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All set for Gangamma Jatara

Staff Reporter
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The nine-day folk festival begins on May 7

A painter giving finishing touches to an idol at Thathayagunta Gangamma temple in Tirupati on Saturday, ahead of the annual folk festival set to begin from Tuesday.– PHOTO: K.V. POORNACHANDRA KUMAR
A painter giving finishing touches to an idol at Thathayagunta Gangamma temple in Tirupati on Saturday, ahead of the annual folk festival set to begin from Tuesday.– PHOTO: K.V. POORNACHANDRA KUMAR

The temple city is gearing up for the annual folk festival ‘Ganga Jatara’ which is slated to begin on May 7.

The Gangamma temple located at Thathayagunta in the heart of the city resembles a beehive of activity during the nine-day festival when devotees converge even from the neighbouring districts of Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. The local goddess Gangamma is revered as the younger sister of Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala and hence the festival assumes enormous significance.

According to mythology, a Palegar (local chieftain) ruling the Tirupati region, was known to sexually assault young women, while an angered Adiparashakti takes birth as Gangamma, taking a vow to slay him to protect women.

The Palegar goes into hiding and Gangamma dons various guises to find him out. To symbolize the legend, devotees even today visit the temple in various guises such as ‘Banda Vesham’, ‘Bairagi Vesham’, ‘Thoti Vesham’, ‘Dora Vesham’, ‘Mathangi’, ‘Sunnapu Kundalu’, ‘Perantala Vesham’ and ‘Sapparalu’ during the nine-day event.

“We are making elaborate decoration at the temple, besides barricading the precincts to ensure order”, says Executive Officer M.Ramakrishna. It is an age-old practice to social organizations to take up the task of providing water and buttermilk to the visiting devotees to tackle the sweltering heat.

The ‘Chatimpu’ (tom-tom announcement) is made on the midnight of Tuesday, while the festival ends at the dawn of May 15, with the smashing of the specially-made huge clay idol into smithereens.

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