Goddess Meenakshi’s celestial wedding to go live in TN

COVID-19 impact: Goddess Meenakshi’s celestial wedding to go live in Tamil Nadu

Meenakshi Temple in Madurai.

For the first time in history, the celestial wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar at the world-famous Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple in the ancient city of Madurai will be held without devotees’ participation.

Thanks to COVID-19, the celestial wedding, which attracts nearly 2 lakh people to the erstwhile capital of the Pandyas, will be telecast live on May 4. The celestial wedding will be conducted by four priests and devotees can watch the proceedings live on www.maduraimeenakshi.org from 9.05 am to 9.29 am, the temple administration has said.  

The temple, an important place of worship for Hindus, remains closed since mid-March when the Tamil Nadu government decided to shut all places of worship as part of measures to contain COVID-19.

The wedding of Goddess Meenakshi and Lord Sundareswarar is an integral part of Madurai’s culture and the month-long festival attracts lakhs of devotees and tourists from across the country. And this year, another event which attracts lakhs of participants, the journey of Lord Kalazhagar from Azhagar Kovil to Madurai, has also been cancelled.

Kalazhagar makes the ceremonial trip every year from his abode to Madurai – a distance of 20 km – to take a dip in River Vaigai. Madurai wears a festive look for the entire Tamil month of Chithirai (mid-April to mid-May) and will be soaked in a myriad of colours.

“To fulfil the prayers of devotees and to their satisfaction, the celestial wedding will be held in the first corridor of the sanctum sanctorum of the temple on May 4, 2020. The temple website will beam live the proceedings,” N Natarajan, Joint Commissioner, Sri Meenakshi Sundareswarar Temple, said.

P T R Palanivel Thiagarajan, the DMK MLA from Madurai (Central) constituency and whose family had played a key role in the renovation of the temple in 1963, told DH this is probably the first time that the Chithirai Festival was cancelled.

“I have never heard or read in the diaries of my grandfather and father about the cancellation of the festival. This is probably the first time and the government should ensure that the rules it has drafted apply to everyone. Nobody should be allowed inside the temple by violating the rules,” he said.