Kanda Shasti Vratam is observed once a year in the month of ‘Aippasi’ (October–November) starting from the ‘piratamai’ the 1st phase of the brightening moon.
Of all Kanda temples it is the one in Tirunchendur in Tamil Nadu, India that draws the largest number of Kanda devotees. All roads, at the time of the Vratam, seem to lead to Tirunchendur. Beside the temple by the sea there appears to be a sea of heads. The Kantan's Tiruvilaiyaadal (divine sport) Soora Samharam is enacted during the sixth day of the festival. This is a drama to grant a great boon to Curapatman by Kantan. Curapatman is given the honour of becoming Kantan's vehicle mayil vahanam (peacock vehicle) and ceval kodi (the rooster on Kantan’s flag).
During the six days of Kanda Shasti, devotees, usually fast. They fast in many different forms: some devotees take only one meal a day and that single meal is the evening meal; to some that single meal consist of fruit and milk; others forego all solid foods, even abstain from taking medication take only a liquid diet; some even forego the liquid diet. Of the above forms taking milk would defeat the purpose of clearing long stored fat. Not taking any liquids could be harmful, as many unwanted matters tend to remain in the body. The ideal form of fast would be that during all six days and nights to abstain from all solid food and even medicine but take water, coconut water, strained orange juice and or such permissible liquids. These liquids help to flush out unwanted substances and to clean the body.
At the end of the six-day fast the body is indeed cleaner than it was before. The mind is cleansed by the pilgrimage, meditation, worship and other devotional activities. A pure mind in a pure body is a sublime combination and conducive to realizing the Divine. This is the reward and benefit of Kanda Shasti Vratam.
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