Long considered a major event in the religious calendar of the Blue Mountains, the annual car festival of the Arulmigu Mariamman Temple here is now occupying centre stage.

Having been set in motion on March 14, the festival is scheduled to go on till April 18 with the main car procession lined up for April 15.

With members of various communities in the hill station are vying with each other in organising the daily pujas, community feasts, and processions of the presiding deity in flower bedecked cars, the hill station is wearing the look of a pilgrimage town.

The temple has been in existence for about 200 years, said sources in the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments (HR and CE) Board.

It was unique in a number of ways.

The number of associations and organisations evincing interest in sponsoring events associated with the annual festival was growing every year, the sources said adding that this year there were seven new sponsors.

Functionaries of some of the community based associations which had sponsored events like car processions said that the hill station has since yore been known for its cosmopolitan characteristics and its ‘live and let live’ outlook.

Events like Mariamman festival reflect the sense of belonging of various communities with the place.

In the process barriers are brought down and bonds strengthened.

More In: Coimbatore