Chennai: The Chithirai festival is celebrated every April in Madurai, a month-long event. As the world faces an unprecedented challenge, and the government rules out public celebrations, News18 Tamil Nadu brings viewers an immersive experience of the Chithirai festival and the famed Meenakshi Temple, at home on television screens. The show originally produced and directed by History TV18 is brought to the Tamil audiences of News18 Network.
Filmed in 2019, the documentary celebrates the legend of Meenakshi Amman, Mother Goddess, queen, and patron deity of the ancient city of Madurai. The film showcases the first two weeks of the grand celebrations in Tamil Nadu’s second-largest city, taking viewers behind the scenes of key events, along with their back-stories and socio-cultural significance.
It presents never-seen-before visuals of the Chithirai festivities, tracing its history, uncovering amazing facts, and delving into fascinating folklore. The narrative also relies on human stories, through characters whose lives are inextricably intertwined with the mother goddess, Her temple, and its most important annual event. The documentary also takes a closer look at the logistics, security, and scale of organizing the massive festival.
The original production, a year in the making, captures the pomp and ceremony of some of the most important days of the Chithirai festival – from ‘pattabhishekham’ the coronation of the goddess, to ‘thirukalyanam’ the divine wedding, and ‘rathotsavam’ the chariot or car festival.
The film also explores the historical and architectural significance of Madurai’s glorious landmark, its origins, expansion, and present form. High-definition and 4K cameras reveal the incredible art and architecture of the many structures spread over the 14-acre complex, along with insights of experts and temple authorities to provide context and perspective. The storytelling, with stunning visuals and slickly-edited sequences, shines the light on South India’s indigenous craftsmanship, engineering, etc. Also featuring prominently is the Kallalaghar festivities that honor Lord Vishnu, with lakhs of people arriving at the Vaigai River in Madurai. The event has socio-political significance and is historically significant, in addition to being a breath-taking spectacle.
News18 Tamil will air the special series on 9th May at7 am to 8 am & 8 pm to 9 pm and on 10th May at 2 pm to 3 pm.