MADURAI: Lakhs of devotees thronged all four Maasi Streets and pulled the wooden temple cars of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple as part of the Chithirai festival on Friday. The deities — Meenakshi, Sundareswarar, and Piriyavidai — adorned with traditional jewellery were brought to the Keela Maasi street in a procession from the temple. The deities Sundareswarar and Piriyavidai were placed in the huge temple car, while Goddess Meenakshi was placed in a small temple car following pooja and rituals. Other deities were brought in palanquins ahead of the procession.
Following a special pooja in the Karuppasamy temple, the temple cars were taken around the four Maasi Streets. A bird’s-eye-view of the event revealed both temple cars, decorated aesthetically, floating through a sea of devotees. People were seen waiting at the top of high-rise buildings to have a glimpse of the deities.
Arrangements in place
Thousands of police personnel were deputed on all the four Maasi Streets to maintain law and order. Notably, the Madurai city corporation deputed hundreds of sanitation workers to keep the premises clean. The civic body officials said sanitation workers were following the temple cars and cleaned the streets as soon as the cars proceeded ahead. The officials thanked the cleanliness workers for keeping the streets clean.
Meanwhile, several service organisations and philanthropists set up small stalls alongside the streets and offered refreshments and prasadams to the devotees who walked along with the temple cars under the scorching sun.
Anbarasan, a native of Madurai, told TNIE, “After two years, the festival is being held in its usual manner. I work in Chennai and have come here to witness the event. The scene of lakhs of devotees thronging Maasi Streets pulling massive temple cars is truly a sight to behold.”
A quick flashback
The annual Chithirai car festival at the Meenakshi temple started off with flag hoisting on April 5. Following the Pattabishiekam of goddess Meenakshi on April 12 and Thik vijayam ritual on April 13, the celestial wedding (Thirukalyanam) of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar was held on April 15. The Chithirai festival will conclude at the Meenakshi temple with Thirthavari on April 16.