Staff Reporter

It attracts devotees from abroad also Arrangements for drinking water, sanitation and security are made till July 10

NAGAPATTINAM: The 449th year Kandoori festival began with the hoisting of the holy flag at the famous Nagore Dargah near here on Tuesday. The fortnight-long festival attracts thousands of devotees from various parts of the country and from foreign countries like Sri Lanka, Myanmar and the Gulf.

Tenkasi S. Jawahar, Collector, said here that drinking water and sanitary and security arrangements were made till July 10. The highlight of the festival is the participation of Hindus in large numbers.

The Hindus along with Muslims would take bath in the `peer kulam' (holy tank) in the dargah premises during the festival period.

There is a belief that that tank water has some curative power.

The five-century old dargah of Saint Hazrath Syed Shahul Hameed Quadir Wali in Nagore has a golden dome flanked by five minarets.

The dargah itself stands as a symbol of communal harmony as it is located in a land donated by Achuthappa Naicken, the Hindu king of Thanjavur in 16th century to Saint Shahul Hameed.

The death anniversary of the saint is celebrated as `Kandoori' festival every year.

The dargah has strong Hindu influences in both architecture and rituals like applying sandal paste, pouring of holy water and tonsuring of head and playing of nadaswaram and shehnai.

Saint Hazarath Syed Shahul Hameed, the 23rd descendant of Prophet Mohammed, was born and educated in Manickapur near Allahabad. When he came to Thanjavur on a pilgrimage he cured the illness of Thanjavur king Achuthappa Naicken who gifted lands to the saint. After the saint passed away at the age of 68, his body was entombed at Nagore.

The main event of `Sandanakoodu' procession would start from Nagapattinam at 8.30 p.m. on July 6 and reach Nagore the same night. The anointment of sandal at the dargah would be performed on July 7 morning and `fatiha' would be performed on July 10, the concluding day of festival.