Chithirai Festival or Chithirai Thiruvizha is an annual celebration celebrated in the city of Madurai during the month of April. It is celebrated during the Tamil month of Chithirai. It lasts for one month of which the first 15 days mark the celebrations of the coronation of Goddess Meenakshi and the Marriage of Lord Sundareswara and Goddess Meenakshi, and the next 15 days mark the celebrations of the Journey of Lord Alagar from Kallazagar Koyil in Alagar Koyil to Madurai.
People in and around Madurai tell this story as the history of Chithirai Thiruvizha and the wedding of Meenakshi with Sundaraswarar (Lord Shiva) was to happen in Madurai. Alagar, the brother of Meenakshi, was invited. He started on a 20 km journey from his abode at Alagar Hills towards Madurai. Alagar decided to travel disguised as a robber, to protect himself and his belongings.
At times, he had to hide, to avoid getting arrested by soldiers. This and the dense forest of Alagar Hills delayed his journey further. When he was crossing Vaigai river, he learned that his sister's wedding was over. This made him furious. To pacify, Meenakshi and Lord Shiva came to Vaigai river. He chose to give all the gifts that he carried, to Meenakshi and Sundaraswarar in a Mandapam in the middle of Vaigai river, and returned to Alagar Hill without entering Madurai.
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