Rain soaked Sooranpoar | Sunday Observer

Rain soaked Sooranpoar

Defying the downpour, a carnival atmosphere prevailed in the rain soaked, Soorasamhaaram (Sooran- Lord Murugan's battle), at the Kathiresan Kovil, Bambalapitiya, last week.

The thick clouds coming down hard, heavy and hammering within moments in to the event failed to thwart the thronging devotees, braving unusual weather to witness Lord Skandha taking on Sooran. The fantasy battle marked the end of a six-day Kanthashashti (An observance for Lord Murugan).

Crowds appeared to be soaked and synced, a blessing in disguise. With the rain lashing down from above, Lord Murugan, hammered his opponent in the three-round battle to the cheers and jeers of the gathering.

Sooran coated in blood red, tied to thick logs, borne by youth , predominantly from the area, comes decked and decorated in three forms, to try and deceive his opponent.

In the other corner, is the almighty Lord Murugan, not falling prey but inching towards conquering the fight. He too, rests well, on the sturdy shoulders of youthful men.

It begins to unfold with the antagonist coming for the kill. Akin to a fighter jet roaming around the target area before landing destruction, so does Sooran, circling his opposition. Murugan stands calm, cool, collected and unmoved.

When it’s time to start action and counterattack, the first attempt with an elephant face is already to no avail and only the attacker is succumbing to it.

The task of handling the antagonist, looks a tough task with plenty of twisting and turning. The job of bearing Sooran’s statue requires facile mobility.

In the second attempt, now wearing a lion face, he comes dancing with the youthful boys to do the job.

A job which includes screaming and yelling at the on-lookers to announce their arrival so that they will make way.

Villain Sooran, uses all the tricks in the book to avoid Lord Skandha’s eyes. But, he is called ‘Almighty’ and ‘above all’ for a reason and he smoothly conquers all tricks to trap him.

Sooran’s final fall occurs, when covered with a bunch of mango branches he comes to give a crack for the third and the final time. He meets his waterloo, at the hands of the hero, Murugan, to the delight of devotees. Fireworks enhanced the celebration. Sooran paid the price for arrogance, torture and harassment of the devas.

When he is finally defeated, Sooran splits in to two as a peacock and a cock.

The elated gathering let out a loud cheer. Hailing their hero, Murugan. Their applause filled the air along with the rousing beat of drums and the Nathaswaram.

History

'Soorasamhaaram', a battle between the two, marks the final day of the six-day long Kanthashashti (Lord Murugan’s observance). On this day, Murugan is believed to have killed a devil named ‘Sooran’ who had tortured and harassed the devas, in battle. As the torture turned unbearably agonizing for the devas Lord Shiva created Lord Murugan, as the saviour for this menace.

Today, the event marking the end of the observance, is being held at various shrines here at home and overseas. The pick of the local celebrations are at Kathiresan Kovil, Bambalapitiya and the popular and powerful Nallur Kandhaswamy Kovil, Jaffna.

Of all the six Murugan shrines, in India, Thiruchendur, located along the coastal belt, is where the most-popular Soorasamhaaram takes place. (Pix: Chaminda Niroshana)

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