Today is Maasi magam. The nakshatra Magha falls on a full moon day in the Tamil month of Maasi. Many temples celebrate this festival, especially those close to the ocean. The deities of both Shaivite and Vaishnavite temple are taken in procession to the sea shore. The deities are often bathed in the sea water, and throngs of devotees follow suite. The combination of high tide, and jubilant crowds only adds to the festive atmosphere.
Sri Devanathaperumal with Sri Hemabjavalli Thayaar
In Thiruvahindrapuram, a divya desam near Cuddalore, Sri Devanathaperumal travels to the sea side with His consort. Sri Mahalakshmi in this place is known as Hemabjavalli Thayaar, and She appeared as the daughter of Brighu maharishi. When She was young, Her father would take Her to the ocean where She would chase after the waves with delight. Hence, She is also called “Taranga Mukha Nandini” or “One who enjoys seeing the waves of the ocean break.” After Her marriage to Sri Devanathaperumal, the Lord accompanies His consort to the sea shore, and takes pleasure in Her delight at seeing the waves in high tide. Swamy Desikan also accompanies the Lord and His consort (Swamy Desikan lived at this divyadesam for many years, imparting special significance to this divyadesam). The temple doors at this divya desam remain closed all day until the deities return from Their excursion.
Sri Parthasarathy Perumal
In Chennai, Lord Parthasarathy journeys to the ocean on Garudan. Throngs of devotees gather to witness Sri Parthasarathy’s Garuda sevai along the sea shore. Basking in the sun’s rays, the Lord’s divine form apears effulgent. With the unusual backdrop of the ocean, the Lord floats along on His carrier…