Madurai

Pudhu Mandapam shopkeepers hit by Chithirai festival restriction

Collector T. Anbalagan says a Government Order mentions that the temple festivals are banned from April 10.  

Madurai

This is the time of the year when Pudhu Mandapam used to be bustling with activity for the Chithirai festival.

However, this year too has turned out to be disastrous for the dressmakers and shopkeepers of Pudhu Mandapam. With the imposition of new restrictions to contain the spread of rising COVID-19 cases, the district administration has announced that no crowds of devotees would be allowed to gather for this year's Chithirai festival. This will be the second consecutive year that the public gathering will not be allowed during the Chithirai festival.

Collector T. Anbalagan told The Hindu that the Government Order had mentioned that the temple festivals are banned from April 10. "Hence, this year's Chithirai festival will be similar to last year and hence crowds will not be allowed to gather for the festival," he said.

A source from the Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments department said that Meenakshi Thirukalyanam will be telecast live to the public like last year.

However, this announcement will affect the livelihoods of the dressmakers and shopkeepers of Pudhu Mandapam, said president of Pudhu Mandapam Traders and Tailors Association G. Muthupandi.

Usually, the dressmakers work on bright, colourful garments to make dresses for devotees who take up different roles during the festival. This includes salladam (trousers), kachai (cloth tied around the waist) and urma (head gear).

Usually, the dressmakers start working on these garments at least three months before the festival as it requires detailed work, said L.R.T. Sanjayan, a tailor. "But, the dresses that have been stitched this year will not be sold due to the restriction," he added.

This will deeply affect the livelihoods of the dressmakers as they make decent profits only during the festival season, said N. Ramachandran, another tailor. "Last year the tailors faced severe financial constraints as the crowds were not allowed to gather for the festival. We never thought that the same scenario will continue this year too," he said.

Shopkeepers who sell packages containing thaali threads, turmeric and kungumam during the festival, will also be affected. "The government must provide financial assistance to the dressmakers and shopkeepers," said Mr. Muthupandi.

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Printable version | May 18, 2021 4:39:48 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Madurai/pudhu-mandapam-shopkeepers-hit-by-chithirai-festival-restriction/article34284572.ece

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