Showing posts with label Kataragama. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Kataragama. Show all posts

Hinduism - What Is The Kavadi?


During some festivals connected to the deity Murugan, a devotee (bhakta) wears a bamboo yoke capped with semicircular splints of bamboo on his shoulders.

Flowers, photos, ribbons, and other decorations are often used to decorate a kavadi.

Murugan is invited to descend and rest upon a kavadi by a devotee holding a kavadi, imparting his blessing via divine possession.

Carrying a kavadi is often done to fulfill a pledge made while requesting Murugan for a favor, such as healing or deliverance from various forms of suffering.

This may be a physically demanding rite: Kavadis may weigh up to a hundred pounds when fully laden.

Metal hooks implanted into the skin of the bearers' backs and chests are sometimes used to fasten the kavadis.

Carrying the kavadi is considered a form of devotion and may be observed in places where Murugan's worship is widespread, such as southern India, Sri Lanka's Kataragama, Malaysia, and South Africa. 

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Hinduism - Where Is The Kataragama Tirtha?

Sacred shrine (tirtha) devoted to the deity Skanda in his southern Indian avatar as Murugan, situated in the extreme southeastern portion of Sri Lanka.

The location is famous for being outside of India's mainland and for being a significant Hindu and Buddhist pilgrimage destination.

According to legend, the site was founded when Skanda went hunting in the Sri Lankan forests, fell in love with a native lady called Valli, and pledged to stay in her house forever.

Skanda, the Hindu pantheon's mighty deity, is the son of the god Shiva.

His friendship with Valli demonstrates his openness and devotion to his devo shirts (bhakta).

The yearly Kataragama pilgrimage, which takes place in July–August, serves as a stage for demonstrating these qualities: Many individuals come to seek medical cure or release from suffering, while others come to fulfill promises made in exchange for advantages previously gained.

Carrying the kavadi, a yoke kept in place by hooks piercing the skin; piercing the mouth or cheeks with small arrows, one of Skanda's emblems; or hanging from hooks inserted in the back and thighs are all examples of severe self-mortification.

These devout followers are said to be rewarded for their suffering with a state of euphoria in which they are free of pain and bleeding.

Devotees are also said to be mouthpieces for the deity Skanda when in this state of ecstasy.

Other pilgrims seek them guidance on every possible situation, believing that Skanda will provide them with the best appropriate solution.

For further detail, read Paul Wirz's Kataragama: Ceylon's Holiest Place, published in 1966, and Bryan Pfaffenberger's "The Kataragama Pilgrimage," published in Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 28, No. 2, 1979. 

You may also want to read more about Hinduism here.

Be sure to check out my writings on religion here.