The arrival of most revered tribal deity Samakka is all that hundreds and thousands of devotees waited for.

They all held their breath for that benign moment and it finally came.

As the tribal priests descended the Chilakalgutta hillocks carrying the deity, Superintendent of Police Shah Nawaz Qasim and his men fired bullets into the air heralding the arrival of the deity into Medaram village. Carrying a vermilion casket and a bamboo pole considered as the deity and possessed by magic powers, the priests sprinted towards the altar. The devotees jostled and vied to touch them.

Offering sacrifices

The ardent devotees swayed in a trance, some hurled fowls into the air offering a sacrifice to the deity while scores of others rolled on the mud road leading to the altar allowing the tribal priests to walk over them.

Some devotees sprinkled the blood of animals into air they just sacrificed against the racing tribal priests and those accompanying them in a show of their reverence.

The spectacle raked a chill in the flesh of onlookers.

The roar of hundreds of buses carrying pilgrims into the forest was relentless. It was this hour, the devotees look forward when both Samakka and Sarakka adorn the altar at Medaram village which is believed as most auspicious, hence the unending stream.

Serpentine queues

All through the night, the devotees soaked in the chill inching forward in serpentine queues to reach up to the altar.

Those who have been waiting for Samakka too to arrive have camped in surrounding rice fields and amidst bushes in the forest.

Thick fog

They slept in the open enduring the cool winds and thick fog that enveloped the whole area.

Meanwhile, the pilgrims who had earlier fulfilled their vows slowly began leaving the village.

The temporary APSRTC bus stand that had come up for the jatara burst with the multitude of pilgrims on their return journey.

The jatara comes to an end on Saturday when the deities will be taken back by the priests.