Lakhs of devotees thronged Tiruvannamalai for Karthigai Deepam on Friday.
This year, the district administration distributed 10,000 seed balls to devotees, who climbed atop the Annamalai for a glimpse of Maha Deepam. The 10-day festival of Sri Arunchaleswarar Temple began on November 14 with the hoisting of the flag. On Friday, the day began with a puja followed by lighting of Bharani Deepam at the temple at 4 a.m. According to official estimates, 4,000 to 5,000 people were allowed inside the temple for Bharani Deepam.
Despite the rain, lakhs of devotees thronged the temple town. Prior to lighting of the Maha Deepam, an idol of Vinayakar was taken out in a procession followed by those of Murugar, Arunachaleswarar, Unnamulaiamman and Chandikeswarar.
The idol of Ardhanareeswarar was taken out in procession and the Maha Deepam was lit at 6 p.m. It will be kept alive for 11 days
Officials said the 10,000 seed balls were meant to improve the green cover on the hill. Close to 9,000 police personnel were deployed for crowd management. HRCE Minister Sevur S. Ramachandran, Inspector-General of Police (IGP)(North) P. Nagarajan, Deputy IGP (Vellore Circle) V. Vanitha, and Tiruvannamalai District Collector K.S. Kandasamy were present.