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Piety and merrymaking marked the annual car festival of Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple when tens of thousands of devotees thronged the Masi Streets on Friday.
Thousands of devotees enthusiastically drew the huge ropes of the cars despite a hot sun coming out of the clouds to make them sweat profusely. As the cars, small and big, slowly rolled out majestically in procession one after another, the Sivanadiyars, both men and women, took the lead in playing various musical instruments.
Prominent among them was their blowing of different types and sizes of conches that set in a pious mood among the devotees. Besides the usual conches, one of them blew a huge ‘komugi’ conch. They also played drums and long metal pipes (kombu).
Beating of ‘segandis’ in unison by a big group of devotees added to the religious fervour. Men and women, accompanied by children and elderly persons kept on joining the crowd from different streets, lanes and bylanes.
As the car got held up for sometime on East Masi Street, the waiting crowd on West Masi Street swelled so much so that the entire street was filled with a sea of humanity. Every nook and cranny of the streets close to the temple was occupied by devotees who continued to pour in. “It looks like people had also come out to see the crowd after a long time,” one of them quipped.
While the enthusiastic devotees kept surging in opposite directions towards the car, many devotees remained on the roadside and under shades at vantage points waiting to get a glimpse of the presiding deities. Children were seen sitting on their parents’ shoulders to watch the procession.
For the youths, it was time for sheer fun. They kept moving from one direction to another cutting through the crowds and blowing bugle-like toys that added to cacophony of the crowd in long stretches of streets.
They were seen soaked in fervour and festive spirit by dancing to the beats of the drums that were played by the different bands.
Devotees had organised stalls to generously distribute water, buttermilk and variety rice to ensure that the spirit of the people did not sag neither due to prolonged waiting nor the hot and humid condition.
Some people were also seen distributing caps and visors.