Nearly all South Indian style temples hold an annual festival. It is a time of anywhere from 5 to 31 days when the intensity around the temple is heightened by more ritual, rites that are only done once a year, etc. Live musicians perform along with the rites, and are in tune with what the priests are doing, elaborate co-ordination is needed. Mystically, its a time of cleansing of the past, and recharging the temple's batteries for the coming year. The temple's kodimaram (flagpole, acts like an lightning rod of connection to inner world's, is accompanied astrally by a pillar of light) has daily abhishekham, and aarti, not performed any other time of the year. The festival flag is hoisted in a two hour elaborate ceremony to signify the beginning of the festival, and then lowered to signify it's end. To maintain the sanctity, the chief priest cannot shave, or leave the temple property for the duration of the festival. One day is dedicated to a chariot festival, and special bronze deities are paraded outside each day. (These days the God comes to you, the rest of the year You go to Him/Her) The elaborate wooden chariot goes back into the shed for the rest of the year. Strong young men are given the job of carrying, the murthi sits on top of an elaborate vahana made for this purpose. Devotees see it as similar to a pilgrimage, a time to drop all worldly concerns to focus on religion. Many take holidays, and it;s seen as both a time of celebration, and a for some, a time of penance. Other Hindus unfamiliar with this often wonder what happened to their peaceful temple. Today is day 5 of the annual festival of the temple I attend. Questions?