The temple city is all set to witness the highlight of the ongoing Chithirai festival, the much awaited ceremony to mark the “celestial” wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar here on Tuesday.

Devotees will have to sit through the protracted event lasting a couple of hours.

Sanjay Mathur, Commissioner of Police, along with Deputy Commissioner of Police, R. Thirunavakarasu, visited the Meenakshi Temple on Monday to review the security arrangements as well as the elaborate preparations for the “wedding” and the points where ‘prasadam’ would be distributed to devotees.

“This time we have extended the barricades around the temple so that devotees would enter only in a queue and there will not be any deviation or congestion. Special places were earmarked for ‘prasadam’ distribution on Chithirai and Avani Moola Streets,” Mr. Thirunavakarasu said. He told The Hindu that around 3,000 police personnel had been deployed for duty and watchtowers erected to ensure a strict vigil.

P. Jayaraman, Joint Commissioner and Executive Officer of the temple, said that the scrapping of free passes to witness the celestial wedding has been welcomed by the general public and devotees from other States.

While 1,500 tickets of Rs.500 were sold, the temple issued Rs.200 tickets to 2,500 persons.Another 6,000 people would be allowed inside the temple for free darshan on a first-come-first-served basis.

The main stage for the celestial wedding has been renovated and decorated with flowers.A 150-tonne air-conditioner has been installed to keep the “wedding” venue cool.

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