The Red Mountain is spewing fire ! The flame seems to pierce through the sky above! The natives are awestruck by the magnificence of the enormous column of fire ! This must be The Lord ! The Lord whose crown Lord Brahma could not access ! The Lord whose feet Lord Vishnu could never reach! Their heads bow in devotion to the Supreme Lord Of The Red Mountains, Lord Arunaachaleswara -who is none other than Lord Shiva Himself in the form of fire !
The Lord is enshrined in a temple at the foot of Mount Arunaachala. Great saints sing in praise of the Lord. Over a period of time the kings of various succeeding dynasties improve and expand the temple complex.The legend of the Lord of the Red Mountain lives on to this day.
The Red Mountain which spewed fire once upon a time is now a dead volcano . But its sanctity still remains. Tiruvannaamalai where Arunaachala or the Red Mountain lies, is considered to be the seat of concentrated spiritual energy on mother earth.
Every year the festival of lights - Kaartigai deepam -is celebrated in honour of the Deity on the full moon day of Kaartigai month. It occurs between the middle of November and December. Annaamalai Deepam - a gigantic lamp is lit atop the Arunaachala using tons of ghee.
Hundreds of lamps are lit in each and every house on this auspicious occasion. Lord Shiva is worshipped in the form of Jyothi / flame. Sweets like kaartigai pori and appam are offered to the Lord during the pooja.
The vapour arising out of the sesame seed oil lamps helps in clearing out any negative energy from the surrounding energy field. It helps us to keep warm by driving away the chill and the dense fog which are characteristics of the month of Kaartigai.
Puffed rice - 4 glasses ( Rice is made to pop out of Paddy at a high temperature, similar to pop corns. This is called Nel Pori in Tamil and Battada Haralu in Kannada. )
Powdered jaggery - 1 glass
Cardamom powder - 1 pinch
1. Clean the puffed rice / nel pori /battada haralu, remove the husk and keep aside in a bowl.
2. Dissolve jaggery in a glass of warm water and filter.
3. Cook the jaggery water till you get a thick syrup of two thread consistency / hard ball stage, mix in the cardamom powder.
4. Add the thick syrup to the popped rice and mix well.
5. When it cools down break down the lumps evenly.
Some people have the custom of making the pori into urundais / balls. Make them soon after the 4th step. Take a handful of pori coated with jaggery syrup and form balls while still warm.
Offer the Karthigai Pori to the Lord and enjoy the prasaadam with one and all.