The extraordinary ritual of breaking a coconut on the head of devotees as fulfilment of vow was performed in the famous Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple at Mettumahadanapuram near here on Sunday. Of the 415 devotees who underwent the ritual, some sustained injuries that required medical attention .
The ritual is part of the two-day annual Adi Perukku festival at the Mahalakshmi Amman temple glorified and worshipped by the Kurumba and the 24 Manai Telugu Chettiar communities.
The processional deity of the temple that was taken for a ritual bath in the River Cauvery the previous night, returned to the shrine following the ‘thiruveedhi ula’. Chief priest A. Periasamy conducted special abishekam with sacred waters from the Cauvery.
The traditional lamp was lit atop a special mast in the temple foreground. Then Mr. Periasamy in a trance and with trumpeters in tow stood on a shoe of nails to break coconuts first on the head of seven elders belonging to the two main communities. He started breaking coconuts on the head of devotees who had registered themselves to undertake the ritual as part of fulfillment of vows and thanksgiving.
A medical unit was stationed to attend to emergency and they treated a few devotees who sustained bleeding injuries on the spot.
Some others applied turmeric on the open wound and left. A large number of devotees from Tamil Nadu, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh and Kerala participated in the rituals.
Mr. Periasamy was leading the ritual as the chief priest for the 29th year in succession breaking coconuts on the head of devotees, following the footsteps of his father Andi Poosari who undertook the sacred chore for 56 years. Mr. Perisasamy's grandfather, Raman, had reportedly performed the task for 62 years.
Revenue and police officials from Kulithalai and Karur besides officials from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department witnessed the proceedings.