Devotees euphoric as the sun casts its glow on the processional deity

Fervour marked the annual Rathasapthami festival observed on Thursday at the hill temple of Lord Venkateswara.

The temple town was abuzz with pilgrim activity as tens of thousands of devotees gathered to witness the first rays of the Sun fall on the deity of Lord Malayappa.

After the completion of the daily rituals inside the hill temple, the processional deity mounted atop the dazzling golden Suryaprabha vahanam was taken out in a grand procession around the mada streets encircling the hill shrine before dawn.

Devotees who had came in large numbers to witness the celestial occasion, were euphoric as the sun cast its glow on the processional deity atop the Suryaprabha vahanam. The air was rent with the chanting of ‘Govindanamam’ by devotees in tune with the temple drums.

The day witnessed seven different processions of the Lord on various vahanams.

Even though the temple administration was all praise for its unparalleled arrangements, particularly in the supply of free food packets, it came under severe criticism for confining devotees to the barricades. On the other hand, the TTD employees openly expressed their resentment against the local police and questioned the propriety behind ignoring their own security staff who they claimed were equipped with all the wherewithal required to organise such events.

Radhasapthami was observed in the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ (TTD) local temples situated downhill.

When the deity of Sri Govindaraja was taken on the first carrier, Surya prabha vahanam, the sun rays fell on the deity’s feet around dawn, which is considered a form of the Sun paying obeisance to the Lord.

Similarly, the deity was later taken on Hamsa Vahanam, Hanumantha Vahanam, Sesha Vahanam, Muthyapu Pandiri, Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam and Garuda Vahanam.

The temples at Kaligiri in Penumur and Nendragunta near Pakala also witnessed special pujas on the occasion.

Agricultural families offered special prayers at their houses.