Thimithi Festival: When Draupadi is Worshipped

Sapna Kaushik

Last updated: Apr 6, 2017

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A heroine, a victim, a warrior, a seductress, a scapegoat – too many labels go with one of the most powerful characters of the Mahabharata, Draupadi. A beautiful princess, Draupadi was married to the five Pandav brothers. The tragedies of her life began when she was insulted in the court of Kauravas after her husbands lost her in a game of dice. This waged a war, one of the most destructive ones in Indian mythology, and consequently Draupadi was also blamed for causing immense bloodshed. According to South Indian legend, the worst was not over with the war. It is believed that she was forced to walk on a bed of burning embers and come out unharmed to prove her fidelity or to purify herself from the attempts to defile her.

The Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Singapore sees a procession of priests and devotees during the festival every year. Photo Credit: RoB / Wikimedia


Today, all that remains of Draupadi are fragmented tales; some considering her to be the cause of the war, others calling her a tragic heroine. What a life to lead, I wonder! Such ruminations flooded my mind when I first read about Thimithi Festival. Celebrated in the Tamil community, this festival is dedicated to Draupadi or Draupati Amman, a Tamil deity.

This festival is, however, just a part of month long celebrations when tales from Mahabharata are enacted and pujas are performed. The central event of the festival is the fire walking ceremony when devotees walk on a stretch of hot embers to prove their dedication to the deity, who is believed to ward off evil spirits.



The Tamil community celebrates the Thimithi Festival to worship Draupadi, who is believed to ward off evil spirits. In Singapore, a procession of priests and devotees starts from Srinivasa Perumal Temple and goes up to Sri Marriamman Temple where the rituals are carried out. During the festival, stories of Mahabharata are enacted followed by a marriage procession of Draupadi’s wedding to Arjuna. Then the idols are washed with milk and water, dressed beautifully and worshipped. After this, the famous fire walking ceremony begins. Thousands of people participate in this ceremony to fulfil a wish or to seek penance. Interestingly, only men are allowed to participate in this ritual. The rituals begin late in the night and carry on till early morning.

It is said that the famous sage Veda Vyasa gave a boon to Draupadi that she will always be remembered as a powerful queen who sacrificed her life and helped execute the divine plan of the great war of Mahabharata. Whether this was something anyone would appreciate after living a life of innumerable difficulties, is open to debate. But surely, on this festival Draupadi enjoys glory and power that she was denied during her life.

Draupadi perfectly befits the adage, “Today’s victims are tomorrow’s heroes”. Now revered as a deity in South India, come watch the spectacle of the tragic heroine of Mahabharata revered by thousands during the Thimithi Festival.

Book cheap flight tickets to Malaysia and Singapore on MakeMyTrip.com. You can also opt for a complete holiday package as you combine the festival with your preferred travel destination.