Numerous artisans and workers in the holy town fear total loss of income if the Karthigai Deepam girivalam is also banned due to pandemic restrictions, sources revealed.
Moreover, officials were holding discussions with Arunachaleswarar temple officials on Wednesday regarding the main Karthigai Deepam girivalam which falls in November end, sources added.
The heavy influx of devotees circumambulating the holy Annamalai hill on the spruced up 14 km girivalam path increases to 25 lakhs during Deepam fest.
While the eateries will manage to survive due to their being in business on other days, it is the artisans, specially those involved in carrying the deities and workers involved in polishing the various vahanams of the deities as also those involved in getting the temple cars ready, who will be the most hit.
“Even Sivachariars will feel the pinch as many rely on these monthly activities to keep the wolf from the door,” said long time temple town resident Sethu.
In addition, “there are numerous sadhus who too rely on devotees’ alms for daily needs,” he added. As a sadhu revealed “during pournami girivalams, devotees look after us well and we get enough to tide over till the next girivalam.”
In case of a public ban during Karthigai Deepam girivalam, it will be conducted within the precincts of Sri Arunachaleswarar temple where a very limited number of devotees will be allowed to participate, it was revealed.
Already affected by the lockdown, banning Karthigai Deepam will mean that many – including vendors, hawkers, auto drivers, pooja material sellers – will be hit hard as the annual event is crucial period to earn some money and help families survive till the return of total normalcy.