Roads from Mylapore leading to Adyar were packed on Wednesday evening with people heading to Annai Vailankanni Shrine in Besant Nagar for the flag hoisting and Mass that opens the annual feast of Our Lady.
Pilgrims who make vows to walk to the shrine from their homes began to hit the road since morning and the stream grew thick by lunch time, with people walking on both sides of the roads.
R K Mutt Road, C P Ramaswamy Road, Kamaraj Salai off the Marina and San Thome High Road were packed with thousands of people walking southwards.
Police were stationed at many points at the far end of R A Puram to regulate the crowd and dissuade them from spilling on to the road. But later in the evening, people had to walk on the roadsides as the flow of pilgrims was huge and traffic jams occured in Mylapore and Adyar.
Volunteers had set up stalls in San Thome to provide snacks and water to the pilgrims.