Allow us to participate in Chithirai festivities, 'hand fan' wielders in Madurai tell officials

District Collector MS Sangeetha held a special review meeting with the officials to discuss the arrangements for the festival.
Devotees splash water as Lord Kallazhagar enters the Vaigai River as part of Chithirai Festival of the famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai
Devotees splash water as Lord Kallazhagar enters the Vaigai River as part of Chithirai Festival of the famous Meenakshi Temple in Madurai (Photo | PTI)

MADURAI: With the Chithirai festival underway in Madurai, preparations are underway for the final few days of the festivities. Meanwhile, people who wield ‘hand fans’ to offer respite for people during the festival submitted a petition to the officials on Tuesday, seeking permission to enter the river.

Major events such as the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareshwarar, the temple car festival and Lord Kallalagar’s procession and entry into the Vaigai River will be held on April 21, 22 and 23, respectively.  

District Collector MS Sangeetha held a special review meeting with the officials to discuss the arrangements for the festival. The collector also directed officials to make extensive security arrangements near the Madurai Meenakshi Temple and the Vaigai River, and also provide basic amenities to avoid inconveniencing the lakhs of devotees.

Karthi Mayakrishnan, who has been involved in the traditional ‘hand fan’ service said, “Despite submitting petitions seeking permission last year, we were not allowed to participate in the festivities. There are nearly 15 families in Madurai, who have been rendering the ‘hand fan’ services for devotees for generations and providing them some relief from the heat. Since the Meenakshi temple has air-conditioning, our entry was restricted.”

“We hold an important place in the procession and festivities. Yet, we can only hope that we will be allowed to attend the festival. We are waiting for the officials to recognise our services,” Mayakrishnan said. 

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