Thousands of devotees, mostly from the southern parts of Kerala and Tamil Nadu, started pouring into the coastal town of Mondaikad as the 10-day annual festival of the famed Bhagavathi temple began today with the traditional “Kodiyettu” (flag hoisting), amid full-throated chanting of “Devi Saranam” .
Chief Priest Chattanatha Kurukkal and Tantri Edakkode Mahadeva Iyer peformed the rituals and hoisted the temple flag at the “Kodimaram,” in the presence of Union Minister Pon Radhakrishnan , Mr A Vijayakumar, MP, Tamil Nadu BJP President Tamilisai Soundararajan and Devaswom Executive Officer Anpumani.
The air rent with the chant of “Mondaikad Amma Saranam” as the flag went up , heralding the festival of the ancient temple , a major pilgrim centre of the down south.
Once part of the kingdom of Travancore, the rituals and poojas of the shrine are conducted as per the Kerala Tantrik tradtions .
“Valiyapadukka,” one of the major rituals of the festival, will be conducted on March 9 and the procession of “Valiya Theevetti” will be on March 12.
The festival will conclude on March 13 with the “Odukku Pooja” in the midnight.
After the festival, the ‘Eighth Day’ rituals will be held on March 20 followed by the Meena Bharani Kodai on March 21.
Situated on the sea coast, the ‘Samudra Darshan” (offering worship to the sea), is also part of the devotional practices of the temple.
Located near the ancient port town of Coalchel on the western coast of Kanyakumari district of Tamil Nadu, the shrine is visited by thousands of devotees , especially during the Kodai festival.
The festival is a major celebration in the area which sees convergence of devotees seeking the blessings of the presiding Goddess, from far and wide.
Swami Thyagarajanandaji Maharaj, the head of the Sri Ramakrishna Mutt, Vellore, inaugurated the ten-day “Hindu Maha Sammelan,” organized by the Haindava Seva Sangham. Former Kerala minister Mr V S Sivakumar spoke at the inaugural session.
Tamil Nadu police has made elaborate security arrangements and deployed 2,000 police personnel.
As many as 200 marine police have been put on duty to ensure the safety of the pilgrims who take dip in the sea before going to the temple for darshan. Special bus services are being operated both the transport corporations of Tamil Nadu and Kerala.