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Coconut-breaking ritual at temple in Karur village incident-free

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HARD-HITTING RITUAL: Priests breaking coconut over devotees’ heads at Sri Mahalakshmiamman Temple at Mettumahadanapuram in Karur district on Saturday.
HARD-HITTING RITUAL: Priests breaking coconut over devotees’ heads at Sri Mahalakshmiamman Temple at Mettumahadanapuram in Karur district on Saturday.

Staff Reporter

More than 750 devotees participate in the celebration with enthusiasm

A large number from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh also participated

in the festival

KARUR: The annual Adi festival of Sri Mahalakshmiamman Temple at Mettumahadanapuram in the district was celebrated on Saturday with the chief priest breaking coconuts on heads of devotees as part of their fulfilment of vow.

More than 750 devotees had coconut broken on their head while some sustained bleeding injuries in the process.

The event had attracted adverse comments from agencies such as the State Human Rights Commission in the past but this time the event passed off without any problems from other fronts.

The ritual is part of a two-day annual festival that is the highlight of the temple annals. A majority of the temple’s ‘kudipaadu’ belongs to the ‘kurumbas’ and certain sections of the ‘24 Manai Telugu Chettiars.’

The day began with the ‘Amman’ returning from the ceremonial procession to the temple and the chief priest, A. Periasamy, performed abishekam with the sanctified waters brought from River Cauvery. A traditional lamp was lit on top of the temple flag mast.

As if in a trance, Mr. Periasamy stood on a shoe of nails and then started breaking coconuts first on the head of seven elders each from the two main communities.

He went along the main enclosure breaking coconuts on the head of over 750 devotees who undertook the ritual as part of fulfilent of vows. A large number of women participated in the ritual without any fear of injury.

Medical assistance was at hand

A medical unit with ambulance and paramedics waited outside to attend to emergency needs but even the devotees who sustained bleeding injuries refrained from going in for treatment and preferred to apply turmeric or ‘vibhuthi’ (sacred ash) on the open wound. Heavy police bandobust was provided in the venue and in the Mahadanapuram village for the festival.

A large number of devotees from various parts of the State and from Kerala, Karnataka and Andhra Pradesh participated in the festival. Incidentally, it was the 23nd successive year that the chief priest Mr. Periasamy is performing, while his father Andi Poojari had performed the task for 56 years. Locals say Mr. Perisasamy’s grandfather Raman donned the chief priest’s mantle and broke coconuts on the heads of devotees for 62 years.

Earlier there were some ticklish issues to be settled before the event commenced as ‘kurumbas’ and ‘24 Manai Telegu Chettiars’ were engaged n a wrangle over removal of an advertisement hoarding that the ‘kurumbas’ had objected to as partisan. That led to a delay of over an hour.

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