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20K devotees to be allowed for Karthigai Deepam in Tiruvannamalai but they can't enter temple

The government had earlier maintained that 3000 local devotees and 7000 from outside would be allowed for the Deepam event. However, it relented after the court wanted it to reconsider the matter.

Published: 18th November 2021 03:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 18th November 2021 03:55 PM   |  A+A-

Annamalaiyar Temple dazzling with electric lights on the day of the festival of lights in Tiruvannamalai

Annamalaiyar Temple dazzling with electric lights on the day of the festival of lights in Tiruvannamalai. (Photo | Special Arrangement)

By Express News Service

CHENNAI: Amid the COVID pandemic restrictions in place, the Tamil Nadu government has agreed to allow entry to 20,000 devotees in Tiruvannamalai town for Karthigai Deepam on Friday (November 19) but they cannot enter the temple premises for worship during lighting of the deepam.

Advocate General (AG) R Shanmugasundaram on Thursday made the submission before the Madras High Court on Thursday during the hearing of a petition filed by D Senthilkumar, spokesperson of the Hindu Makkal Katchi (HMK).

Given the restrictions due to the COVID pandemic and the apprehension over a possible spike in numbers if large crowds are allowed, the AG said 5000 persons from Tiruvannamalai district and 15,000 from other places can be allowed entry for the annual Deepam festival on Friday and Saturday.

The submission was made before the first bench of Acting Chief Justice M Duraiswamy and Justice J Sathya Narayana Prasad.

The government had earlier maintained that 3000 local devotees and 7000 from outside would be allowed for the Deepam event. However, it relented after the court wanted it to reconsider the matter.

Devotees and visitors will have to abide by the conditions of producing a double vaccination certificate duly issued by the health department, should confine themselves to circumambulating the Girivalam path, strictly avoiding climbing the hills during lighting of the deepam.

Entry into the temple premises is allowed only for the Kattalaidars, the AG said.

Moreover, no devotees/visitors will be allowed to stay in the temple town.

Subsequently, the bench issued the orders disposing of the petition.

The petitioner urged that 25,000 devotees be allowed but the AG informed that it would be difficult to mobilise the police force from other districts in a short span of time.

Karthigai Deepam is the major crowd puller at Lord Arunachaleswarar Temple in Tiruvannamalai every year. About 15 lakh devotees/visitors usually throng the town for the auspicious event.

The Maha Deepam falls on Friday. Early in the morning, Bharani Deepam will be lit in the temple and Maha Deepam will be lighted atop the Annamalaiyar hills.



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