TAMIL NADU

Hundreds take part in coconut breaking ritual at Mettumahadanapuram

Ritual of breaking coconuts on head observed

The Aadi festival of the Sri Mahalakshmi Amman Temple at Mettumahadanapuram in Karur district was celebrated on Wednesday with the important ritual of devotees having coconut broken on their head as a mark of thanksgiving or fulfilment of a vow. Some sustained simple bleeding injuries but for many it was pretty normal.

The ritual is part of the two-day annual festival at the temple revered by the ‘kudipaadu' comprising the Kurumba community and sections of the 24 Manai Telugu Chettiars community.

Earlier in the day, the Amman returned to the temple after a ‘thiruveedhi ula' and the chief priest, A. Periasamy, performed the abishekam with sanctified waters from River Cauvery.

Then a traditional lamp was lit atop the temple flag mast.

Even as more than 560 men and women devotees sat in rows with bated breath, a perked up Mr. Periasamy in a trance, stood on a shoe of nails and broke coconuts first on the head of seven elders each from the two main communities.

Then he went around the main enclosure breaking coconuts on the head of devotees who undertook the ritual as part of fulfilment of vows. The authorities had stipulated that only those above 20 years of age could take part in the ritual and as per the directive the participants were screened and admitted.

A medical unit with ambulance and paramedics was at hand to attend to emergency needs and the five devotees who suffered injuries were treated.

Kulithalai Revenue Divisional Officer Balasubramanian, Revenue Department officials, including Krishnarayapuram tahsildar Krishnakumar, Kulithalai DSP R. Manoharan, as also Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments executive officers Srinivasan and Ramalingam, had made the arrangements.

The usual teeming crowds that used to come to the ritual every year were conspicuously missing this year as the run-up to the festival was smooth with no irritant lighting up any controversies as had been the case during the years before.

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