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KOCHI: Thousands of devotees gathered at the Aluva manalpuram as Mahasivaratri celebrations were held in an atmosphere of religious fervour on Thursday.
The sandbanks of the Periyar River attached to the Mahadeva Temple wore a festive look, as people from various parts of the district and beyond converged on the manalpuram. ‘Bali tharpan' was offered at over 300 ‘bali tharas' arranged for the occasion. People had reached the manalpuram by Wednesday evening.
Thanthri Chennas Parameshwaran Namboothirippad and Melshanti Mullappalli Subramanian Namboodiri led the rituals.
The Travancore Devaswom Board (TDB) had made arrangements for the smooth conduct of ‘bali tharpan.' The board also distributed ‘appam,' ‘aravana,' ‘koottupayasam' and ‘vella nivedyam' to the devotees. TDB authorities said ‘bali tharpan' would continue till Friday.
About 1,500 police personnel provided security cover to the rituals and celebrations held on Thursday. T. Vikram, Superintendent of Police, Ernakulam Rural, supervised the security arrangements. The Aluva riverbank area was cordoned off from Wednesday. Police had also divided the town in to different segments for easy policing.
Closed-circuit television cameras were installed at 30 locations in the festival areas. Commandos equipped with modern weapons were also deployed to counter any insurgency and terrorist activities.
Mechanised boats with swimmers were also pressed into service for rescue operations.
A 185-metre-long temporary bridge set up across the river ensured the smooth passage of the devotees from the town to the spot.
The Government Homoeo Hospital and the Taluk Hospital operated dispensaries at the Aluva manalpuram.
The Kerala State Road Transport Corporation operated special services to Aluva on the occasion. Corporation authorities said that 35 additional services were provided to bring in thousands of devotees. Parking of vehicles was banned on the sides of the main roads in the town. People also visited the three-week-long trade fair at the manalpuram, as part of the Mahasivaratri festival.
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