Velleeswarar: A Rishabham procession past midnight but there were hardly any people around

Some 50 music artistes comprising of the ever energetic udal members, the music band players and the Nagaswaram vidwans along with the Sripatham personnel easily outnumbered the devoteesĀ  at the Rishabha vahana procession at Velleeswarar Temple on Monday, just past midnight.
Around 9pm, the entire stretch on South Mada Street near the temple was packed with devotees seeking Gopura Vaasal darshan of Velleeswarar on the Velli Rishabha vahana.
Devotional excitement was palpable when Velleeswarar made his way through the South Mada Street but when he turned on to the North Mada Street well over two hours after he started out there were hardly any devotees.
There were long halts at the west end of North Mada Street and at the Kalathi shop junction; we saw the service personnel closely tracking the IPL cricket final that went past the midnight hour.
The Udal artistes that also comprised a few women and a couple of children continued to beat the drums as the clock ticked to 1am when lord Velleeswarar made his way to the temple after a four hour-long procession.
The historical idea of deities coming out on street processions was for devotees to have darshan at their doorstep.
So what purpose does it serve in today’s world to have ‘after midnight’ procession when there are hardly any devotees on the streets?
– Story, photos by S. Prabhu