A large number of devotees flooded the four Masi streets in Madurai to witness the chariot festival of the Meenakshi Amman Temple on the 11th day of the annual Chithirai festival in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai on Wednesday. The procession of the Chariot started in East Masi Street. Amidst chanting the hymns and names of Meenakshi Amman, hundreds of people are pulling the ropes of the Chariot and leading it along the four Masi streets.
Police personnel were also deployed in large numbers to provide security for the chariot and regulate the huge crowd of devotees. While thousands of people reached the Meenakshi Amman temple of Madurai on the 10th day of the Chithirai festival.
More than 20 transgenders who came with “mulaipari” on their heads attended the Chithirai festival on Tuesday. Attending the festivities, one of the transgenders said, “Usually we visit the Chithirai festival in Koothandavar temple but this time we wanted to attend Madurai Chithirai festival. We are very happy to have participated in the Madurai Chithirai Festival.”
On the 10th day of the festival, many children participated in the festivities dressed as Murugan, Meenakshi Amman and Sivan. Parents led the street processions by dressing their children as gods. A 7-year-old girl named Megasai has been participating in the procession for the past 9 days, in various dresses like Kundavai, and Goddess Meenakshi.
A few days ago, Megasai attended the procession dressed as Kundavai (princess of the Chola empire), a character played by actor Trisha in the recently released Maniratnam movie, Ponniyin Selvan 2. It went viral on social media. Trisha saw this photo on social media and congratulated the girl Megasai through social media. Megasai said, “I dressed up as Princess Kundavai and Goddess Meenakshi and attended the Cithirai festival. The day before yesterday I dressed up as Sundari and actress Trisha praised it.”
“I wanted my child to dress up as a god and participate in the festival. So this year I attended the festival dressing her up as Kundavai and Goddess Meenakshi and actress Trisha praised my child. Today my daughter dressed up as Lord Meenakshi Amman”, Megasai’s mother, Priya said. Thousands of devotees attended the Thirukalyanam (celestial wedding) held at Meenakshi Amman Temple on the 9th day of the Chithirai festival in Madurai on Monday.
A huge number of devotees who did not get a pass to enter inside watched the rituals broadcast live on the LED screen installed outside the temple. The Pattabhishekam ceremony also known as the coronation ceremony was held for Goddess Meenakshi Amman on Monday.
The ceremony began with several rites after which ‘Abhishekam’ was performed to the diamond crown of the deity, followed by ‘Deeparadhana’ (lighting of lamps). This temple’s diamond crown adorning Meenkasi Amman is called ‘Rayar’s Crown’. It is believed that this diamond crown was gifted to Goddess Meenakshi by Appaji Rayar, a minister in the court of King Krishnadevaraya.
The festival marks the transfer of ruling power from Lord Sundareswarar to lord Meenakshi to head the city from the Tamil month of Chitrai to Avani. The flag hoisting ceremony of the ‘Chithirai’ festival was held at Meenakshi Amman Temple in Tamil Nadu’s Madurai on April 23.
On April 27, on the fourth day of the Chithirai festival, the deities at the Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple were adorned in traditional armour, embedded with gems, and taken out for a procession around the streets in a golden palanquin. The festival concludes on May 4 with the Theerthavari at the Meenakshi Amman temple.
As part of the Chitrai festival, Kallaghar’s descent into the Vaigai River takes place on May 5. The Madurai district administration has announced a holiday for the district on May 5, in view of Lord Kallazhagar’s entry into the Vaigai River.