Thiruvannamalai “Karthigai Deepam” lights up
The temple town turned into a sea of humanity on Saturday as lakhs of devotees from far and wide thronged Tiruvannamalai for the ‘Karthigai Deepam’ festival. The devotees witnessed the lighting of the ‘Maha Deepam’ atop the Annamalai Hills on the last day of the 10-day festival of Sri Arunchaleswarar temple.
The 10-day festival of Sri Arunchaleswarar temple that began on November 23 with the hoisting of a flag culminated with lighting of the ‘Maha Deepam’ at 6 p.m. on Saturday. The day began with puja followed by lighting of the ‘Bharani Deepam’ at the temple at 4 a.m.
At about 4.30 p.m., the idol of Vinayaka was taken out in procession in front of the Arunchaleswarar sannadhi followed by the processions of the idols of Murugar, Arunachaleswarar, Unnamulaiamman and Chandikeswarar. The idol of Ardhanareeswarar was brought out in procession when the ‘Maha Deepam’ was lit atop the 2,668-foot-high Annamalai Hill.
According to police, approximately 12,000 devotees were inside the Sri Arunchaleswarar temple. About 20 lakh devotees performed ‘Girivalam’.
Though the Madras High Court permitted only 2,500 devotees to climb the Annamalai Hills, police said at least 25,000 more made it to the hills, taking various routes.
Sevur S. Ramachandran, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Minister, M.C. Sampath, Industries Minister, K.S. Kandasamy, Collector and, officials of the HR and CE department were present. Nearly 8,500 police personnel were deployed with senior police officials supervising the security arrangements. Unmanned aerial vehicles and balloon cameras were deployed by the police for crowd management.