Panguni Uthiram is a festival that celebrates the celestial marriages of Gods and Goddesses and bestows marital bliss upon devotees who take the vow on the day. It falls on the Full Moon day when the Uthira Palguni nakshatra coincides with the Full Moon in the month of Panguni (March-April).
Panguni Uthiram falls on April 9. Sunday, 2017.
Many celestial marriages are said to have taken place on Panguni Uthiram. It is the day when Lord Shiva married Goddess Parvathi, Lord Muruga married Devi Deivanai (as per Kanda Puranam), Andal married Sri Rengamannar, Rama married Sita (as per Valmiki’s Ramayana) and Narayana married Komalavalli Nachiar and rendered kalyana kola sevai to his devotees. SinceGoddess Parvathi married Lord Shiva in Kancheepuram on this day, Panguni Uthiram is known as Gowri Kalyanam also.
It is also the birthday of Lord Ayyappa and the incarnation day of Goddess Mahalakshmi who incarnated from the Ocean of Milk during the process of churning the ocean for Amrita as done by Asuras and Devas. Due to this, Panguni Uthiram is known as Mahalakshmi Jayanti also.
As per Shrimad Bhagavatam, on the day of Panguni Uthiram, every holy water merges with Thumburu Tirtha, one among the seven holy tanks in Tirupati Tirumala.
Devotees of Muruga deem this day as special and pay their prayers to him on this day. Kavadi, milk pot (pal kudam) and padha yatra are the special features of the Panguni Uthiram festival. Devotees take kavadi, palkudam and go on foot to the temples of Muruga to fulfil their vows. They complete their vow on Panguni Uthiram. There are special poojas to Lord Muruga on this day in all temples where Muruga is the predominant deity.
In temples where Lord Shiva is the God of worship, there are celebrations like Kalyana Utsavam and the devotees witness the marriage of Shiva and Parvathi on the day.
Since the day celebrates various marriages of celestial couples, those who fast and pray on the day will be blessed with marital happiness and get rid of any blocks like dhoshas and negative influences (like jealousy and evil eyes) that impede their marital success. Those who are afflicted by Mars in their astrological chart should pray on this day to seek a marital life that is bereft of sorrow and impediments. Longlife, happiness, peace and prosperity are assured to the married couple who pray to the divine couples on this day. Women whose husbands are ailing for a long time can seek relief for their husbands’ long-term ailment through prayers on this day.
Since the day is in celebration of divine marriages, there are kalyana utsavams celebrated in Muruga and Shiva temples. In Srirangam, Ranganathar and Mahalakshmi are seen together in the shrine of Mahalakshmi and special poojas are conducted there with the recital of Gadya Trayam done by Ramanujar. In Kancheepuram Varadharaja Perumal temple, this festival lasts for seven days and ends with the marriage of Malayala Nachiar or Serakula Nachiar to God. During this time Hastigiri Mahatmyam (the Sthala Purana of this temple) is read in the 100 pillared mandapa in the temple in front of the deity.
In Vadapazhani Murugan temple and Dhandayuthapani temple in Pazhani, special poojas are conducted. The car festival in Pazhani is very famous on this day. Perur near Coimbatore and Kallazhagar temple in Madurai are other noted temples for the celebration of Panguni Uthiram. In Madurai Meenakshi temple this festival is celebrated as Kodai Vasantha Thiruvizha.
In Kapaleshwarar temple, the famous Arupathumoovar festival is celebrated with pomp and festivity. The idol of Lord Kapaleshwarar moving forward with the idols of 63 Nayanmars moving backward on the eighth day of Panguni Uthiram festival is a rare scene to be seen. Deities of other temples like Vairamudi Swami, Mundakaani Amman, Kolavizhi and Thiruvalluvar Vasuki also take part in the festival. Thaneer pandal during the festival is organized to quench the thirst of the devotees who participate in the festival.
In all the temples, the idols of God and Goddess are taken to the kalyana mandapam and their marriages are solemnized as a grand utsavam.
In the northern regions of India, the occasion is celebrated as Vasanth Utsav, Basant Panchami (AP), Ganga Mela (UP), ManjalKuli (Kerala) and Dol Purnima (Bengal).
Panguni Uthiram fasting blesses one with prosperity, happiness, and removal of obstacles in life. people take bath in the morning, pay homage to the deities through poojas, fast throughout the day rigorously or by taking fruits and water, visit temples in the evening and break their fast after that. Taking this vow for 48 years continuously is said to relieve one of the cycle of birth and death.
Panguni Uthiram is a grand festival celebrating celestial marriages and praying on the day will definitely bring lots of benefits to the devotees.