Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam has made elaborate arrangements for Sivaratri festival to be celebrated on Sunday. The temple authorities expect 50,000 devotees will throng the temple during Sivaratri festivities.

The devasthanam has chalked out plans to distribute free laddu prasadam (small) to each devotee who visits the temple. As many as 70,000 laddus will be made available for the festival. The three bathing ghats -- Durga ghat, Bhavani ghat and Punnami ghat—are being spruced to meet the festival rush. Free buses will be plied between Durga ghat and Punnami ghat so that rush at Durga ghat can be distributed to other ghats.

The temple has made arrangements for dress changing rooms and shower baths at the ghats. The barbers will be available round-the-clock at the ghats. The temple will ply buses to other Sivalayams in the city. The devotees can visit the Siva temples such as Old Sivalayam in the temple bus.

Elaborate security arrangements were being made for the festival. Five swimmers in each ghat and five boats will be pressed into service to avoid any untoward incidents. Vijayawada (West) MLA Velampalli Srinivas asked the officials to ensure that the festival passes smoothly. He also suggested to the authorities to provide drinking water sachets in the queue lines and make tight security arrangements.

When contacted, temple Executive Officer K. Prabhakara Srinivas said that the temple would organise Sivaratri Kalyana mahotsavam from March 7 to 15. On March 10, coinciding with Sivaratri, kalyanotsavam will be conducted at Malleswara swamy temple atop Indrakeeladri at 1 a.m.

The kalyanam of Sri Ganga Parvathi sametha Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla leela kalyanam will be organised from 1 a.m. to 3 a.m. The kalyanam will follow the ritual - Lingodbhva kala abhishekam—scheduled to be conducted at 10 p.m. The devotees interested in participating in the event have to pay Rs.1,116, he said.

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