India’s social fabric is richly woven with scores of culturally significant festivals. These festivals are a true manifestation of the country’s dynamic nature and reputation as a melting pot of customs and folklore. The history and roots of each festival is unique, making them starkly different from each other in terms of celebration and purpose. Some are born of legends and folktales while others of real-life legends and heroes within communities. Regardless of its history, nearly every festival in India is filled with pomp and color. One such festival is celebrated in the Southern Indian state of Tamil Nadu– Soorasamharam.
About the Festival
Soorasamharam is the ultimate day of the Skanda Sashti fasting period, which is dedicated to the worship of Lord Murugan, known to Tamilians as the ‘Ever Merciful’. The festival, which is also called Sooranporu, bookends six days of continuous festivities. Crowds throng to the Tiruchendur Temple on the day to participate in the celebrations. It’s a historically relevant festival that has been mentioned in the Skanda Purana, the largest of the eighteen Hindu religious texts that are collectively called the Mahapurana.
While the exact dates of the festivities change every year, Soorasamharam is usually observed during mid-November in temples across the state, including the Tiruchendur Temple. According to the Tamil lunar calendar, the fasting takes place during the ‘Karthika’ month. During this period, the town of Tiruchendur is packed with devotees and conveniences are deployed to ensure incident-free celebrations. Since thousands flock to the town from neighboring states, common bus routes include Bangalore To Tiruchendur and Chennai to Tiruchendur.
How it is Celebrated
In the run-up to Soorasamharam, those who observe the ‘Skanda Sashti fast’ eat a single meal in a day. The fast ends on Thirukalyanam, the day after Soorasamharam. Celebratory rituals are carried out all day in temples dedicated to Lord Murugan across the state.
However, the Tiruchendur Temple (also known as the Thiruchendur Murugan temple) is often touted as the center of festivities. This is because it hosts a much-awaited re-enactment of the battle between Lord Murugan and a demon, Surapadma, and the consequent victory of Lord Murugan. Thousands of devotees, from within the state and those neighboring, come to witness this majestic performance.
The History of the Festival
The essence of Soorasamharam is in heralding the triumph of good over evil. Legend has it that Lord Murugan defeated a demon, Surapadma, with his divine scepter (the ‘Vel’). The demon was responsible for capturing the Earth and was said to have caused chaos while spreading evil.
In response, Lord Murugan, the son of Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati, stepped forward as the leader of the gods. A fierce battle ensued between the two sides over six days and, on the seventh, Surapadma was slain. This victory went on to be called the Soorasamharam which lent its name to the ensuing festival.
The day after Soorasamharam is called Thirukalyanam. According to legend, this is the day that the Lord Murugan was wed to Devasena. Often, the Soorasamharam celebrations spread over to this day too.
How to Get There
Depending on where you’re traveling from within the country, you can easily find bus routes to take you to the Tiruchendur Temple in time for the Soorasamharam celebrations. The state government plies special buses in time for Soorasamharam to facilitate the movement of thousands of travelers. redBus’ handy filters allow you to choose your departure point and destination to pick the ideal route for your trip. The numerous perks offered makes the experience that much more seamless– on-time services and secure online bookings.
Booking tickets on the go and at the last moment is simple and easy through the redBus mobile app. The app is ideal for when you need to book a seat to travel within the next couple of hours. Whether you are getting on the bus towards Tiruchendur Temple or returning home after the Soorasamharam celebrations, the Boarding Point Navigation feature pinpoints exactly where the starting point is, so you’re not left running about in circles.
More than seven buses ply along major routes till Tiruchendur Temple on any given day. There are a plethora of service providers to choose from– just apply a filter during your search. With redBus, travelers can choose from a variety of bus types, including A/C Sleeper, Non-A/C Sleeper, A/C Seater and complete Non-A/C buses. Certain buses have added benefits such as charging points, water bottles, reclining seats, clean blankets and more.
Depending on when you plan to depart in time for your visit to the Tiruchendur Temple, you could opt for buses that travel through the night or leave in the morning. Just as the bus types vary, so does the duration of travel– it all depends on what your starting point is.
Traveling with redBus to Tiruchendur Murugan Temple and Soorasamharam means prioritizing the comfort and safety of yourself and your loved ones while on travel. The ‘Track My Bus’ feature allows passengers and their loved ones to track the bus’s live location. Not only is this a guarantor of safety, but it is also a way to plan your trip in advance if you’re getting onto the bus at a stop other than the starting point. 10,000 buses are synced to the live tracking option– that’s almost 60,000 routes in total!
Where to Stay
If you’re planning to go to Tiruchendur Temple for the Soorasamharam festival, there are plenty of accommodation options to choose from. Budget isn’t a constraint– from luxury to budget and everything in between, you can pick a hotel based on your needs and purse strings. Family-friendly and business accommodation options are also available during Soorasamharam.
It’s always advised to book in advance as hotels tend to fill up the closer you get to the Soorasamharam festival date. However, you’ll always get the best deals on bus tickets when you go through redBus, so you’ll have enough left of your budget to enjoy a memorable stay at a great hotel.
Soorasamharam is a great time to visit Tiruchendur Temple and experience the fervor of Indian festivals. Plan your journey with redBus to have a hassle-free travel experience!
NOTE: In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we at redBus would like to urge you to take all necessary precautions when you travel and follow every instruction provided by your local government. If you're not planning on traveling, practice social distancing and stay indoors to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease and prevent it from spreading any further. Stay safe!