Chennai: Parks, beaches and malls were brimming with lakhs of visitors from across the city and suburbs owing to Kaanum Pongal in Tamil Nadu.
Considered the day of get-togethers, Kaanum Pongal is usually celebrated with family gatherings and outings after special prayers in the morning.
According to sources, In the iconic Marina beach in Chennai, more than one and a half lakh people are gathered on Thursday.
Over five thousand police personnel have been deployed for crowd management in the beach. Special arrangements were made to avoid cases of missing children in the crowd and to control traffic was also made.
The scene was similar at beaches in Besant Nagar, Thiruvanmiyur and Kottivakkam. However, police personnel at the beaches noted that the crowd had thinned this year. “We have seen much bigger crowds. This is even less crowded than last year, which in itself was less crowded than the year before that.
A number of missing cases were also reported, though police said and they were restored immediately by making announcements through the loudspeakers.
At Mamallapuram, police had a tough time keeping people away from the sea. An all-terrain vehicle was pressed into service for the safety of the revellers. , over 1 lakh people visited Mahabalipuram on Thursday, places like the boathouse at Mudaliyarkuppam and Alamparai Fort near Kadapakkam on East Coast Road attracted large numbers of people.
The Arignar Anna Zoological park too saw heavy footfall during the Pongal holidays. This year, over 43,000 people visited the zoo on Thursday.
A press release from the zoo said that over 1,200,000 visitors had visited their premises during the last week alone. Keeping in mind the needs of visitors, several arrangements were made for their convenience, the release said. Children under the age of five were provided with hand tags to ensure their safety. Paper bags were provided at the entrance to ensure the ban on plastics was followed.
However, the number of visitors fell significantly from last year. “They had several stringent rules and did not allow food items inside. As we had planned a family picnic, we had to refrain from entering” one visitor had said.