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Prayers to ‘moon god’ for success of lunar mission


Thingalur (Tamil Nadu) : A temple in this Tamil Nadu town dedicated to the moon god conducted special prayers Tuesday for the successful launch of Chandrayaan, India’s first lunar mission.

“Since this temple itself is meant for propitiation of the moon god, we conducted prayers for the success of Chandrayaan as it is bound for the moon tomorrow (Wednesday) from Sriharikota,” N. Govindarajan, an official of the temple, told IANS.

“The omens during the worship were good and we are sure the mission will be a success,” he said.

According to a legend, the moon god is believed to have prayed to Lord Shiva at this site for release from a curse. Blessed after a long penance, the moon was gratified by a pride of place on the Hindu god’s matted locks in the form of a crescent, Govindarajan explained.

Chandrayaan is scheduled to lift off from Sriharikota, some 370 km north of here, early Wednesday.

Thingalur, situated 300 km south of capital Chennai in Thanjavur district, attracts a large number of Hindu devotees on all new and full moon days to ‘rectify lunar handicaps’ in their horoscopes.

On three special days including the full moon in the Tamil month of Panguni (March-April), the rays from the rising moon are said to light the phallic form of Shiva in this temple and crowds throng here to witness the spectacle and offer worship.