Srirangam: Thousands of devotees on Thursday offered worship at the famous Sri Ranaganathaswamy temple on the most auspicious Vaikunta Ekadasi day, which also coincided with the New Year day.
The 'sorgavasal' (celestial gateway to heaven) was opened in the wee hours with devotees passing through it along with presiding deity Namperumal, adorned with Rathina Angi (dress made of ruby and diamond).
The opening of sorgavasal is an important event of the 20- day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival, which is celebrated to provide importance to Tamil Hymns in praise of Lord Vishnu.
People queued up outside the ancient temple, foremost among the 108 sacred Vaishnava temples, from last night itself and the temple authorities had made queue arrangements in such a way that darshan could be had within two hours.
Tight security arrangements were made at the temple with the deployment of around 3,000 police personnel and installation of closed circuit TV cameras at vantage points to monitor the crowd.
During the 20-day festival, almost all the 4000 Divya Prabhandam hymns are recited by Arayars, the descendents of 10th century saint Sri Nathamuni.
Devotees thronged Sri Meenakshi Amman temple in Madurai, Lord Muruga shrine in Palani and Lord Ramansathaswamy temple in Rameswaram among others to offer worship on New Year day.
Meanwhile, members of the Hindu Munnani today held a demonstration in front of the Lord Muruga temple in the seashore town of Tiruchendur in Tuticorin district protesting against opening the temple at mid-night.