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Peaked hat has a wide band with four triangular pieces sewn together to form the peak. White rickrack and yellow braid in zigzag design on back of hat. On front is a blue flower like object and two other symbol like forms are appliqued in cloth and braid.

History Of Use

The hat is used during the Chitrai Festival in May (a bathing and processional festival which is held in honour of the Vaishnavite god, Alagar. The main procession in which the shorts (as well as similarly decorated umbrellas, etc.) are worn, moves from the Alagar Koil (temple) to the Vaigai River, running through Madurai City. Here ritual bathing occurs. The costumes are warn by devotees (usually a particular group patronizing a member who dresses up and becomes the centre of attraction of that part of the procession). The shorts are stitched by a special group of tailors working in a large stone pavilion adjoining the Meenakshi temple (called Pudu Mandapan). These are sold as retail items or made by order.

Iconographic Meaning

Hat is worn during the Chitrai Festival during which the Alagar aspect of Vishnu is worshipped. The iconographic representations are the conch shell (sangu) and the discus (chakra) which are attributes of Vishnu.

Cultural Context


Item History

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