India has stated that the Shri Lankan Lord Shiva devotees will now be allowed to travel to the Chidambaram Temple in Tamil Nadu for pilgrimage on a ferry.
A Hindu group Siva Senai led by Maravanpulavu K.Sachithananthan was working to get this approval since last year on behalf of Lord Shiva devotees. Explaining the reason behind demanding ferry service, Maravanpulavu K.Sachithananthan had said that:
“This tradition of going to the Chidambaram Temple in December has a rich history which dates back 2000 years. It was stopped since independence. We are not asking anything new but requesting the revival of that old tradition the Hindus practised years ago.”
The demand was accepted by India after Colombo agreed to the demand of opening the sea route for Sri Lankan Hindus, India on Thursday said that it was also decided to allow the pilgrims to reach the coastal state on a ferry, which is also much cheaper than the airfare and hence, is far more affordable.
India said on Thursday that:
“Government was approached on behalf of Lord Shiva devotees in northern Sri Lanka, who had expressed a desire to visit the Thillai Nataraja Temple in Chidambaram to participate in the “Maarkazhi Thiruvaathirai” (Aarudraa Dharshana Festival), which will be held next week (24 December 2017 – 3 January 2018). This is a major festival at a, particularly sacred Temple for both Indians and Sri Lankans.
In response to the request, Government of India has agreed to facilitate the travel of pilgrims through a ferry from Kankesanturai (near Jaffna) to Chennai. We expect this will permit a large number of Sri Lankan Tamil pilgrims to undertake this important and auspicious pilgrimage.”
By Namta Gupta