Over three lakh devotees offered worship to Lord Saniswarar at Sri Dharbaranyeswarar temple in Tirunallar, popularly known as 'Sri Saniswarar temple' near here on Wednesday.

Amidst relgious fervour, the 'maha deeparadhanai' was performed to Lord Saniswarar at 7.51 a.m., marking His transit from 'Kanni' to 'thula' zodiac.

Soon after the transit, a large number of devotees had a holy dip in the Nalankulam, the temple tank, set up by the King Nala who was the first beneficiary of Lord Dharbaraneyswarar to be rid of the clutches of the sufferings caused by Lord Sani at this temple.

It was a sea of humanity at all the eleven tanks, small and big, in and around the temple including the Nalan theertham; Nala Kooba theerthm; Brahmma theertham; Annatheertham; Ashta Dikh Balagar thertham; and Agasthia theertham.

As soon as the holy blue screen in front of Lord Sani was slided and the 'maha deeparadhani' was offered , a large number of devotees offered worship by taking a dip in these tanks.

The idol of Lord Sani in the golden crow vahanam was brought and kept near the Vasantha Mandapam where the devotees offered worship. Verses from Tirumarai were recited by a group of devotees there.

It was a blue coloured view every where, signifying the preference of the Lord, A blue coloured hundi was kept where the devotees offered their money in fulfilment of their vows.

The Head of Dharumapuram Adheenam; Lieutenant Governor of Puducherry, Dr. Iqbal Singh; M. Chandrakasu, Puducherry Minister for Agriculture; P.R. Siva, MLA from Tirunallar; S. B. Deepak Kumar, Collector of Puducherry; Franklin Laltin Khuma, Special Officer of the temple and Pannerselvam, executive officer were among those present.

The FM channel of Karaikal station of All India Radio presented a live commentary on the 'Sani Peyarchi' which was relayed by other stations all over Tamil Nadu and Puducherry. The Tamil scholars -- P. Neela, M Pazhaniappan and Kannaiyan Dakshinamurthy, in their commentary, described the religious significance of the temple.

Elaborate arrangements made by the police ensured the smooth conduct of the ritual. Surveillance cameras at the Nalan kulam and the temple helped monitor the movement of every person and thereby ensured the smooth movement of the queue. B. Srikanth, Senior Superintendent of Police, oversaw the security arrangements.