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Vol. XXX No. 23, April 1-15, 2021

Heritage Watch

The Kapaliswarar Temple Panguni festival


OLD

The Kapaliswarar Temple is unique in the sense that it has a poem from the 6th century describing its annual calendar of festivals. We allude to the Poompavai Pathigam of Sambandar. The Panguni festival is included in it too and what we see today therefore is a mark of continuity of our city’s traditions. It is therefore a part of our heritage.

NEW

That said, this year, we sincerely feel that a toning down of the event would have been advisable. Last year the celebrations were not held and to make up for that, there was a closed-door observance of the same, earlier this year. It may have been best if the 2021 edition too had been celebrated the same way. The crowds that poured in on the key days of the ten-day celebration had to be seen to be believed. In a situation like this, the temple administration and the permitting authorities ought to have thought twice about allowing such an event. True the police kept announcing that people needed to wear masks and even went to the extent of distributing these to those who were without them but even masks prove ineffective when it comes to crowds of this magnitude. We have to wait and watch the next week or so as to what the impact of this event is going to be on Covid statistics.

Our OLD is a picture of the ther (car) procession, from the early 1900s, courtesy Vintage Vignettes. Our NEW is of this year, courtesy: Madhan Kumar, Mylapore Times.

Since these are times when an article like this will immediately elicit heated responses that we would have never dared to write this way about Muslim and Christian celebrations, let us assure our readership that we are completely against all religious gatherings of this magnitude during a time when individual safety is paramount.

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