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TN devotees not allowed to visit Kannagi temple

Anxiety and tension prevailed for sometime on Saturday on the Tamil Nadu- Kerala border near here as several groups of Tamil devotees alleged that they were not allowed to proceed towards the Kannagi temple atop a hill to offer worship on ‘Chitrapournami’.

TN devotees not allowed to visit Kannagi temple
File photo

At Kumily, the Kerala forest officials insisted on obtaining a ‘trip sheet’ for vehicles in addition to a separate permission that was received already to visit the shrine, devotees belonging to Tamil Nadu alleged.

A large number of devotees, mostly from Tamil Nadu, visit the ancient hill shrine near Kumily. Permission is accorded only once in a year by Kerala on Chitrapournami day to devotees to offer prayers. The temple was built by king Cheran Senguttuvan in ancient times and it is dedicated to Kannagi of Tamil epic Silapathikaram.

As authorities of the neighbouring state persisted in additional formalities, the vehicle operators/devotees started queuing in front of the local forest office. Soon it was a serpentine queue of people and dozens of jeeps were lined up along the ghat road.

The devotees alleged that there were no officials or forest personnel at the local office to obtain the ‘trip sheet’ which Kerala authorities said would specify the time within which the vehicles/devotees should return from the hilltop.

Meanwhile, the 2 pm deadline ended and they were not allowed by Kerala officials to proceed to the hill shrine, the devotees claimed.

Till last year, the faithful said they were given time till 4 PM to offer worship and return from the Kannagi temple also known as the Mangaladevi Kannagi temple.

The visitors alleged that this year, Kerala authorities fixed the deadline for worship and return as ‘2 PM’, and added that norms were being tightened year after year to further restrict visit to the shrine.

Kumily is about 60 km from here. The Kannagi temple is situated in Idukki district of Kerala bordering Tamil Nadu. It is about 7 km from Pazhiyankudi in Theni district of Tamil Nadu and 15 km from Thekkady in Idukki district.

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