Thousands of pilgrims thronged the Mangaladevi temple, inside the Periyar Tiger Reserve bordering Tamil Nadu on the occasion of Chitrapournami on Wednesday.

The temple is opened only once a year for pilgrims and elaborate arrangements are being done by the district administrations of Idukki and Theni (Tamil Nadu) with other organisations such as Kannagi Trust.

The temple is accessible from Pazhiyankudi in Tamil Nadu, seven kilometres by road; and Kumily in Kerala, covering forest path of 15 km.

Pujas were held in both Tamil and Malayalam by priests representing both the states. A large number of devotees were from Tamil Nadu and the presence of women devotees outnumbered men.

A rough estimate says that as many as 20,000 pilgrims reached the temple.

The Forest, Revenue and Health departments of the two States arranged facilities for a peaceful Darshan at the temple.

The District Collectors of Theni and Idukki, in addition to senior police officials oversaw the security arrangements.

The temple was built by Cheran Chenguttuvan, King of erstwhile Chera dynaty around 2,000 years back. The temple was constructed in memory of Kannagi, who was believed to have burnt down Madurai for avenging the death of her husband Kovalan, who was wrongly accused as a thief. Kannagi is believed to have attained divinity on Chitrpournami day from Suruli hills.

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