In a strange series of events, the temple priest from Mayiladuthuraiâ€™s Mayuranathaswami temple has been removed from service following a WhatsApp photo that went viral.
According to reports, Raj, who'd joined the temple service six months ago to help his father, decorated goddess Abhayambal, the presiding deity of the temple, in salwar kameez - a traditional outfit from north India.
Following this, devotees were upset that the "sanctity" of the 1000-year-old idol has been tarnished because of the display.
Speaking to TNM, temple manager Ganeshan says that temple authorities immediately decided to remove the said priest and his father from service.
The deity is adorned with sandalwood paste (sandhanakaapu) on Fridays. Only this time, going against the traditional saree, Raj decided to dress the goddess in salwar-kameez-dupatta, â€śThe priest made a different pattern with the glitter paper used generally to dress her in a saree,â€ť explains Ganeshan.
He added that without realising their "mistake", the duo had also captured an image of the deity to be later shared on WhatsApp.
Raj joined the temple to assist his father who'd been working for a while as the priest. On Friday, he dressed the deity in a pink kameez and blue salwar with a blue dupatta.
The decision to expel was expedited by the Thiruvadheenam Aadheenam (Mutt) that also has about 27 other temples under its administrative control in Tamil Nadu.
It is, however, not uncommon for temple priests to get creative with such decors. In January last year, following New Year celebrations, a small temple in Coimbatore district had decorated its deity with new Rs 2000 notes.
According to a report, the intention behind the idea was to appeal to the deity to prevent a cash crunch cash crunch. It is to be noted that this offering was performed after the Indian government announced demonetisation in November 2016.