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People came with their families and after a dip in the sea and with help of priests on the ‘Agni Theertham’ beach.

Devotees take a holy dip at Rameswaram sea.

RAMESWARAM: It was a sea of humanity at the ‘Agni Theertham’ seashore here as thousands of pilgrims from all parts of the country and abroad thronged the pilgrim-island to have a holy dip in the sea on Saturday on the occasion of ‘Mahaalya Amavaasya’, which falls in the Tamil month of ‘Purattasi’.

People came with their families and after a dip in the sea and with help of priests on the ‘Agni Theertham’ beach, offered ‘Tharpanam’, besides making other offerings in an act of thanks-giving to their forefathers. Depending on their personal affordability, people gifted cows, clothing, food etc.

The devotees then prayed at the Sri Ramanathaswamy temple overlooking the sea front and also soaked themselves with the water taken from the 22 ‘sacred wells’ in the temple complex on the occasion.

‘Mahaalya Amavaasya’ is considered particularly important as, according to Chandra Iyer, priest in the Rameswaram temple, legend has it that on this occasion, all departed souls across 21 generations take “special permission from Lord Yama (the God of Death) to visit earth in the form of ‘Pitrus’ and bless their surviving offspring on this earth this day every year. Hence, the crowd was exceptionally heavy since the wee hours today.

The ‘Mahaalya Amavaasya’ caps a 15-day long observance from the full moon day, a fortnight of special ‘poojas’ and offerings to the departed souls in families called ‘Mahaalya Paksham’, according to Hindu ‘Shaastras’, said Chandra Iyer.

Hundreds of people took holy dip in the Cauvery at Thiruvaiyaru on Saturday in view of Mahalaya Amavasya (New moon day).

The bathing ghat (bushya ghat) received milling crowd. People performed tharpanam to their ancestors after taking holy dip in the river. Police made elaborate bandobust arrangements and regulated traffic well. With full flow in Cauvery, people took holy dip satisfactorily and let gingili seeds after performing ‘Tharpanam’ into the river.

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