Spectacular sight at Dhanushkoti

The reach of the moons shadow over the sun was 100 per cent
Last Updated 15 January 2010, 19:45 IST

“It was incredible; the reach of the moon’s shadow over the sun was nearly 100 per cent, and we have not seen anything like this before,” Subramani, a pilgrim visiting Dhanushkoti today, told Deccan Herald over the telephone.

Besides Dhanushkoti this century’s longest solar eclipse was also best viewed from the southernmost tip of Kanyakumari on Friday.  A large contingent of over 500 students from 25 States across the country had come down to Kanyakumari to study the phenomenon, which was a “wonderful and great event,”  District Collector  Rajendra Ratnoo told Deccan Herald.

The students were guided by a group of scientists led by Anuj Sinha, of “Vigyan Prasar,” Central Department of Science and Technology, while another group was led by Iyan Perumal, Director of the Tamil Nadu Science and Technology Centre, Chennai.

 Foreigners,  including media teams from abroad, a group of scientists and research students, besides thousands of pilgrims including from North India also thronged Rameswaram Island for this rare celestial event, sources said.
At a place called “Moondram Chatram” on way to Dhasunhkoti, some 15 km from Rameswaram along the extended sandy stretch, volunteers of the Tamil Nadu Scientists Forum had pitched tents for people to view the solar eclipse safely, armed with binoculars and special sun glasses. 

Sources said even as the solar eclipse began shortly after 11 am, the devout pilgrims offered “Tharpanam” (oblations to their forefathers) at the “Agni Theertham” sea-shore in Rameswaram, overlooking the Sri Ramanathaswamy Temple. And as the eclipse was over, with the sun brilliantly radiating a spotless white hue as if it had been “cleansed” of a “Dosha (defect),”  yet again pilgrims had a dip in the sea, sources added.

Tamil Nadu Governor S S Barnala was among the notable VIPs who was in Rameshwaram on Friday to view the solar eclipse. Many children came on to the beach sands to have a glimpse of the sun “being mythically devoured and released” as cardboard solar goggles were made available at just Rs 10 a piece, sources added.
All major temples, including the ones at Rameswaram, were closed for most  of the day. They reopened later in the evening for worship.
As the occasion also coincided with the  “Mattu Pongal” festival, on Thursday night a special “Pooja” was performed to the huge “Nandi” (Bull) at the historic Big Temple for Lord Shiva in Thanjavur. Nearly 3,000 kg of fruits, vegetables and flowers were used to fully decorate the “Nandi.”

Though no major untoward incident was reported from any part of the State, the run-up to the total solar eclipse had its down-side as well, when six members of a family on the way to the Periyapalayam Mariamman Temple were feared killed when the auto rickshaw carrying them lost control plunged into the Krishna canal  in neighbouring Tiruvallur district on Thursday night.
DH News Service

(Published 15 January 2010, 19:45 IST)

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