New Zealand Thirumurugan Temple is located at 145, Church Street, Otahuhu in Auckland. Established over twenty years ago, this temple has been serving the public from its current location for nearly ten years.
One of the main festivals on the temple’s calendar is the colourful festival of Navarathiri. This takes place during the months of Sept – Oct each year. The 2023 festival was just concluded. “Nava ” means nine, and “rathiri” means nights. Essentially it’s a festival over nine nights. The nights are dedicated for three Goddesses three nights each. First three to Goddess Durga (signifies protection, strength, motherhood, destruction, and wars), Goddess Laxmi (signifies wellness and prosperity) and Goddess Saraswathi (signifies knowledge, wisdom and creativity). During each night the Goddesses were dressed up very glamourously and special poojas were held. Also children who learn music and dance showcased their talents and offered thanks to the Goddesses with their gurus (teachers) and parents by their side.
One of the highlights of these days is the display of “kolu”- a multi-level stage with a lot of God’s forms and other decorative ornaments. In addition to the temple, each home celebrating Navarathiri pooja will have their own kolus set up.
The tenth day is also a special day. It’s referred to as Vijayathasami or even referred to as Ayutha Pooja. During this special day, parents brought the toddlers and started off their learning by drawing the initial alphabets under the tutelage of the esteemed priests in front of the temple’s Gods. At homes, children would present their musical instruments, study books, even sports equipment in front of the deities and seek their blessings, and adults their tools and other important equipment and other things that provide the basis of their livelihoods.
Delicious “prasadhams” (food varieties) were made by the devotees, offered to the Gods and then consumed with the family, friends and other community devotees.
All in all – this is a very happy festival that catered and touched all ages of the community and devotees.