Hundreds of devotees offered worship to Sri Pundarikaksha temple and pulled the temple car on the occasion of ‘Tiruthaer' festival on Thursday.
The processional idols of Sri Pankajavalli Thaayar and Sri Sentharamaikannan were brought to the car from the ‘kannadi arai' in the early morning and, amidst religious fervour, the car was pulled at 9.30 a.m. from the North Agraharam street. The ‘Nagaswaram' and ‘thavil' artistes were seen seated at the car.
It was pulled through the East, South and West Agraharam streets, before being brought to rest at 1 p.m. Verses from the Nalayira Divya Prabandham were recited by a group of temple priests led by Bashyam while the Veda Parayanam was recited by ‘pandits' led by T. Tiruvenkatachariar.
Precautionary measures ensured the safe movement of the car and the smooth conduct of the festival. The villagers, holding a rope on either sides of the car, ensured that no devotee reached up to the wheel of the car while being pulled.
Whenever the car was moved, a white flag was waved from atop the car, signalling the devotees to ensure adequate space for the car.
It has been a temple car with a difference for centuries. Arranging community feast at a number of places has been the special feature of the festival. Several individuals and institutions have been organising the community feast at this temple car festival for years.
The Tiruvellarai Pandaarigal Sabha, one of the service organisations, has been organising the community feast all through the eleven days of the car festival for the past 25 years, says its secretary, K. Sadagopan.
Secondly, the responsibility of setting up of the wooden planks (‘Sannai poduthal) to regulate or arrest the wheels of the temple-car during the festival, lay with the residents of eight major villages (Ettu patti) in and around Tiruvellarai. This year, the villagers of Thillampatti, Theerampalayam, Kattukulam and Udayampatti regulated the movement of the temple car. Police personnel and Home Guards led by Raja, Deputy Superintendent of Police, Jeeyapuram, provided the bandobust at various places in the village.
Keywords: Religious festival