Thousands of devotees braved the chill weather to visit numerous Shiva temples in the delta region and propitiate the Lord on the occasion of Mahashivaratri on Friday night.

At the famous Sri Brihadeswarar temple (Big Temple) in Thanjavur, priests conducted four kala poojas through the night to the massive Shivalinga. Thousands of devotees from various parts of the State congregated in the sprawling lawns, performed poojas for the 100-odd shivalingas that are in the outer prakaram.

Devoutees also thronged the Sri Thanjapureeswarar temple at Vennatrankarai, Sri Vasishteswarar temple at Thittai, Sri Jambukeswarar Akilandeswari temple at Nallichery, Sri Ramalingaswamy temple (108 Shivalayam) at Papanasam, Sri Kotteeswarar temple at Kottaiyur near Kumbakonam and Sri Ayyaarappar temple at Tiruvaiyaru among others. Four kala poojas were also performed at the Sri Kalyanasundareswarar temple at Nalloor, Sri Palaivananathar temple at Thirupalathurai, Sri Swarnapureeswarar tempel at Gopurajapuram, Sri Airavateeswarar temple at Uthani, Sri Jaganatha Parameswarar temple at Annukudi, Sri Abathsahayeswarar temple at Kovilpathu near Budalur.

In some big temples, organisers had arranged for natyanjali where bharatanatyam artistes performed. Cine artiste Swarnamalya performed at Tiruvaiyaru temple while a host of artistes staged performances in 108 Shiva temples at Papanasam.

In Pudukottai special dance recitals were held all through the night at various Saivite shrines.

The event held under the auspices of the Pradhosham Committee at Sri Tirugokarneswarar temple here stood out in the sense that most of the disciples of Nataraj Natyalaya, Thanjavur, hailed from northern States. The festival, organised for the sixth time, provided an opportunity to the budding artistes to exhibit their talents, said S. Ramadoss, president of the Committee. “As many as 18 of the total 34 children who participated in the dance performance do not know Tamil, as they hail from Calcutta, Mumbai and far-off places,” said R. Vijayalakshmi, Director of the Natyalaya.