The procession deity of Lord Renganatha was decked with 'rathna angi' (covering made of rubies and diamond} made by Nayak kings and was taken to 1000-pillar mandapam where the idols of Alwars, Ramanuja and Pillailokacharya were kept.

The 'sorgavasal' (gate to heaven) was opened at 4 am for entry of devotees along with the procession deity. Restrictions led to a stampede at the south gate where some people fainted and were rushed to a medical camp for providing treatment.

Meanwhile, BJP and Hindu Munnani volunteers raised slogans against entry of Deputy Mayor Asic Meeran along with HR and CE officials, including Commissioner Dhanabal and demanded that a 'purification ceremony' be conducted in the temple.

There were also heated exchanges between police and pilgrims who charged the former with preventing them from doing their spiritual duty and rites.

The 20-day festival began on January 1 and the entire temple has been decorated with banana trees and festoons of mango leaves.

People also thronged temples in Madurai and Tirunelveli to offer worship on ekadasi on Saturday.


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