Hundreds of devotees in red robes trooped into the city from far off places to relinquish the 21-day or 41-day ‘Bhavani Deeksha' observed by them with utmost devotion all these days. Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam atop Indrakeeladri as well as the surroundings downhill turned into a sea of red with the devotees of all age groups.

After taking a holy dip in the Krishna, they made a beeline for the temple since early hours and offered special pujas to the goddess to mark the occasion.

After the inauguration of ‘homagundam' by Executive Officer N. Vijay Kumar on the temple premises downhill, a heavy crowd of devotees thronged the ‘homagundam' to perform rituals as a sign of Deeksha Viramana.

The devotees were apparently satisfied by the arrangements made by the authorities at bathing ghats, toilets and changing rooms. According to Mr. Vijay Kumar, they were expecting more number of devotees to visit the shrine during the remaining days until January 1 for giving up the deeksha. “The deeksha is observed for 41 days or 21 days and the rush will rise in the last few days as the relinquishment is based on auspicious day,” he said.

He said that they have erected water-proof tents, barricades for queues and opened temporary prasadam counters.

Stating that the number of devotees was expected to cross the last year's turnout of 5 lakh that thronged Indrakeeladri, the Executive Officer said that the Devasthanam has made arrangements to supply 4 laddus to each devotee this time, considering the past experience of dissatisfaction among the devotees of not getting enough laddus.

To mark the occasion, the temple authorities started serving of sumptuous meal at the temple.

Under the scheme, the temple offers free food to 5,000 devotees a day.

Students of SDM Siddhartha Mahila Kalasala are volunteering to assist devotees in having a hassle-free darshan and in distributing water sachets to them.

Traffic snarl

Movement of traffic on Krishna Lanka stretch on NH-5 came to a halt for nearly 30 minutes even though the police imposed traffic restrictions and announced diversions to avoid congestion. The breakdown of a lorry was said to be the reason for traffic chaos for some time.

Vehicular traffic was diverted at many places to avoid problems due to the expected heavy rush of pilgrims.

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