Following the fire accidents that took place in Madurai Meenakshi Amman Temple, the department of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments has taken precautionary measure.
A common lamp (’Vaada Vilakku’) is placed on the temple premises for the devotees to offer ghee.
Major temples in the State were asked to keep the common lamp from April 1. A circular was issued by the State Commissioner for HR and CE R. Jaya that major temples in the State should have a common lamp from April 1.
The common lamp is kept at Lakshmi Narashima Swamy temple (Ukkadam), Sangameshwarar temple (Kottaimedu), Bala Dhandayudhapani Swamy temple (Sukravarpet), and Koniamman temple (Town Hall). Steps have been taken to keep the common lamp in Maruthamalai Murugan temple and other major temples in the district, officials said.
The lamp is kept in a glass enclosure and is connected to a a container for the devotees to offer the ghee or oil.
Joint Commissioner of HR and CE K. Rajamanickam told The Hindu that the initiative has been taken to prevent untoward incidents in temples during auspicious and festival days where the devotees gather in large numbers to light lamps. At present, the devotees have the option of lighting individual lamps too.
B. Sembaruthi, a 20-year-old daily wage worker, said “instead of keeping common lamp, the authorities should think of alternative arrangements allowing the devotees to keep separate lamps before the deities of their choice.”
Sivakumar, a shop owner selling puja articles outside the Koniamman temple, said that he was instructed by the HR and CE authorities not to sell earthen lamps to the devotees. He used to sell over 1,000 earthen lamps during normal days, the numbers will go up three times on auspicious and festival days.