Circumstances having so arranged themselves that Kapali and Karpagam made me move to Mylai in 2019, I was naturally one of the disappointed people when He who is Father, Mother and much else did not conduct His festival for two years. But then, with Covid thankfully in abeyance for the nonce, this year the festival is happening, with all the traditional verve and gusto.

This morning was Adhikara Nandi sevai. I was late and reached Mada Veedi only at 11.00 am but Kapali was obviously slow today and He had reached only the corner of South Mada Street and RK Mutt Road. I hurried there and found I had something new to learn. As always, Kapali keeps some secrets up His sleeve. Arriving at the intersection I found these two deities awaiting the arrival of Kapali.

Poompavai and Sambandar (Don’t miss the stick to pluck flowers and the basket hanging from her arm)

I have never seen these before and when I asked the priest he merely smiled and said it had been the practice for years and years. This pair is Gnanasambandar and Angampoompavai he said and today is the enactment of the former receiving mulai pal or breast milk from the Goddess. Sadly I could not wait for the full event to get over and so came away after having Darshan. But I loved the little touch of Poompavai carrying a stick to pluck flowers and a basket to store them in.

Nartana Ganapati was in a hurry as usual but I managed to catch a glimpse of Him before he hurried off –

Nartana Ganapathi, Mylapore Kapaliswarar Temple

Kapali made a grand entry (you can see a video of it here

But then, He is just grand. I had tears in my eyes.

Kapaliswarar Adhikara Nandi Sevai, 2022

They then lowered the umbrellas, preparatory to Kapali appearing with Nartana Ganapati, Karpagam, Singaravelar and Chandikeswarar before Gnanasambandar and I got a better view of Him –

Kapaliswarar on Adhikara Nandi

Of course mine are all ground shots. I wish I was the little angel that showers flowers on Kapali – I can then fly up to Him! At one point a sharp breeze moved Piriyavidai Amman’s sari a little and I caught sight of Her exquisite foot. That was blessing enough.

Karpagambal on Gandharva Stri, Adhikara Nandi Sevai, Kapaliswarar Temple 2022

I loved the checks that Karpagam was wearing today. And, don’t miss the new anklets!

Singaravelar on Gandharva, Adhikara Nandi Sevai. Kapaliswarar Temple, 2022

Singaravelar came next on the Gandharva and then we had Chandikeswarar

Chandikeswarar, Adhikara Nandi Sevai, Kapaliswarar Temple, 2022

I think the same silver rishabham which takes Kapali around on Pradosham days is used for carrying Chandikeswarar during the Panguni Uthiram festival. How else can I explain the presence of Patanjali and Vyagharapada on either side? This is rather surprising for the Kapaliswarar Temple is one of those stately establishments where you have special icons and vahanams for each event and festival. No sharing usually. Of course, I may be wrong.

Overall it was a great morning.

My book on Chennai is out and can be purchased from leading bookstores, Amazon and also from this site here