Chennai, Dec 26: Candlelight processions, silent marches, sand sculpting of the catastrophe and special prayers marked the observance of the third anniversary of the deadly tsunami, that claimed more than 8,000 lives in coastal districts of Tamil Nadu.
People from various walks of life paid homage to the victims. Some of the fishermen refrained from fishing activity to mourn the deaths of their brethren, on this day in 2004.
Several NGOs, who had opened their heart by coming to the aid of the tsunami victims, also participated in solemn functions to mark the occasion.
Family members of the victims took out silent processions, holding candles to pay tearful homage to their kith and kin.
Poignant scenes were witnessed in the worst-hit Kanyakumari, Nagapattinam and Cuddalore districts, where people recalled with tears in their eyes, how they lost their dear ones to tsunami.
Wailings rent the air, amid an eerie silence in the coastal areas of Chennai, Cuddalore, Nagapattinam and Kanniyakumari districts this morning as the family members visited the ''samadhis'' of those killed and paid their homage.
Grief gripped the fishermen colonies in the entire coastal stretch as almost all the houses had the portraits of those killed garlanded.
In Chennai city, students of Government Fine Arts College sand sculpted the tragedy at Marina beach that befell on that fateful Black Sunday. ''We thought of sand sculpting as several people had died on the beach front. It is the best way to pay our homage,'' one of the students said.
In the city, floral tributes were paid to victims and silent processions were held at Elliots beach and at fishing harbour in which AIADMK MLA D Jayakumar participated.
Nagpattinam, which had accounted for more than 6,000 deaths in the calamity, recalled the horrifying experience, even as fear gripped them last evening when the sea suddenly, withdrew by about 60 metres, reviving the haunting memories of tsunami.
Minister for Dairy Development U Mathivanan, along with Tenkasi District Collector S Jawahar, Local MP A K S Vijayan and MLAs paid homage to those killed by placing wreaths at the memorial in the Collectorate campus.
Later, they proceeded to various places, including children's park at New Beach, Keechankuppam and Velankanni and paid homage by placing wreaths at the memorials.
Students from various schools also took out a silent procession at Keechankuppam and Akkaraipettai, which accounted for the highest number of deaths, in memory of those killed in the tsunami and paid tributes to the victims at the memorial. Inter-religious prayers were also held to mourn the deaths.
Representatives of Chambers of Commerce and various political parties took out silent processions and pledged their support to the victims.
In Cuddalore, silent processions were taken out in Thazhanguda, Devanampattinam and Sonakuppam fishing hamlets.
Similar programmes were also organised in southern Kanniyakumari district, which was also affected by the tsunami.