Thiruvadirai Kali – Arudhra Darshan Festival with Kali
Thiruvathirai Kali (Rice Pudding) is South Indian sweet dish made on the festival of Thiruvadirai.
Thiruvadhirai or Arudhra Darshan festival on the full moon day of Margazhi(Tamil calender month, between Dec 15- Jan 15) is auspicious to Lord Nataraja, the dancing Shiva. Arudhra is the largest of the stars. It is two-and-a-half crore times bigger than the sun. There will be 10 days of festival in Chidambaram (Tamil Nadu, South India) during this month which involves a grand scheme of traditional observances commencing with the hoisting of the temple flag on the first day, followed by colorful processions of the five deities (Pancha Murthys) on the first eight days on various mounts. The fifth day features Mount Kailasam, while the sixth day features the elephant mount. It is only on the ninth day when Arudhra star and new moon coincide, we celebrate the ecstatic dance of Lord Nataraja and Nataraja leaves his sanctum, and is taken in a procession through the car streets, in the grand temple car. Streams of devotees flow to Chidambaram to attend this festival at the temple. Lord Shiva is believed to have given darshan to saint Manickavasakar on this day on the completion of his recital of Thiruvampavai. In Perur of Melai Chidambaram, Lord Shiva is believed to have given darshan to Kamadhenu (the divine cow of plenty) on this day. From mid night to early morning, there will be offerings to God in the form of Maha Abishekam(they pour oil, milk, honey, coconut-water, curd, sandal wood water on the statue of Lord Shiva) which will be performed at Thousand Pillar Hall. There will be a car festival(Rathayatra) where five separate temple cars bearing the idols of Lord Nataraja, Goddess Sivakamasundari, Lord Ganesha, Lord Subramania and Chandigeswara are taken out in a procession.
I am lucky to be from Chidambaram. I have never missed to go to the Nataraja temple on Arudhra Darshan. The whole town will be filled with fun and fair. I used to go around the temple streets with my friends and relatives and pull the car with the long and big rope tied to it. There will be this drums, music and dance all around and it’s so much fun. We also eat all the chit chats such as chili bajji, cotton candy that were sold on the way. We will be awake all night to watch the Abishekam and I really miss all the fun this year.
On this day, we prepare and offer Kali(a sweet made from rice, dal, jaggery and nuts) and Thalagam(mixed vegetable curry) to Lord Nataraja. I would like to share the recipe for Kali with you which I have made for this occasion.
- Raw Rice – 200 g
- Toor dal – 25 g
- Jaggery – 225 g (Rice-dal and jaggery, ratio 1:1)
- Coconut – 3 tbsp
- Water – 560 ml (Water and rice dal, ratio 1:2.5)
- Ghee – 3 tbsp
- Cardamon – 2
- Broken Cashew nut – 2 tbsp
Method of Preparation:
- Dry roast rice till it becomes golden brown.
- Remove from pan and let it cool and grind it to a coarse powder just like rawa/sooji.
- Boil water and add toor dal and cook till it is 3/4th cooked.
- In between, boil water and add jaggery. Allow it to melt in water completely and filter it to get rid of dirts.
- Boil the filtered jaggery water in the same pan and let it come to a boil.
- Add coconut and let it cook for a minute.
- Now add the ground rice and cooked toor dal to it and combine well.
- Transfer the contents to a rice cooker vessel and pressure cook for 3 to 4 whistles or until cooked.
- Heat 2 tbsp of ghee in a small pan and fry cashew nuts till golden brown.
- Add it to kali and serve hot.