Thamirabharani Maha Pushkaram, the riverside festival that takes place once in 144 years, is under way right now along the banks of the Thamirabarani in Tirunelveli and Thoothukudi.
It started along the course of Thamirabarani River in Tirunelveli on Thursday. Various rituals will be conducted till 23 October. Governor Banwarilal Purohit took a holy dip in the river on Thursday.
The festival began at Papanasam, and is being celebrated from Papanasam till where the river joins the sea at Kunnakayal in all the 144 padi thurais (bathing ghats). The river runs for 185 km and people gathered along the route from early morning to have a holy dip.
As far as the security arrangements are concerned, nearly 6000 police personnel from various districts such as Virudhunagar, Madurai, Sivaganga, Tiruvannamalai, Kanniyakumari, Vellore and Cuddalore have arrived at the district.
Fire and Rescue Services personnel will keep vigil by patrolling the river between Vannarapettai to Thaipoosa Mandapam using boats.
Ahead of the Pushkaram, the Sringeri mutt had taken out the Utsava murthis and also Agasthiyar idol in a procession to about 600 temples where special pujas were held.
The dates for the Pushkaram, according to sources, was finalised at a meeting held at the Sri Matam in the presence of Vijayendra Saraswati Swamy, Darmapuram Adeenam Elaya Sannidanam, Thirupanandal Adeena Elaya Sannidanam, Thiruvaduthurai Adeena Kattalai Thambiran and Kamakshi Pura Adeenam Kovai.