Friday, November 19, 2010

Karthik Purnima ~ Kartika Poornima

Source adapted from Various Internet Resource & the Images are from Google.

Kartik Purnima or Kartika Poornima, also known as Tripuri Poornima or Tripurari Punrima, is the Full Moon and auspicious day in Kartik month. Kartik Purnima 2010 date is November 21.During Kartik Purnima, Dev Diwali, Deepotsavam and Ganga Mahotsav are observed. In Andhra Pradesh and some parts of Karnataka, ‘Shiva Linga Mahajala Abhishekam’ is observed on the day. Bhakteshwara Vratam is also performed on Kartika Pournami in some places of Andhra Pradesh.

Karthik Poornima Festival 

 The whole month of Kartik is considered sacred however it is the last day that is celebrated as Kartika Purnima as it coincides with a full moon.  Kartika Purnima celebrates the power of Lord Shiva.  It is believed that Lord Shiva killed the demon Tripusara on this day and therefore Shiva Temples are crowded with devotees to celebrate the event. Kartika Purnima also coincides with the Jain light festival. Kartika (October / November) is considered to be the holiest month of the Hindu calendar. Kartika Purnima is the last day of the Hindu month of Kartik and coincides with the full moon day. It follows the last 5 days of celebrations which are collectively called Panchaka. The day of Kartika Purnima also heralds the festival of Dev Diwali.

Hindus, Sikhs and Muslims all consider the day of Kartik Purnima to be auspicious. Sikhs offer special prayers to honour the founder of their religion, Guru Nanak. Muslims pay homage to the departed souls and pray for the well being of their near and dear ones.

It is believed that annually on the day of Kartik purnima, the gods descend on earth and reside in the sacred rivers. Ganges and other sacred rivers have elaborate ceremonies on this day. Devotees who bathe in the sacred rivers on these days can also get rid of their negative poisons and receive the blessings from all the Gods of the India.

When Lord Ganesh was designated as Pratham Pujya (the first diety to be worshiped) His younger brother Kartikeaya questioned his role as it would then be for the rest of creation.It was determined then ,that a month in the year will be dedicated to Kartikeaya and this month will be called Kartik. All worship done in this month will contribute to the spiritual upliftment of the individual concerned.

 Kartik month is very significant for Hindus. It is considered as the holiest month of the year. In that the day of poornima has special significance and is considered as the most important day of the month. Thus it is celebrated with the spirit of Diwali. Several festivities are observed on this day: Guru Nanaka Jayanti, Tulsi vivah, Jain light festival, Ganga mahotsava and Dev deepavali.

Kartik Purnima Legends / History   

Kartik purnima has several legends connected to it. This day is also called as Tripurari purnima as this was the day when demon Tripurasura was killed by Lord Shiva. Demon Tripurasura gained great powers by Lord Brahma and started harassing everyone around. Seeing this havoc all demigods approached Lord Shiva and prayed for protected. Lord Shiva being very compassionate went to Tripurasura and fought for several years. Finally Lord Shiva was successful in killing the demon on the day of Kartik purnima.

Legend of Tripuri
Tripuri, a demon, did severe penance for many years in the sacred city of Prayag. Pleased with his dedication Lord Brahma granted him a boon. Tripuri asked that no God, human being, nishachav (evil spirit), women or disease should be able to kill him. Lord Brahma accepted his wish and Tripuri got the power to ruler over the three cities (puri) of Gold (heaven), Silver (earth) and Iron ( **** ). But as Tripuri became powerful he started tormenting his subjects and harassing the Gods. The Gods requested Lord Shiva to help them. Lord Shiva burnt all the three puri’s or cities and killed Tripuri. Therefore Kartika Purnima is also called Tripuri Purnima when all the Gods and people on earth express their joy by illuminating their homes.

Legend of Tarakasur or Taraka
Tarakasur was a demon who had three demon sons- Tarakah, Kamalaksh and Vidyutmali. Mayasur was the renowned architect of the demons who constructed three regions and gave one to each of Tarakasur’s sons. He advised them not to cross the paths of Gods or disrespect them.

All three of them performed severe penance which pleased Lord Brahma who granted them a boon that they would live for a thousand years in three invincible moving cities called Tripuri and could be destroyed by only one arrow that would merge the three cities into one and set them on fire.  The cities were made of gold, silver and iron. The three brothers started harassing the Gods. Also the three moving cities never stayed in one place long enough to be destroyed together.

The Gods then approached Lord Shiva requesting him to destroy the cities. He seeked the help of other Gods and his army of Ganas. He danced the “Tandava”, the dance of destruction, that rocked the three cities. He shot an arrow piercing through the three cities at one time and the fire from his third eye burnt the three cities.

The killing of the three demons spread happiness around the world. This form of Shiva is called “Tripuraari or Tripurantaka”.
 Another legend says that on this day Lord Vishnu incarnated as Matsya avatar to protect Manu, the first man of human kind, from Maha pralay or deluge. Thus devotees of Vishnu take this as a special day to worship Lord Vishnu.

Traditions And Celebrations

During the last five days of Kartika Purnima, also known as “Panchaka”, women take a purification bath each morning and draw beautiful flower designs in their homes. Fasting is commonly observed on these days. Shiva temples are visited on these days.

Devotees also try to bathe in the sacred rivers including River Ganges to get rid of their negativity and receive blessings from the Gods. This ritual follows the belief that on this day the Gods descend on earth and reside in the sacred rivers.

In Kashi Vishwanath temple at Varanasi, Rameshwaram temple, Arunachaleshwara temple at Thiruvannamalai, Manjunatha temple at Dharmasthala, Srisailam Mallikarjuna swamy temple, Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara swamy temple, Keesaragutta Ramalingeshwara swamy temple and Kaleshwaram Shiva temple and all other famous Shiva temples, Kartika Pournami is observed with much gusto.

During Kartik Purnima, Pushkar Mela, the largest cattle fair in the world, is organized in Pushkar town in Rajasthan. Kapal Mochan Mela is another biggest mela celebrated during Kartik Purnima. In Andhra Pradesh, Anantagiri Jathara is celebrated during Kartik Purnima at Ananthagiri Anantha Padmanabha Swamy temple
Pushkar, in Rajasthan is visited all year around by devotees for a dip in its holy lake. But it is believed that bathing in the lakes during Kartika Purnima relieves devotees of all their sins and frees them from the bonds of Samsara.

In the city of Cuttack, Orissa and a few some other towns, huge images of "Kartikeswar" are built and worshipped during Kartika Purnima. At night they are taken out in procession and are immersed in the Mahanadi River, near a Shiva temple.

Festival Fun 

 Food / Recipes
During the month associated with Kartika Purnima, Hindus refrain from eating any non - vegetarian food. Naivedyam, or flattened rice and coconut scrapings,many sweet dishes is offered to the gods and then served as prasad to the devotees. During the five days food is consumed only once in the afternoon and is called as “Habisha”

 Music / Dance
Kirtans or chanting prayers and hymns in groups and the loud beating of instruments like Mrudanga and cymbals continues throughout the day.

Kartik Purnima Celebrations
This day is celebrated with great enthusiasm and devotion. Many Hindus observe fast on this day and make a point to take a holy dip in the sacred rivers. It is celebrated in a special manner in Thiruvannamalai. Lord Shiva asks Lord Brahma and Lord Vishnu to find out the exact location of his head and his feet. Since Lord Shiva takes a gigantic form, they are not able to find out anywhere. Then Lord Shiva takes the form of a jyothi (light of fire) on the hill of Thiruvannamali. Therefore, this festival is also known as Annamalai Deepam. Here, a special torch is lighted on the zenith of the hill and it is believed that Lord Shiva's jothi will be visible on this day.

Lord Muruga took the form of six babies in a lake called "Saravana Poigai". On this day, all his six forms were united by Parvathi(his mother) and this way, he had six faces. Special poojas are performed to Lord Muruga. 

Tulsi devi is worshiped with great reverence. Watering, planting and worshipping Tulsi devi has special significance. Some even perform the sacred ritual of Tulsi vivah on this day. As this day is also celebrated as Dev deepavali or Choti diwali, diyas are lit in the night. Chanting of Holy names of Lord Vishnu is considered very auspicious on this day. Special dishes are made on this day which people share with friends. The moonlit night of Kartik purnima makes the day unforgettable for everyone.

In some houses, they double the number of lamps every day from the day of Deepavali and this way, they end up with a number of lamps on the day of Kaarthigai Deepam.

On this day, people clean the houses. In the evening, they draw kolams (rangoli) in the front of the house and also place some lamps on it. The lamps are placed in the pooja and lighted. Then the Deeparathana is done in which the lamps are moved to different places in the house. The lamps glow all over the streets on this day.The lamps are arranged near the doors and windows and also in the balconies. In this way, people of South celebrate Kaarthika Deepam for three days.


Kartika Purnima also celebrates the coming of Vishnu Matsya or the fish incarnation in order to save Manu, the first man from the primeval flood which destroyed the universe. Manu saved all species of animals, birds and insects so that they could flourish and grow.

 To celebrate this day we can also cleanse our inner selves. To bathe our mind in the spiritual waters even if we do not live near sacred rivers. Allow the spiritual light to burn away all the questionable traits within. It is not the show of cleaning the outer selves but to rid of our mind and life of its wrong qualities like fear, greed, envy, anger, arrogance and wrong desires and replacing those with forces of love, compassion, generosity, kindness, and light.

During this time, we should take light meals, baths at sea,rivers or ponds and devote ourselves to prayer. These are the reasons why we eat Satwic (healthy non-meat) light food, and bathe in water that flows naturally for healthy growth and spiritual grace.

                   Happy Karthik Purnima Wishes to all of My Readers ,Family Members ,Friends !!!


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