorphosed into a red ball, taking the form a Clay. They had an appearance of wax, elastic in shape .It has a strain of viscosity in its properties , which provide the bondage. They are more or less akin to the modern adhesive.
The preparation were collected in a big brass vessel .It was taken to every sannadhi. The required amount were taken and evenly applied to the base of the idols, The fervour and the interest of the committee ,the dedication of the workers amazed me.The work was carried out for a week . Donors undertook the serving of meals to the workers and the members.
Everything was done in perfect harmony. The event was a disciplined ,meticulous arrangement devoid of fanfare and ostentation.It was a worthy effort .It was a beautiful experience and a very interesting sojourn.