Pongal celebrated in Tamil Nadu

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Chennai, Jan 15 (PTI) The harvest festival of Pongal wascelebrated in Tamil Nadu today in a subtle way, as theSabarimala tragedy, which claimed the lives of 100 pilgrims,cast its shadow on the celebrations.

A substantial chunk of the victims who died in thestampede hailed from Tamil Nadu, especially the southernparts.

However, in Chennai and other parts of the state, thefestival, coinciding with the Tamil new year, was celebratedwith usual fervour as people welcomed the auspicious month --Thai.

Colourful ''kolams'' (rangoli) decorated many homes and thePongal, the local sweet delicacy, was cooked in the householdsto mark the new day.

Governor S S Barnala, Chief Minister M Karunanidhi,AIADMK chief Jayalalithaa and various other political leadersgreeted the people on the occasion.

New Tamil films were released today and TV channels airedspecial programmes.

At least 104 Sabarimala devotees were killed and over 40injured in a stampede when a jeep crashed into homeboundpilgrims at Pulmedu in Kerala''s Idukki district, in the worsttragedy to strike the worshippers of the famed shrine in adecade.

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