Band vaathiyams on full blast
Kerala style cymbal beats being belted in rhythmic frenzy
Thavil thundering along with nadaswaram as a ghoshti
The earthy thapattai sound matching the other groups beat for beat
Add to this mix synchronized chants of "Kabali..Kabali" by thousands of people who have thronged every possible available inch of space in and around 100 meteres of the temple entrance
The drum beats reaches an increased fervor and amidst camphor fire and theepantham and saambraani induced smoke screen enters the lord in his royal avatar, perched atop his favourite vaahana, silver coated rishabam (bull), with flower decoration from every fragrant variety adorning the kudai and backrest, carried on the shoulders of his blessed devotees, who march slowly yet majestically, swaying to the tunes of the music filled atmosphere.
May be its the atmosphere, may be the crowd crying hoarse chanting the lords name, may be the sheer will power of the devotees carrying the multi tonne heavy pallaku yet managing to sway to the tunes, the very appearance of the lord making an appearance in regal dance, it all adds to the mysticism that is abound the chill night time.
Of all the festivities, barring ofcourse the "Ther" festival, Rishaba vahanam is one event that would match the Ther thiruvizha in majesty, step for step. Both involve unbelievable account of the power of devotion, without which its an impossible task to lift the pallaku or drag the Ther across the four maada veedhis of mylapore. Considering that the event usually starts around 11 PM and goes on throughout the night before the lord comes back to his starting point, it would be amazing to see the crowd waiting to watch the lord in all his glory, dancing his way across the town.
There is a saying that if you don't witness the Rishaba vaahana even once in your lifetime, you would end up being born as a cat in your next birth. Nothing to belittle the feline family, yet, those who've seen the yearly event once, would forsake all their sleep and would eagerly await the next time they can get mesmerized marvelling at the beautiful spectacle.
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