Sanipeyarchi festival at Tirunallar temple to be scaled down: Kiran Bedi

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Karaikal, Dec 24 (PTI): Puducherry Lt Governor Kiran Bedi on Thursday said the Sanipeyarchi festival on December 27 at Lord Saneeswara temple in Tirunallar, will be scaled down due to Covid-19 pandemic.

The decision to scale down the festival had been taken following a meeting of a five-member committeeconvened on the directions of the Madras High Court, she told reporters at Tarangambadi near here.

Passing orders on a petition byu a Karaikal resident seeking cancellation of the Sanipeyarchi festival (transit of Saturn) at the Tirunallar temple due to Covid-19, the Madras High Court had directed that the festival can be conducted and asked the Puducherry territorial administration to convene a meeting of officials and the petitioner to arrive at the guidelines.

Accordingly, the Puducherry Lt Governor conducted the meeting at Tarangambadi on Thursday.

Puducherry HR and CE Secretary Sundaresan, Karaikal district Collector Arjun Sharma, Temple Executive Officer Aadarsh, and the petitioner Nathan participated in the meeting.

After the meeting, the Lt Governor announced that it had been decided to scale down the festival.

'The festival will be conducted with the participation of lesser number of pilgrims. It will not be on the usual large scale. Those attending the festival should produce a Covid-19 negative certificate. In addition, all Covid-19 prevention and precautionary measures will be followed stringently,' she said.

She also said the Karaikal Collector will soon release fresh guidelines and other details.

The Lord Saneeswara temple at Tirunallar in Karaikal district is the only temple dedicated to Lord Saneeswara in the whole of India.

Saturn's transit from one zodiac sign to another is observed as 'Sanipeyarchi' and it occurs once in two-and-half years.

The previousSanipeyarchiwas held in 2017.

The festival usually attracts several lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of the country to the temple in Tirunallar.PTI CORR SS PTI PTI