Lakhs of devotees and pilgrims from various parts of the country on Saturday worshipped and offered special prayers to the Shaneeshwara Bhagawan shrine at the Darbaranyeshwarar temple, Tirunallar, Karaikal district, Puducherry in connection with the ‘Shani Peyarchi’ festival.
Several dignitaries including Iqbal Singh, Lt. Governor of Puducherry, Srilasri Shanmuga Desika Paramacharya Swamigal, the Head of Dharmapuram Adheenam, N.Vasanthakumar, Collector of Karaikal, witnessed the special abhishekams and poojas performed at the Shaneeshwara Bhagawan shrine around 3.30 p.m during the transit of Shaneeshwara Bhagawan (Lord of Saturn) from Simha Rasi to Kanya Rasi (Leo to Virgo).
The entire Tirunallar town, about five-km from here, wore a festive look in connection with the Shani Peyarchi festival. Thousands of devotees from several places had started pouring into Tirunallar even four days ago for offering their prayers to the shrine.
All the devotees took a holy dip at the Nala Teertham, Brahma Teertham and Saraswati Teertham, the holy tanks around the temple, and then offered prayers to Lord Shaneeshwara Bhagawan.
The Karaikal district administration made elaborate security arrangements and provided basic amenities to devotees. Police and fire service personnel were kept on vigil in the town. Barricades were erected in front of the temple and the devotees stood in the queue for several hours of darshan of the deity.
The Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation (TNSTC) operated special buses from various parts of the state and the Southern Railway ran special trains to clear the rush of devotees.
Police sources said that no untoward incident was reported. Special volunteers were posted for removing the old clothes thrown away by the devotees by the side of the holy tanks after taking bath.
The transit of Lord Saturn from one Rasi to another Rasi (one house to another) in every two and half years is known as ‘Shani Peyarchi’ and Saturn (moves slowly) takes 30 years to come full circle covering all the 12 Rasis.