MADURAI: The much-awaited Chithirai festival, also known as 'Chithirai Brahmotsavam', kicked off in the city on Tuesday after a gap of two years due to the pandemic. Thousands of devotees thronged the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple to witness the flag hoisting ceremony in the early hours of Tuesday.
With Covid-19 restrictions relaxed, the footfall to the temple for the festival saw a major spike compared to other days.
Amid the Vedic hymns by the temple priests and thousands of devotees' presence, the flag was hoisted in the temple’s 'Kodimaram' in the morning. The main procession of deities — Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar — were brought to the Mandapam near the 'Kodimaram' before the flag hoist. Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple’s Thakkar Karumuthu T Kannan, district administrative officials, and the city police commissioner, among others, were present.
According to the HR&CE officials, arrangements were made to handle a large number of devotees' arrival, and other special arrangements were made in and around the temple premises. Ticket booking for padi darshan for the Thirukalyanam rituals is presently underway, the officials added.
Also, additional police forces have been deployed in and around the temple and on all four Masi streets for maintaining the crowd.
Official sources from the city corporation said special arrangements including drinking water and toilet facilities have been made across the temple and surrounding areas. Also, several hundreds of sanitation works have been deputed to the temple area for maintaining cleanliness.
Ramamoorthi, a devotee from Madurai, told TNIE, "For the past two years, the festival was organised behind closed doors due to the pandemic. However, now that the restrictions are relaxed, we were able to darshan the deity and take part in the Chithirai festival. As it is the first day of the festival, we arrived several hours before the flag hoisting event to get a good seat for witnessing the arrival of the deities Meenakshi and Sundareswarar procession.”
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- Renowned temple car event - April 15
- Kallaghagar entering Vaigai river - April 16