The 1,000-year-old temple, also known as Big Temple, is located around 350 km from here.
“Lakhs of devotees from various places gathered at Thanjavur to witness the spectacle of the huge 45 tonne car (chariot) being pulled by the people,” district collector N. Subbaiyan told.
It is for the first time that many in Thanjavur saw the Big Temple’s car being pulled around the temple roads.
It took over 30 sculptors around 15 months to craft the chariot and the trial run was held a couple of days back.
“It was a long pending demand of the people here. The government had allocated funds for building the car in 2012. The whole project cost around Rs.50 lakh,” Subbaiyan said.
The car festival was discontinued around 100 years back after the temple’s car got damaged and a new one was not built.
Dedicated to Hindu god Lord Shiva, the temple was built by Chola King Raja Raja I 1,000 years back and is a Unesco world heritage site now.
According to Subbaiyan, the car will be covered with transparent sheets so that devotees and tourists can see it.
“I am thrilled and filled with pride today. The car festival resumed during my life time,” a government employee told.