MADURAI: A whopping 2,100 kg of rice, 83 goats and about 300 roosters — these were the primary ingredients for arguably the biggest biriyani festival in the State.
Thousands of people converged on the village of Vadakkampatti in Tirumangalam, Madurai, for the bi-annual festival at the Sri Muniyandi Sami temple on Friday night.
Devotees began thronging the temple from the wee hours of Saturday to receive a portion of the lip-smacking feast, a unique ‘prasadam’ unheard of in other temples.
“We neither cook biriyani at home, nor do we eat at hotels. So we never miss the Muniyandi Sami biriyani,” said Pandiammal, an elderly woman who stood in the serpentine queue for four hours to get her hands on some biriyani.
People who have made a donation collected special tokens from the organisers and took a detour to collect their prasadam, while others had to fight it out. Depending on the donation, people were given biriyani in small buckets or in plastic packets.
However, Vadakampatti’s original claim to fame is not the biriyani but being the birthplace of the famous Muniyandi Vilas hotels found throughout Tamil Nadu and even in neighboring states.
According to folklore, the village deity, Muniyandi Sami, appeared in the dream of Subbaiah Naidu and gave him the idea of starting a hotel.
After he started the first hotel in Karaikudi in the early 1930s, generations from the village have migrated and set up hotels, most in the name of Madurai Sri Muniyandi Vilas.