The five-day programme of relinquishment of Bhavani Deeksha began on Tuesday with a large number of devotees taking a holy dip in the Krishna from the early hours of Tuesday. The devotees began the process of relinquishment by offering coconuts to the ‘Homagundam’ (pit for sacrificial offering) arranged this time at the foot of the hill.

The temple priests performed ‘Vighneswara puja’ and lit the ‘Homagundam’ to mark the commencement of ‘deeksha’ relinquishment. The devotees jostled and vied with one another to offer their sacrifices first to the ‘Homagundam’ in tune with a sentiment.

As soon as the ‘Homagundam’ was lit around 8.30 a.m., the devotees breached the barricades and rushed towards the ‘Homagundam’. As it resulted in little jostling and shoving, rumours spread that there was a stampede near the ‘Homagundam’, compelling the authorities to be on their toes. However, no untoward incidents were reported. According to a rough estimate, nearly 40,000 devotees visited the temple and offered prayers.

The ghats buzzed with activity as the devotees took a holy dip since the early hours. The devotees at six ghats, including Durga ghat and Padmavathi ghat, utilised about 850 showers in view of low level of water in the river. The devotees performed ‘Giripradakshinam’ , which is considered an indispensable ritual before going for a darshan of the presiding deity.

Though the authorities of Sri Durga Malleswara Swamivarla Devasthanam expected that there would be no tonsuring on the first day of relinquishment because of Tuesday sentiment, a good number of devotees had their heads tonsured before taking a holy dip.

The traffic wing of the city police began imposing restrictions on movement of vehicles on NH-9 passing along Indrakeeladri.

The devotees from different parts of the State took the 40-day deeksha in the temple atop Indrakeeladri in October.

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