MONDAIKAD (Tamil Nadu):
The 10-day-long annual “Koda” festival at the famed Mondaikad Bhagavathy Temple in this coastal town began today with the traditional flag-unfurling (Kodiyettu) ceremony in the presence of thousands of devotees from Kerala and Tamil Nadu.
The temple Tantri Edakkode Sankaranarayanan initiated the festival rites in the presence of Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan as devotees chanted “Ämmai Saranam, Devi Saranam.” Others who attended include: A Vijayakumar, MP, District Collector Aravind, District police chief V Badri Narayanan, J G Prince, MLA, former Minister K T Pachaimal and Devaswom Joint Commissioner M Anbumani.
The legendary Koda will take place on March 9 attended by lakhs of devotees from the various regions of Tamil Nadu and the southern parts of Kerala.
“Valiyapadukka,” one of the major rituals conducted during the festival, will be held on March 5 and the procession of “Valiya Theevatti” on March 8.
The festival concludes on March 9 with the “Odukku Pooja” at midnight.
Although devotees offer pongala at the temple daily, on festival days, their number swells to thousands. During the festival season, thousands of devotees come to Mondaikad from south Kerala. Keeping that in view the Tamil Nadu government has made elaborate arrangements to regulate the flow of pilgrims.
The Tamil Nadu police has deployed 1,000 special police and a contingent of Marine Police as part of security preparations and control the queues. Half a dozen watchtowers have been installed around the temple including the coastal areas.
The Mondaikad Devi Temple is situated off the sea coast near Colachel of the erstwhile Travancore princely state. Despite being in Tamil Nadu, the temple and its festivals are run as per the rites and traditions followed in Kerala. It was in 1803 that the former ruler of Travancore took over the administration of the temple. The temple is now administered by Kanniyakumari Devaswom Board.
Meanwhile, the 84th annual Hindu Maha Sammelan organised by the Haindava Seva Sangham got off to a start on Sunday with Telangana Governor Dr. Tamilisai Soundararajan inaugurating it by lighting the lamp.
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