Thousands witness rare spectacle in Kerala, temples shut

Thiruvananthapuram: The annular solar eclipse was witnessed by thousands of enthusiastic people, including children and the aged, especially in northern districts of Kerala on Thursday, while clouds played dampener in some places.

Annular solar eclipse occurs when the moon is unable to entirely cover the disc of the sun due to factors like its distance from the earth.

During such an eclipse, the outer edge of the sun will still be visible in the form of a ring and that is why it is known as ring of fire or annular solar eclipse, scientists said.

The rare spectacle was first visible at Cheruvathur in Kasaragod, in the state followed by places in Kozhikode and Kannur.

In Wayanad, many people had turned up to watch the event, but had to return disappointed as the eclipse was not fully visible due to cloudy weather conditions.

A young boy in Kalpetta said he was saddened as he could not see the eclipse totally.

“We came here with lot of expectations. But are disappointed,” he said.

A man, who had come from a Gulf nation on vacation, said he was very happy to have witnessed the celestial spectacle along with his children at Kozhikode.

Seventy-year-old Annama Thomas from Kuravilangad in Kottayam was elated that she could witness the rare occasion.

Long queues were seen in various places in the state to witness the natural phenomenon.

To dispel superstitious beliefs that food should not be consumed during eclipse, payasams, biscuits, juices and breakfast were distributed to those who had come to watch the celestial event.

Various temples, including the famous Sabarimala Lord Ayyappa Temple, Padmanabha Swamy temple at Thiruvananthapuram and the Lord Krishna temple at Guruvayur were closed during the solar eclipse were opened after purification rites.

In the northern most district of Kasaragod, a private operator totally stopped bus service on a particular route during the eclipse.

In the districts of Kottayam, Thrissur and Thiruvananthapuram, the eclipse was said to be partial.

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