Fisherfolk pray the ‘goddess of water’ for bountiful catch and safe voyage. There were also traditional folk arts like street plays, ‘samu garadilu’, ‘puli vesham’, and ‘tappetagullu’ in the evening.

Hundreds of people belonging to the fishing community from Jalaripeta, Peda Jalaripeta, workers, staff, and boat owners operating from the fishing harbour thronged the Gangamma temple at the harbour to participate in the annual ‘Gangamma jatara’ on Tuesday.

The festival is celebrated by fisherwomen and their family members to offer prayers to the goddess of water to bless them with a safe and prosperous fishing season.

The women offered turmeric and vermillion to appease the goddess. They also danced to the tunes of ‘dappu’ and other musical instruments.

There were also traditional folk arts like street plays, ‘samu garadilu’, ‘puli vesham’, and ‘tappetagullu’ in the evening.

Earlier, the festival started with women taking out a huge procession carrying ‘ghatams’ and pouring turmeric water and milk into the sea as an offering to the goddess.

The fishermen believe that the goddess had saved their lives and properties when tsunami stuck several coastal areas in 2004.

MLA-elect of Visakhapatnam South constituency Vasupalli Ganesh Kumar, senior officials of Visakhapatnam Port and Fisheries Department were among those who participated.

Fishing season will commence from midnight of May 31 on conclusion of the annual conservation for 47 days. The ban on fishing was imposed along the entire east coast from April 15.

The ‘jatara' was an annual ritual to seek the blessings of goddess Gangamma for a good catch during the new season and to ensure safe voyage, president of the AP Mechanised Fishing Boat Operators’ Association P.C. Appa Rao said.

Association general secretary M. Ramudu, vice-presidents — G. Kunjumon, G. Garagayya, Ch. Yellaji, and B. Pola Raju participated.

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