Bountiful water on the occasion of Aadi Perukku augurs well for the season ahead, say farmers

The “Adi Perukku” festival on the banks of the Cauvery was filled with joy and gaiety, with the Cauvery, which remained bone dry for seven months, fast realising the discharge of water from the Mettur.

Apart from religious fervour associated with the festival, the celebrations this year created a sense of confidence among farmers. A large number of farmers of the delta region thronged the banks of the Cauvery right from Athur near Salem. “The discharge of about one lakh cusecs from Krishnaraja Sagar Reservoir and consequent 18,000 cusecs from the Mettur augur well for agricultural prospects,” say farmers.

Mother Cauvery, during Adi Perukku festival, with a steady rise in the water level in the day, brightened the people’s expectation. Many offered prayers and some tonsured their heads.

A group of newly-wedded couples from a family in Sendurai in Ariyalur district point out that the “Akanda Cauvery” in the city with waters flowing across it, has created a ray of hope. They all hoped that “Although it may take more time for us to realise the Mettur waters at T. Pazhur — the tail-end basin of the delta in Ariyalur district, we are now happy to offer our marriage garlands to the Mother Cauvery,” say couples T. Venkatesan and Karthika, K. Asaithambi and Tamilselvi, and T. Tamizhvendan and Vasuki.

For many traders and businessmen, worshipping Cauvery on the occasion of “Adi Perukku” festival means a lot for their prospects and growth. Many of them had been visiting the Ammamandapam Ghat at Srirangam for the past several years on this occasion to be blessed by Mother Cauvery. They could feel the difference this year, as compared to last visit.

Shanmugam and Sampoorani had come with their son S. Surya and offered “paaligai” — a bed of nursery of various pulses. They left Athur at 5 a.m. to worship at Ammamandapam Ghat four hours later.

The visitors and devotees could sense the difference the festival made this year, as compared to last year. A group of Fire Service and Rescue personnel with safety jackets and floating tubes ready for use formed the boundary for the people and they kept asking them to retreat to the ghat steps in the wake of the steady rise in the level of water in the Cauvery. Even the police personnel outside the ghat, through their public address system, kept cautioning the people not to attempt to take bath beyond the iron rails.

“Acute scarcity of water last year forced the authorities to let water through a pipe with holes all around it to be used for bathing. This year, the river overflows, indicating that the water table has got re-charged sufficiently,” says N. Veeramani of Kamarajapuram in Pudukottai and V. Velmurugan, a faculty member of Dhanalakshmi Srinivasan College of Arts and Science in Perambalur.

Mr. Velmurugan had come to offer his wedding garlands to the Cauvery.

The Tiruchirapalli City Corporation utilised the festival to sensitise the people to the hazards of polythene and carry bags. Scores of sanitary workers were clearing the non-degradable waste as and when devotees were seen letting their offerings along with polythene bags or carry bags.

A total of 215 police personnel were deployed for the smooth conduct of the festival, says A. Kamaraj, Assistant Commissioner of Police. “Apart from police personnel in uniform and plainclothesmen, we have set up closed circuit television for monitoring the anti-social activity,” he said.

Fire Service and Rescue personnel, numbering about 40, were at the river, with a boat to meet any emergency.

S. Kalyani, Joint Commissioner of Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, said the release of water for the festival and its timely realisation augured well for the devotees.

“Many people reached the bathing ghats even as early as 4 a.m., a new phenomenon this year,” she says.

The festival is associated with the history of the temple.

Namperumal was brought to the Ammamandapam ghat and “theerthavari” was held. Gifts from the temple in the form of sari, garlands, and fruits were offered to the Cauvery.