Kovil kudai (கோவில் குடை) is a ceremonial umbrella or parasol and is one of the ‘aacharas’ or service offered to the deity in certain Hindu temples. It is made of a particular type of silk cloth. The colour of the umbrella for the Perumal temple is different from that of other temples. Ceremonial parasol making is an ancient art confined to certain Saurashtrian families in Chindathiripet.
The above scene is from the Manavala Maamunigal utsavam at The Parthasarathy Temple, Triplicane. The procession had 18 umbrellas representing the 18 works of the Saint-Scholar.
The annual procession of Tirupathi Kodai is also famous in Chennai. Every year, devotees from Chennai send 11 ceremonial umbrellas to Tirupati Sri Balaji. These are taken in a procession with a lot of devotion around areas in Chennai and Andhra before presenting to the temple at Tirupathi. These ‘ Thirupathi Kudais’ are treated with great reverence by devotees along the whole route.
Thiruvallikkeni or Triplicane is one of the ancient localities of the city of Madras (that is, Chennai). Among other things, it is well known for the Sree Parthasarathy Temple, the streets surrounding that and the festivals associated with it.
These street portraits were taken during the Temple thiruther when the deity is taken around the area in a chariot.
During the Thiruvallikkeni Sree Parthasarathy Temple ‘ther’ festival I observed that rough granular salt was poured in front of the wheels. Is this a religious ritual or is there any scientific reason for this?