With the scrapping of free pass system, the grand celebration is open to all, writes Shastry V. Mallady
A new precedent has been set in the world famous Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple from this year.
All devotees will be treated as VIPs and the free pass system given for the who’s who of Madurai to witness the colourful celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar has been completely scrapped to avoid special treatment given for a select few.
The Meenakshi Tirukalyanam, which is an important event of the Chithirai festival, will take place in the temple on April 23 between 8.17 a.m. and 8.47 a.m.
In a significant move, the temple management has introduced ticket system so that devotees can buy the ticket and watch the Tirukalyanam. The tickets are priced at Rs.500 and Rs.200.
Apart from introducing ticket system, the temple has also put the Tirukalyanam on hi-tech radar by launching an online registration facility. Devotees were to just log on to the websitewww.meenakshitemple.organd register their particulars for obtaining ticket to watch the celestial wedding.
The online registration is available from April 7 to 13 and temple authorities began issuing tickets after scrutinising the requests. It is expected that 13,000 devotees will be witnessing the Tirukalyanam in the temple.
A temple official has said that 6,000 tickets will be issued to devotees and another 6,000 devotees would be allowed free entry through the South Tower on first come first served basis.
For policemen and media persons, the temple will issue on-duty entry card.
“This year it is the common devotee who will get priority. Otherwise, till last year, the practice was that free passes were being given to influential people, VIPs and a standard list of persons in the temple list. That will not be done now,” a senior officer has said.
Devotees who registered online were asked to collect the original ticket from the temple by showing their identity proof.
For the Madurai’s trademark event of Lord Kallazhagar’s entry in to the River Vaigai, all arrangements are in progress. The Madurai Corporation and temple management are coordinating the works for the festivity which will be on April 25.