The ‘Karthigai deepam’ festival at the famous Sri Arunachaleswarar temple here began today with thousands of people offering worship on the occasion.

Priests hoisted the temple flag atop the golden mast, signalling the start of the festival which would culminate with the lighting of the ‘maha deepam’ on the hill top on December 2.

Thousands of people offered worship to Lord Shiva when the temple was opened at 3 AM.

‘Abhishekam’ (celestial bath) was performed for the presiding deity Arunachaleswarar, his consort Unnamalai (Goddess Parvathi) and Pancha deities including lord Vinayaka.