COIMBATORE: Pilgrims to Perur Pateeswarar Temple are deeply disappointed, as the Noyyal river runs dry alongside the shrine after a weak Northeast (NE) monsoon start in Western districts.
The 9th century temple dedicated to Lord Shiva at Perur, famous for its fantastic one-stone sculptures, and built by the late Chola king Karikala Chola, is this year smarting under severe water scarcity even for performing rituals for demised persons on the banks of the Noyyal river by thousands of devotees on auspicious occasions.
Every day, large numbers of people congregate in Perur to observe the last rites of their dear ones on the riverbanks. They shave off their hair and take bath in the river. They then chant mantras and dedicate food to the dead souls in the river water. They also make their offerings of white balls of rice along with sesame seeds (pinda) to ancestors.
“Due to the weak monsoon, the Noyyal river dried up for the last few years. The pilgrims are forced to use tap water to perform the last rituals. The drying up of the river has taken away the charm of the river and the temple. If this trend continues, we have no option but to buy water for money in the near future,” said K. Kannan, a devotee from Ramanathapuram here.
Apart from shortage of water, the temple administration has failed to ensure drinking water supply and cleanliness on the premises, which is causing inconvenience to the pilgrims.
“This is one of the worst maintained temple premises, especially at the banks,” said P.Sundar, a pilgrim of Saibaba Colony. The water tanks installed in the temple have not been cleaned for years and the same water is supplied through taps to the pilgrims for the last rituals. As rains are likely to come in the coming days, the devotees expect temple management and PWD department to clean up the riverbanks and desilt its course.