THENI: Amid tight security, the five-day Mahasivarathri festival passed off peacefully at Sri Moongilanai Kamatchi Amman Temple, situated on the south bank of the Manjalar river near Kodaikanal hill, at Devadhanapatti on Monday.
More than 400 police personnel were posted at the temple and at prime locations such as bus stand, market place and on the road connecting Devadhanapatti bus stand and the temple.
Police personnel were present even inside the temple not only to regulate pilgrims, but also to monitor all the visitors during the festival days. (Police beefed up security in the town following a clash between two groups of auto-rickshaw drivers over setting up of a new stand at the village, two days before the commencement of the festival).
Even as the temple festival drew sizable number of pilgrims, traders, bus operators and temple officials said that the crowd was poor when compared to previous year's festival.
More than 50,000 pilgrims, from all over the State came to the temple for the Mahasivarathri festival last year. Every year, this festival drew at least two third of the total pilgrims attracted by Sri Gowmariamman Temple festival at Veerapandi. The formal festival concluded on Monday and `marupooja' would take place on Friday.
Horse shandy missing
For the fist time, the horse shandy, which attracted 250 to 300 horses a decade ago, was not held this year. Not a single horse was brought for sale. Local people said traders used to bring hybrid horses for sale. Landlords and farm owners on Kodaikanal hill and neighbouring districts used to buy them from the shandy.
Sharp cut in use of horses on the hill and slump in use of carts had reduced the arrival. Last year, only 10 horses were brought and this year not a single animal came.
Special buses had been operated to the temple from Theni, Dindigul, Periakulam, Batlagundu and Devadhanapatti.
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