The Vaigai was flooded in the early hours of Monday with the river bed off Goripalayam and several streets around it getting inundated under an unceasing tide of devotees.
Witnessed by lakhs devotees of amid chanting of Vedic hymns, Lord Kallazhagar entered the Vaigai at around 6.45 a.m. on his majestic golden stallion. The devotees' chants of “govinda govinda” rented the air as did some electrifying music that blared from loudspeakers.
The event is the highlight of the Chithirai festival. People from across the southern districts occupied every square inch of the riverbank to witness the event. No matter how small or dangerous, every vantage point to the river was occupied by zealous devotees.
Trickle to torrent
Such importance is attached to the event that the devotees began trickling into the venue as early as the previous night itself. As dawn approached, the trickle turned into a torrent as most of the vantage points were occupied by 3 a.m., a good four hours before the event.
The Lord, who hails from Sundararaja Perumal Temple at Alagarkoil, was brought into an artificial pool, filled with lotus petals, on the riverbed. The Lord's stallion is new this year and made with 6.180 kg of gold at a total cost of Rs. 1.5 crore. The old stallion is said to be around 240 years old.
Lord Veeraraghava Perumal from South Masi Street received Kallazhagar, who was clad in his traditional attire. A special ‘pandal' was erected on the riverbed to house both the deities. After the rituals, the deity proceeded towards Vandiyur for overnight stay at Lord Veeraraghava Perumal Temple.
As seen every year and despite the huge deployment of police personnel, devotees had trouble as the only bottleneck of an exit out of the riverbed into the Goripalayam junction got clogged. This resulted in a suffocating stagnation at the exit point. Devotees had to endure a nightmarish ordeal as they wriggled their way through the crowd. The event was beamed live on local television channels.
Dressed in the Lord's attire, devotees sprayed water on his mount along the entire route to cool him and provide relief from the scorching summer heat. Many also tonsured their heads as offering to the Lord.
Following this event is a ceremony in which Lord Kallazhagar redeems Mandooga Maharishi of his curse, a puranic episode that is enacted by residents of Thenur on Tuesday in the form of a white stork flying away in the presence of the deity.
Also on Tuesday at the Ramarayam Mandapam at Arulmigu Amanur Temple is the ‘Dasavatharam' event in which Lord Vishnu gives darshan in his 10 forms.