A rich devotional ambience prevailed in several temples and temporarily erected pandals at different places in the city as Sri Ramanavami was celebrated on a grand scale on Wednesday.

The festive mood began in the early hours of the day with the playing of devotional songs at the pandals and the youngsters threw themselves wholeheartedly into preparing of the prasadam, including the traditional ‘vadapappu' and ‘panakam.' The delicious ‘panakam', a drink mixed with jaggery and spices, was served to passers-by at several places.

Mayor M.V. Ratna Bindu and Vijayawada Central MLA Malladi Vishnu attended the celestial wedding held on a grand scale at Besant Road. All the traders of the ever-busy commercial zone joined hands to perform the annual event.

A huge pandal was erected on the entire stretch of the Besant Road and was decorated with flowers.

Besides the traders, employees of various shops and their family members and people from the neighbouring areas thronged the venue for watching the event.

At Patamata centre, MLA Yalamanchili Ravi participated in the celebrations at Koneruvari Pandiri. The temple of lord Rama near Benz Circle too witnessed huge rush. It was the same at other Ramalayams in the city. Along with ‘panakam', ‘Pulihora' too was distributed to the public at some pandals.

As there was a rise in the number of pandals this year, there was a great demand for priests who could perform the celestial wedding. The organisers had to wait for the priests who hopped from one place to another to make the most of the opportunity. A good number of priests performed at least two to three weddings before the noon.

In addition to the annual auction of 65-kg ‘laddu' at Besant Road pandal, a ‘chakram' made of sweet boondi was also conducted this year. There was a significant drop in the patronage for the auction as the laddu was bagged for only Rs.25,116.

A few traders felt that the general economic slowdown might have contributed to this.

The cinema theatres too witnessed huge rush from the matinee show onwards. , as students and other regular film goers made best use of the holiday.

Visual treat

Religious fervour marked the Sriramanavami festivities conducted at different temples across the district. All Ramalayams, Vaishnivite temples were specially decorated on the occasion.

The deities of Lord Rama and his consort Sita were decorated with flowers and at exactly 12 noon, Abhijit Lagnam, the celestial wedding was performed amid chanting of Vedic mantras.

The festivities were held at Rama Nama Kshethram in Sampath Nagar, Kodandarama Temple at Koretipadu and Venkesteswara Swamy Temple in Brindvan Gardens.

Special pandal

District Collector B. Ramajaneyulu attended the festivities held at specially decorated pandal at Bharatiya Vidya Bhavan. Joint Collector Gaurav Uppal along with his wife, Komal Uppal were the special guests at the Sri Navami pooja held on the premises of Agricultural Market Yard.

The couple presented ‘silk vastrams' to Lord Rama and his consort Sita. Agricultural Market Committee chairman Lella Appireddy supervised the arrangements.

Major Industries Minister Kanna Lakshminarayana attended the festivities held at specially decorated pandal at Sri Nagar. Pooja was preformed in colonies and individual apartment complexes with much pomp and gaiety.

All the buildings and streets were illuminated with colourful lights and the celebrations would continue for another 8 eight days.

Several poor feeding and singing competitions were being organised at the community celebration venues and A mix of sweet water and pulses, which forms part of ‘prasadam' was offered at all the places.