On Monday, new District Collector Sandeep Nanduri, after taking charge, visited the temple and had informal discussions with temple officials, including the HR&CE Joint Commissioner R Ganasekar who appraised him of the various facets and issues of the festival. He also noted the details of the girivalam on the Magara/Maha Deepam day (November 29) which has been banned due to the pandemic related lockdown and Sec 144 being in force. Nanduri also visited the main pragarams where he was given temple prasadam.
Meanwhile, the 5 feet tall copper cauldron weighing 200 kg in which the Maha Deepam is lit atop the 2,668 feet high Annamalai Hill underwent its annual cleaning when kerosene soaked gunny bags were put inside and lit to remove all dross and impurities left over from last year’s ritual.
The cauldron will be carried to the hill top a few days prior to it being lit as it has to be anchored with stay wires to withstand the occasional gusty wind, sources revealed.