Arrangements made by officials widely appreciated

Thousands of devotees thronged Simhachalam for the Nijaroopa Darshanam of Lord Varaha Lakshmi Nrusimha Swamy as part the annual ‘Chandanotsavam’ on Monday. It is only on this day of the year that actual form of the deity can be seen by His devotees. The idol would be covered with sandal paste on all other days during the year.

This year’s festival was a pleasant experience for the devotees as the general queue lines moved fast as the authorities made arrangements in such a way that the VIPs’ darshan and their entry and exit from the sanctum sanctorum did not inconvenience the ordinary devotees. In the past VIPs’ darshan and issue of huge number of passes caused a lot of inconvenience to the people.

Devotees started arriving at the temple on Sunday evening itself. The Chandanotsavam started after ‘Suprabhata Seva’ at 1 a.m. It was followed by Aaradhana and Viswaksena Puja after which the doors of the sanctum sanctorum were closed. The priests, their eyes covered with cloth, scraped the old sandal covering on the idol with silver scrapers. The hereditary trustee of the temple Poosapati Anand Gajapati Raju of the Vizianagaram royal family, his brother Ashok Gajapati Raju and their family members were the first to have darshan of the deity, as per the temple tradition. They offered sandal paste to the deity as was the custom.

Endowment Minister C. Ramachandraiah offered ‘pattu vastrams’ to the deity on behalf of the State government. Ministers Botcha Satyanarayana, Ponnala Lakshmayya, Pasupuleti Balaraju and Ganta Srinivasa Rao; MLCs G. Srinivasulu Naidu and D.V. Suryanarayana Raju; MLAs M. Srinivasa Rao, Tynala Vijay Kumar, Ch. Venkataramayya, and Panchakarla Ramesh Babu; DGP Dinesh Reddy, District Collector V. Sheshadri, Police Commissioner B. Shivadhar Reddy and Superintendent of Police G. Srinivas were among those who offered special pujas.

Free buses

TTD Chairman K. Bapi Raju and Executive Officer L.V. Subrahmanyam offered pattu vastrams on behalf of the TTD.

The restrictions on the movement of cars and two-wheelers and the operation of free buses by the Devasthanam authorities in coordination with the RTC have come in for appreciation from devotees. Though some were critical of the restriction on private vehicles, most of the devotees expressed the view that this had prevented the congestion on the ghat road and parking problems atop the hill.

There were no complaints of breaking of the queue lines or stampedes as was witnessed during the annual festival in the past. The general public were allowed to have darshan from 3.30 a.m.

Additional Commissioner of Endowments Chandra Kumar and Executive Officer K. Ramachandra Mohan supervised the arrangements.

The City Police made elaborate security arrangements to prevent untoward incidents and for the smooth flow of traffic. Various voluntary and spiritual organisations arranged free supply of buttermilk and food to devotees.