Over four lakh pilgrims from across the country took a holy dip in the sea here and offered prayers to their forefathers on the auspicious day of "Adi Amavasya" on Saturday.
The utsav idols of presiding deity of Sri Ramanathaswamy temple were taken in a procession to the "Agni Theertham" (sea) for performing rituals on the auspicious new moon day.
After performing "pithru poojas" (prayers for forefathers) for their salvation, the pilgrims also took bath in 22 other holy "theerthams" (wells) in the temple complex.
Temple executive officer T Raja Manickam said special arrangements were made to meet the rush of pilgrims, expected to cross the five lakh mark during the day. About 700 police personnel were deployed in the town for security.
Thousands of people also took a dip in the Bay of Bengal at various seashores and in the Cauvery river across Tamil Nadu and Puducherry, including Vedaranyam and Poompuhar.
Both at Poompuhar and Veadaranyam, a large number of tsunami-hit people performed ceremonies in memory of their relatives who lost their lives in the 2004 tidal waves.