The ‘ther’ procession started at about 6 a.m. this morning as part of the annual Panguni festival of this temple, which started on April 1.
A few thousand people had filed into East Mada Street and Sannidhi Street before dawn to get closer to the chariot that stood in its shed opposite Rasi store.
After a string of rituals, the flag was waved for the first tug at the chariot; giant ropes pulled by youth volunteers, pulling the massive metal wheels which have replaced the wooden ones some years ago.
As the ‘ther’ stopped every few metres, some devotees walked up to it to make their offerings while others stood rooted and raised their hands in silent prayer.
The ‘ther’ will roll through the mada streets through much of the day and return to its place by dusk.
Tomorrow is the grandest celebration of the fest – the procession of the nayanmars along with the Lord and the gods from neighbouring temples joining in. Starts at about 3 p.m.