Thousands witness Chithirai car festival of Meenakshi temple in TN

Madurai, April 15 : The “Chithirai Therottam” (Car festival) of the World-renowned Sri Meenakshi-Sundareswarar Temple in Tamil Nadu was held as part of the ongoing 12-day annual ‘Chithirai Brahmotsavam’ festival here on Friday. Religious fervor permeated the temple as tens of thousands of devotees thronged Masi Streets in the wee hours to participate in the event. Special pujas were performed for Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Piriyavidai ahead of the procession. The devotees started pulling the two aesthetically decorated wooden cars, one carrying the processional idols of Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Piriyavidai and another carrying the idol of goddess Meenakshi from the East Masi Street at 0600 hours, chanting “Hara Hara Sankara, Meenakshi Sundara,” traversed through South, East, West, and North Masi Streets around the temple. Besides, small wooden cars carrying the idols of Lord Vinayaka, Lord Muruga, and the Nayanmars were also pulled by the devotees. The car festival celebrated in the Tamil month of “Chithirai” is one of the important events at the temple attracting devotees from various parts of the state. Lord Sundareswarar and Goddess Meenakshi are the king and queen of Madurai (Pandya Kingdom) and they take out in a procession on the cars to bless the people, according to legends. A large number of policemen were deployed around the procession route to ensure that the temple cars reach their destination without any hindrances and to control the surging crowd. Service organizations and philanthropists offered drinking water, buttermilk, and soft drinks to the devotees who walked along with the cars unmindful of the scorching sun. Medical teams, ambulance, and fire and rescue service personnel formed part of the entourage. Madurai wore a festive look as the car festival was being held after a gap of two years owing to COVID-19 restrictions. GSM CS1230

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