Tamil Nadu

Temples witness crowds on first Saturday of Purattasi

Devotees thronged Vishnu temples on Saturday, the first on the Tamil month of Purattasi, which is believed to be auspicious. In many places, physical distancing was thrown to the winds, especially when people waited in queues or groups outside the temples. Many temples ensured that visitors wore masks, sanitised their hands and did temperature checks before entering.

Jostling for space

In some temples such as the Sri Oppilliappan Temple near Kumbakonam, physical distancing went for a toss, as a large number of devotees gathered in the morning for darshan. Though most devotees were seen wearing masks, they jostled for space and darshan at the temple. Similarly, several popular Vaishnavite temples in the State saw crowds outside.

At the Sri Parthasarathy Temple in Chennai, the temple administration kept barricades, and volunteers at regular intervals ensured distancing. Around 10,000 devotees visited the temple. S. Ramanujan, a devotee, said it took him around 30 minutes to enter and exit the temple. S. Gomathi, a resident of T. Nagar, said she had darshan of Lord Venkateshwara from outside as there was a long queue.

Many temples also let in senior citizens without stopping them. “We cannot stop people from entering. Senior citizens account for 60% of our devotees,” said a manager at a temple.

A large number of devotees visited the Sri Koodal Azhagar Temple in Madurai and the Sri Sundararaja Perumal Temple at Alagarkoil.

Koodal Azhagar Temple Executive Officer M. Ramasamy said around 5,000 devotees visited the temple in the morning. “It was an arduous task for temple officials and the police to repeatedly ask them to maintain adequate distance while standing in queues,” he said.

Some exceptions

Some temples like the Sri Varadaraja Perumal Temple in Kancheepuram and the Sri Aranganathaswamy Temple at Karamadai in Coimbatore, there were not much crowds. In Coimbatore, the number of devotees who came to the temple on the first Saturday of Purattasi this year was far less than last year. While 9,000 devotees visited the temple last year, it was 1,000 this year.

Religious exponent Akkarakani Srinidhi said that in many households, thiruvilakku maavu, a cake made of rice flour and lit from within, would be offered and when the lamp goes out, it would be considered as if the Lord [Venkateswara] climbed atop the Tirupati hill. Special offerings or neivedhyams would be made in homes on Saturdays, he added.

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Printable version | Oct 28, 2020 4:50:05 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/tamil-nadu/temples-witness-crowds-on-first-saturday-of-purattasi/article32650962.ece

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