Temporary barricades have been put up at Samayapuram Sri Mariamman Temple to improve crowd management. The temple at Samayapuram is not quite spacious to accommodate hundreds of devotees thronging it on important days such as Sundays, Tuesdays, and Fridays besides New Moon Day.

This month, with the New Moon Day falling on Sunday, the crowd at the temple was more than usual. “There are devotees who visit the temple only on Sundays while another section offer worship on the New Moon Days. Today, with both sections merging together, an estimated five to six lakh people visited the temple from dawn to dusk,” said the temple sources.

New construction activity has been forcing the authorities to close the gates of some entrance or other, further shrinking the available area for the movement of the crowd. Prior to the execution of the project, devotees could leave the temple through the western gopuram. But the west gate has since been closed as the gopuram had been demolished for the construction of a new gopuram.

Right from entry to the exit, barricades have been put up using casuarinas poles for regulating the crowd. Devotees enter the temple through three ‘gates’ – free dharshan, special ticket counters of Rs. 25 and Rs. 250. Obviously, the entire prakaram on the northern prakaram has been divided into five segments for regulating the crowd. “Every auspicious day poses a challenge, as people from different parts of the State converge here. With a view to avoiding stampede, we adopt need-specific strategy, altering the route of devotees whenever needed,” says G. Thennarasu, Joint Commissioner of the temple.