The idols of various gods and goddesses from temples in the neighbouring Villupuram and Cuddalore districts were treated as guests of Puducherry.

The spirit of the recent Maasi Maham festivities continues to linger on in Puducherry as the idols of Lord Subramaniaswamy of Mayilam and Sri Ranganathar of Gingee stay on to visit various streets accepting the respects of residents. The idols of various gods and goddesses from temples in the neighbouring Villupuram and Cuddalore districts were treated as guests of Puducherry, said S. Narayanan, a resident of Chetty Street. “When the idol of Mayilam Subramaniaswamy comes visiting, the entire street is out welcoming the Lord. Homes decorate the road with kolams and the road is lit up. People distribute sundal and warm milk,’ he said.

Mr. Narayanan explained that the route that the idols take is a fixed one. “A few years ago, there was an attempt to drop Chetty Street but residents resisted and the route was continued,” he said.

Puducherry’s own poet Bharathidasan too has written about Maasi Maham and Lord Subramaniaswamy passing through Chetty Street. Though himself a resident of Kamakshi Amman Koil Street, he used to pool in money and set up a pandal to house the idol, write songs, print them at Jagannantha Gramini’s press and distribute them to the public along with prasadam, recalls his son Mannarmannan. “It was in 1920 that he wrote a song where Velan’s (Subramaniaswamy) lover asks him if he had forgotten the sweet nothings that he had said on Chetty Street. In 1926, he included the nationalist spirit in the song that prayed to the Lord to drive away the foreigners,” he said.

He added that there used to be a long cloth inside the pandal asking devotees to not present foreign cloth to the idols and that foreigners must be driven away. The poet has written over 200 songs on Mayilam Subramaniaswamy. They are called Mayilam Subramaniyar Thudi Amudhu, Shanmuga Kavacham and Shanmuga Pancharathnam, and these had been reprinted by Mr. Mannarmannan last year.