Mangaladevi Kannagi Temple darshan only till 2 PM on Chitra Pournami

The darshan hours at the historic Mangaladevi Kannagi Temple have been reduced during the Chitra Pournami festival slated for April 16 since rains have been forecast for the day.

THENI: Officials from the Idukki district in Kerala recently met with the Theni district administration officials and jointly decided to reduce the darshan hours at the historic Mangaladevi Kannagi Temple during the Chitra Pournami festival slated for April 16 since rains have been forecast on the day, announced Theni Collector KV Muralidharan.

The temple is located atop a peak between Cumbum in the Theni district, and Thekkady in Kerala. It is believed to have been built by Chera Dynasty ruler Cheran Chenguttuvan 2,000 years ago. Devotees are allowed darshan of the deity only during Chitra Pournami every year. However, the festival could not be held in the last two years owing to the Covid-19 outbreak.

During the recent meeting of officials from the two districts, it was decided to permit darshan between 6 am and 2 pm on Saturday. Darshan was allowed till 3 pm previously. Though only one hour was reduced, devotees have expressed disappointment as the festival would be held this time after a gap of two years.

Speaking to TNIE, Mangaladevi Kannagi Trust Treasurer PSM Murugan said the temple is located in a forest area and the Tamil Nadu government has been delaying road-laying works from Paziyankudi to the temple. "So, devotees have to now use roads in Kerala to reach the hilltop. The DMK had promised to build a road here in their election manifesto, and the government should begin the works soon," he said.

Over 30,000 devotees turned up for the festival in the previous years. Initially, 12 hours of darshan was permitted, while over the years it got reduced to nine hours. Now, it has been further reduced to eight hours. "The Kannagi temple is 6.6 km far from Paziyankudi. The HR and CE Department has planned elaborate arrangements for the festival, while on behalf of the temple trust, we will carry out 'annadhanam' (food distribution) for devotees across the State," he added.

Speaking to TNIE, Collector Muralidharan said rains have been forecast for Theni and Idukki districts next week. "The temple lies in a forest area, and taking into account the devotees' safety, we had to reduce the darshan time by an hour. Idukki administration will arrange vehicles for devotees from Thekkady. Officials from Tamil Nadu transport department will check and certify the vehicles," he added.

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