Madurai: The decorated idol of Lord Sundararaja Perumal, popularly called Lord Kallazhagar, started its journey from the Tallakulam temple in the early hours, followed by thousands of devotees, and entered the Vaigai at the auspicious time, 6.30 am.
On the riverbed, the deity was received as per tradition by Lord Veeraraghava Perumal, mounted on his silver stallion. Earlier, Lord Kallazhagar’s idol was adorned with a garland of tulsi brought from the famous Sri Aandal Temple at Srivilliputhur -- a customary practice to express the affection of Goddess Aandal towards the Lord. After the rituals in the Vaigai, Lord Kallazhagar was again taken in a procession to the historic Ramarayar Mandapam in the city, where devotees doused water on the Lord. The spectacular event, considered one of the grandest religious celebrations in the sub-continent, was held as part of the ongoing 12-day annual Chithirai Brahmotsavam festival of the world-renowned Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple.
Police estimate that more than five lakh people had converged in Madurai city from various parts of Tamil Nadu to witness the event. With the Chithirai (April-May) festival being held with the participation of devotees after two years’ gap following the lockdown, people started swarming since the wee hours today to obtain closer view.
Two dead in stampede:
Two people were killed and eight others injured, in a stampede during the ceremony of ‘Lord Kallazhagar entering the Vaigai’ on Saturday. The deceased have been identified as Jayalakshmi (62), wife of Poovalingam, from Nagakanni Koil Street, Sellur, Madurai and Selvam (47), a resident of Uthamapalayam, Theni district. Those injured have been admitted to Government Rajaji Hospital (GRH). The people being treated are- Muniyammal of Dindigul, Mariyammal of Kokkulam, Checkanurani, Madurai, Sathya of Thirumangalam, Jeyalakshmi of Sammattipuram, Madurai, Manimegalai of Ammapatti, Valli of Aviyur, Panchavarnam of Villur, Maheswari of Sellur, Muthukrishnaveni, Sellur and Suganthiramani of Thirumangalam.
Chief Minister MK Stalin announced a solatium of Rs 5 lakh each to the families of the two people who lost their lives, Rs 2 lakh to the grievously injured besides Rs 1 lakh each to those who sustained simple injuries from the Chief Minister’s Public Relief Fund and ordered the disbursement of the relief immediately.