Usually, the flag hoisting ceremony would take place amidst a huge gathering of devotees. With people chanting slogans, temple priests hoisted the ceremonious flag at around 10.45 am, on the decked flagpole. Usually, the ceremonious flag would be taken on an elephant before hoisting the flag, sources said.
Thoothukudi Collector Sandeep Nanduri, when contacted, said despite restrictions, necessary arrangements are in place in the vicinity of Goddess Mutharamman temple at Kulasekarapattinam. Days ahead of the festival, a team of officials inspected the spot and made assessments on accommodating the devotees in spaces earmarked for the celebration. The district administration after holding a meeting with the administrative staff of the temple decided to allow 8,000 devotees every day throughout the festival. While the entry of devotees through online tickets is restricted to 6,000, as many as 2,000 devotees would be allowed to collect tickets in person before accessing the temple. Each of the devotees would be given kaappu. However, Soorasamharam, a significant event of the festival scheduled on the day on October 26, would be performed inside the temple premises to avoid crowding at the seashore, where a large number of devotees would witness the killing of Magishasuran.
“The proceedings of the festival would be telecasted through Youtube channel and local channels for devotees. Adequate police personnel numbering around 1,500 have been deployed in the precincts of the temple,” the Collector said. Sources said except on day one, the flag hoisting schedule, Soorasamharam on the tenth day and ‘flag lowering ceremony’ on the eleventh day, flag-lowering would not be allowed. Thoothukudi Superintendent of Police S Jeyakumar was among those witnessed the ceremony.