According to the customs of the annual “Chithirai” festival which started at the Meenakshi temple in Madurai, a 24-year-old female elephant was kept in a separate room on East Audi Road of Madurai, an official said. “When the Meenakshi Amman Swami departs from the festival at Meenakshi Amman Temple, it is customary for the elephant to go in front,” said Karumuthu Kannan, Thakkar of Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple.
Last year, the elephant named Parvati elephant contracted an eye disease due to which doctors were treating her. “Currently, Parvati is in good health and participated in the Chithrai festival yesterday,” he added.
The annual ‘Chithirai’ festival kicked off on Tuesday with the raising of the traditional temple flag at the Meenakshi Amman temple. Chithirai festival, also known as Chithirai Thiruvizha, Meenakshi Kalyanam or Meenakshi Thirukalyanam, is the celestial marriage of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar.
This year’s Chithirai festival holds significance as it has not been held with the attendance of devotees for the past two years due to lockdown restrictions imposed due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The heavenly wedding or Thirukalyanam is to take place on April 14, the temple authority has informed. The car festival will be held on April 15 and the Kallazhagar festival on April 16.
The festival lasts for a month. The first 15 days mark the celebrations of Meenakshi’s coronation as the divine ruler of Madurai and her marriage to Sundareshwar. (ANI)
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