Wednesday, May 05, 2004
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By Our Staff Reporter
MADURAI, MAY 4. Lord Sundararajaperumal (Kallazhagar) of Alagarkovil today entered the river Vaigai amidst chanting of Vedic hymns and cries of `Govinda, Govinda'. Keeping with the tradition, temple authorities facilitated the entry of the Lord into an artificial pool, filled with lotus petals.
The entry is the highlight of the nine-day Chithirai festival here. According to tradition, Lord Sundararajaperumal enters the Vaigai on the third day after the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar. People in lakhs from southern districts thronged the riverbanks to witness the event. Crop failure, water scarcity and incessant showers did not deter people from villages to reach Madurai.
On the riverbed, Lord Veeraraghava Perumal of Vandiyur received the deity. Devotees worshipped the Lord by lighting camphor. The `jendah melam' performed by a Palakkad group enthralled the devotees.
The nine-day Chithirai festival began on April 30 with Lord Kallazhagar offering darshan to devotees at the Thirukalyana Mandapam and on the third day he left his abode. He adorned the attire of `Kallar' at Kallandiri.
On May 3, a rousing reception was given to the Lord at Moondrumavadi. After visiting scores of `mandapams', he reached the Prasanna Venkatachalapathy temple at Tallakulam at midnight last night, where `thirumanjanam' was performed.
The flower garland of Andal from Srivilliputtur was presented to the Lord. Then the deity offered darshan on `vettiver chappram' and `ayiram pon chappram'. Seated atop a golden horse, the Lord commenced his journey towards the riverbed. Around 6 a.m. the Lord entered the Vaigai.
From the river, he proceeded to Vandiyur, where the devotees will have `ekanda sevai' at the Veeraraghava Perumal temple tomorrow. From Vandiyur, the Lord will reach the Thenur mandapam in `sesha vahanam', where he will relieve Mandooga Mahirishi of his curse.
The police restricted movement of devotees through the normal entry. Temple authorities had made special arrangements to spray water on the devotees through sprinklers on the riverbed.
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