MADURAI: The 12-day Chithirai festival at Meenakshi Sundareswarar temple commenced with flag hoisting on Thursday.
While devotees are not allowed to participate in the festive rituals, they will be able to take darshan inside the temple at scheduled timing slots in the mornings and evenings, through East and South Towers only.
In a statement, the temple administration said that devotees who wish to have free darshan would be allowed entry into the temple on all the 12 days through East Tower while those opting for paid darshan are to enter through the South Tower only. The Chithirai festival began on Thursday with the flag hoisting and ends on April 25.
The Pattabishekam (coronation) ceremony is scheduled on April 22, Dig Vijayam on April 23, Thirukalyanam (celestial wedding) on April 24 and the car festival is to be held on April 25.
In accordance with the lockdown restrictions issued by the state government, public participation in the festivities/rituals has been prohibited.
However, devotees are allowed to take darshan inside the temple only at stipulated timings in the mornings and evenings, before/after the rituals.
On the day of Thirukalyanam alone, devotees are not permitted for morning darshan, soon after the celestial wedding rituals are over. Thirukalyanam will be streamed live online.
The temple authorities further stated that all devotees must compulsorily wear face masks and that children aged below 10 years, pregnant women, and senior citizens aged above 65 years must avoid visiting the temple as part of Covid precautions.
Devotees are not allowed to carry coconuts or any other fruits inside the temple or sit inside the premises after darshan.