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Huge crowd during flag hoisting of Deepam fest shocks officials
Tiruvannamalai district officials were taken aback on seeing the huge crowd that gathered to witness the flag hoisting ceremony of the 10-day annual Karathigai Deepam festival at the Arulmigu Arunachaleswarar temple on Wednesday.
The administration had imposed restrictions on the participation of devotees and pilgrims temple to witness the lighting of the Barani and Maha deepams on November 19 and also the girivalam the same day as part of pandemic preventive measures. Though only district and temple officials, archakas and palanquin bearers were supposed to be allowed inside, officials were shocked see a big crowd inside the shrine.
Enquiries revealed that the crowd could have been avoided had pass distributions been done by the revenue department. Temple sources said that they were unable to say no tp relatives of present and former trustees who demanded passes. “Also DMK and opposition AIADMK VIPs, who seek passes, bring along with them attendants, resulting in a big crowd at the temple,” said an official seeking anonymity. Another source revealed that numbers could be restricted if passes were given only to temple staff on duty.
Locals said many were agog to participate in the festivities as it was cancelled last year due to the pandemic. “Even if it is a low-key event, we still want to witness it,” said R Sethu, a long-time resident.
Meanwhile temple officials procured 3.50 tonnes quality ghee from Tiruvannamalai Aavin to be used to light the deepam atop the 2668-foot Annamalai Hill on November 19. An anonymous donor from Kumbakonam had also donated two 5-foot-high copper cauldrons to light the deepam. One would be used and the other kept as reserve, officials said.
Also 4 temple umbrellas given by the Vellore Jalakanteswarar temple reached the temple town in the evening after poojas were performed for it by priests of all temples enroute to Tiruvannamalai from Vellore.
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