Chithirai festival begins in Madurai

The holy flag being hoisted to mark the commencement of annual Chithirai festival at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in Madurai on Tuesday. | Photo Credit: G. Moorthy

: Chithirai festival at Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple here began in a grand manner with hundreds of devotees witnessing the flag-hoisting ceremony on Tuesday.

Amidst chanting of hymns, priests hoisted the traditional white flag on the 56-foot-tall flag mast at 10.50 a.m. in the presence of Thakkar Karumuttu T. Kannan, Commissioner of Police T. Senthil Kumar and temple officials.

Earlier, the deities of Gods Vinayaka, Muruga, Chandikeswarar and Sundareswarar, along with Goddesses Piriyavidai and Meenakshi were taken out on a procession to the flag-hoisting venue.

Deeparathana was performed to the 'kodimaram' (flag mast), which was witnessed by a huge crowd. Police personnel were deployed in large numbers to keep the crowd under control.

"We are happy to be back at the temple for the Chithirai festival after two years," said a 52-year-old devotee M. Saraswathi. For her, the overcoming of COVID that made possible for the conduct of the festival was satisfactory. "We pray that all the people should be free of any health issues," she added.

Later, talking to reporters, Mr. Kannan said that the temple had witnessed unprecedented crowd of devotees for the flag-hoisting ceremony as the Chithirai festival was being celebrated after two years due to COVID restrictions.

"We expect more crowd to the temple for the 11-day-long festival when the presiding deities are taking out on processions every day," he said. Anticipating the crowd, the temple administration has planned to put up 20 huge LED screens on which the festival proceedings would be telecast live for the benefit of devotees could not enter the temple.

A total of 6,000 to 8,000 devotees would be allowed inside the temple premises to witness the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi with Lord Sundareswarar on April 14. This included 2,500 devotees who buy ₹ 500 tickets and 3,500 devotees with ₹ 200 tickets.

When asked about the demand that no fee should be collected from the devotees, Mr. Kannan said that the administration has to have some regulation for the crowd.

The devotees would be allowed to have darshan of the deities throughout the day till evening at the Tirukalyana Mandapam after the celestial wedding, he added.

The temple administration would distribute bags containing prasadam and water bottles. Besides, medical teams would be available on the temple premises.

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Printable version | Apr 25, 2022 8:57:02 am |