With the government declaring for the first time a local holiday for “Hethai Habba”, the annual festival of the Badagas at Beragani near Kotagiri thousands of devotees from various parts of the Nilgiris and other places flocked to the temple on Wednesday.

With all of them clad in traditional white dress the huge gathering presented a grand spectacle.

Among those who paid their obeisance to the presiding deity Goddess Hethe, were the State Agriculture Minister S. Dhamodharan and the Industries Minister S.P. Velumani.

They said that they had been directed by Chief Minister J. Jayalalithaa to represent the government at the congregation.

Speaking to The Hindu some of the devotees said that the declaration of the holiday had added to their enthusiasm.

They added that it would help make more persons aware of the unique culture and tradition of the Badagas.

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