The ‘Pancha Maha Rathothsava', reckoned to be one of the biggest car festivals in the State, was held in the temple town of Nanjangud on Tuesday.

Thousands of devotees from all over the State witnessed the festival. They camped in Nanjangud and occupied vantage spots near the Srikanteshwara temple on Monday night itself to get a glimpse of the event.

The rathotsava entailed drawing of three giant chariots around the temple premises. The cynosure of all eyes was ‘Gauthama ratha', said to be almost as tall as the main temple tower, which is nearly 100 ft tall.

At the crack of dawn, devotees made a beeline to the bathing ghats of the Kapila and then headed towards the temple precincts to witness the annual event, popularly known as ‘Dodda Jatre'.

As a preliminary to the event, a battery of priests completed the rituals and chanting of sacred hymns accompanied by a traditional musical ensemble playing in the background. The priests offered worship to ‘Ganapathi ratha', ‘Parvathi ratha', ‘Subramanya ratha', ‘Chandikeshwari ratha' and the towering ‘Gauthama ratha'.

The Ganapathi ratha was drawn first at 6.40 a.m. followed by the Gautama ratha with the idol of Srikanteshwara, and the other chariots followed in quick succession.

Arrangements

The road was recently re-laid and widened for the occasion, and elaborate arrangements were made for the smooth conduct of the jatre. In view of the heat and the anticipated rush, the district administration had provided drinking water and medical facilities. Also, fire services were on standby.

The Mysore Division of South Western Railways operated special trains while the KSRTC operated additional services to Nanjangud from different parts of the region. Voluntary groups chipped in with services such as distribution of ‘prasadam' to devotees.

Minister for Medical Education S.A. Ramdas, Deputy Commissioner P.S. Vastrad and other senior officials from the district administration were present.

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