RAMESWARAM: About 1,920 pilgrims from Tamil Nadu today left for Katchatheevu, an islet in the Palk Strait, to participate in the annual St Anthony's church festival, which would begin later this evening.
Officials said the pilgrims, mostly local fishermen, were allowed to carry Rs 5,000 each and were checked before boarding the boats, they added.
Ramanathapuram district collector S Natarajan saw them off at the fishing harbour here.
The pilgrims, including 336 women and 52 children, set out for Katchatheevu in 62 mechanised boats and two country boats.
They would return tomorrow, officials said.
The pilgrims carried a portrait of St Anthony and a wooden cross to be given as thanksgiving gift for the church.
Last year, the pilgrimage was boycotted by Rameswaram fishermen after a fisherman was allegedly gunned down by the Sri Lankan Navy.
Katchatheevu was ceded to Sri Lanka by India in 1974.