FAIRS AND FESTIVAlS THANJAVUR
Some of the temple fairs and festivals that take place in Thanjavur district are Mahamagam Festival (once in 12 years), Thyagaraja Aradhana Musical festival in Thiruvaiyaru every January, Birthday of king Raja Raja Cholan every March and April, and a festival of dance and music held in the Pragatheeswarar temple every 2nd and 4th Saturdays of a month.
Festivals in the Big Temple
Festivals are celebrated in the temples as a get-together of the public and also involving in various activities of the temple.
The main important festival is the annual Brahmosttavam in the month of Chittrai (April-May); the festival starts with hoisting of sacred flag with Nandi; the images of Lord Shiva and his consort devi are taken in procession; the saiva saints jnanasambadhar, Appar, Sundarar and Manickavacagar also taken;
On the 9th day eight festive flags are hoisted; Sri Tyagaraja as representing the presiding deity of the temple is taken around the temple in procession;
A dance drama known as kuravanchi-nataka was enacted in recent times.
People from nearby villages visit Thanjavur temple at the time of procession of the deity in Rishaba vahanam and Chatur-mukha-chapparam;
On the thirteenth day the temple car festival is celebrated with Sri Tyagaraja
On the fifteenth day Rani Bai Sahiba's Uttara Rishabha vahanam is taken in procession there is a story behind this is said that to please Rani Bai Saheba, the queen of Thanjavur who had fallen asleep and missed to see the Rishbha vahanam sevai on that day asked to perform the festive procession of the deity at Rishabhavahanam in another day, hence it is named as Uttara Rishabhavahanam on the last day.
Originally this Brahmotsavam festival was instituted by the great Rajaraja in the month of Vaikasi (June-July)
The other important festival celebrated in this is kalayana utsavam or marriage ceremony for the divine couple,
Gupta Navaratri, also referred as Ashadha or Gayatri or Shaakambhari Navaratri, dedicated ot the nine forms of Shakti (Mother Goddess) ad celebrated for nine days in the month of Ashadha (June-July). It is observed during the Ashadha Shukla Paksha (waxing phase of moon).
Adiperukku is celebrated in the month of Adi (July-August). It is also called as Adi pathinettu or eighteenth day of the month of Adi (Tamil month).
Sundara's birthday is celebrated in the month of Adi on the occasion of his birth star Swathi.
Sharad Navarari is celebrated during sharad (beinning of winter, September-October). This is the most important of the Navaratris. It is simply called as Maha Navaratri (the Great Navaratri) and is celebrated in the 'pratipada' (first day) of the bright fortnight of the lunar month of Ashvina.
The founder's day fo the temple is celebrated in the month of lyppasi (October-November) on his natal star Sathayam.(the inscription mention the monthly celebrations of the founder's natal asterism Sathayam).
The lord Brihadisvara is fully covered with rice, vegetables and fruits worshipped during the full moon day of lypassi month.
In the month of karthigai (November-December) every Monday the god is bathed with the holy water brought in 1008 conches.
The Tiruvadirai festival of ten days in December culminating in Arudra Darsanam is the another periodical festivals celebrated in this temple.
In the month of Thai makarasankaranti or Pongal festival is very important celebration.
Siva ratri or Mahasiva ratri is observed on the 14th day of the dark fortnight of Phalguna, it means the night of Siva, the ceremonies take place chiefly at night.
Apart from these above-mentioned festivals, the other periodical festivals of the Saivite temple are also celebrated in a great manner in this temple.