THANJAVUR: Special ablutions (abishekam) to Peruvudayar, Periyanayagi, the presiding deities of the 11th century Big Temple here, marked the 1,038th Sathaya Vizha of Raja Raja Chola I on Wednesday. Sathaya Vizha is celebrated on the day of ‘Sathayam’ the birth star of the king in the month of Aippasi. Deepak Jacob, Thanjavur collector, garlanded the statue of Raja Raja Chola outside the temple followed by Dharmapuram mutt pontiff Masilamani Desiga Swamigal, festival committee president D Selvam, Palace Devasthanam hereditary trustee Babaji Raja Bhonsale, Mayor S Ramanathan and Deputy Mayor Anjugam Boopathy.
The garlanding was preceded by a ceremonial procession where the original manuscripts of ‘Thirumuraigal’, the compendium of songs on Lord Shiva which were said to have been unearthed by Raja Raja Chola, were taken from the Big Temple and carried atop an elephant with artists playing music in the front. A group of 108 Odhuvars, including 38 women, from across the state rendered hymns from the Thirumuraigal for the length of the procession.
Following the procession and garlanding of the statue, special abhishekams (ablutions) were performed to the 13-feet-high Shivalingam (Peruvudayar) with 48 substances including milk, tender coconut water, and juice of various citrus fruits.
In the evening, bronze idols of Peruvudayar, Periyanayagi, Raja Raja Chola and his consort Logamadevi were taken out in procession and were followed by a rendition of Devaram, Natyanjali, a Nagaswaram recital and Pattimandapam programme in the temple campus. Professor A Dakshinamurthy, physician Dr M Selvaraj and retired Joint Director of Agriculture V Palaniappan were conferred with the “Mamannan Raja Rajan Award” during the meeting.
Meanwhile, representatives and office bearers of as many as 107 organisations, including political parties and caste outfits, garlanded Raja Raja Chola’s statue located outside the temple. Heavy police force was deployed near the statue. Traffic diversions were put in place to keep vehicles away from the road passing before the temple entrance.