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An awe-inspiring fete

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Devotional fervour: Hereditary priest Bantupalli Bairaginaidu (sitting on the sirimanu) being watched by devotees at Vizianagaram on Tuesday.
Devotional fervour: Hereditary priest Bantupalli Bairaginaidu (sitting on the sirimanu) being watched by devotees at Vizianagaram on Tuesday.

Correspondent

Over a lakh devotees witness the annual Sirimanotsavam

VIZIANAGARAM: Over a lakh devotees witnessed the Sirimanotsavam, the annual festival of Sri Pydithalli Ammavaru on Tuesday evening. The festival was incident-free.

The celebrations started in 1758, a year after the goddess’ idol was reportedly retrieved from the west bank of Peddacheruvu exactly 250 years ago by Pathivada Appalaswamy, who became the first priest of the temple. Since the, the festival was being celebrated every year with devotional fervour.

Prices up

Unmindful of the jacked up prices of coconut and bananas by Rs.3 to Rs. 4, devotees purchased them and waited in serpentine queues since wee hours for their turn to offer prayers to the goddess. Some purchased Rs.10 and Rs.20 tickets for special darshan to avoid rush.

Minister for Housing Botcha Satyanarayana and his wife and MP Botcha Jhansi Lakshmi offered prayers at the temple in the morning.

By 3 p.m., the crowds swelled and occupied every inch of space on the roads leading to the temple and also multi-storeyed buildings in the vicinity.

Bantupalli Bairaginaidu, the hereditary priest, who, the people believe is representing the Ammavaru this day, was seated in a chair with the traditional turban and white dhoti and kurta. Devotees touched his feet in obeisance.

Procession

As he was seated and fastened to the ‘asanam’ on the Sirimanu, volunteers lifted it to the ceremonial post towards the sky around 4.30 p.m. Devotees who were till then witnessing the process rained bananas at the ceremonial post. It was drawn by volunteers from the temple to the fort and back for three times.

While the family members of Pusapati Gajapathis witnessed the function from atop the fort, Mr. Satyanarayana, Ms. Jhansi, MLA K. Veerabhadraswamy and others watched it from DCCB building premises.

The barricades that were put up to regulate the people at a cost of Rs.5 lakhs caused more inconvenience as those who wanted to leave the place after the first trip could not get out of it and there was near stampede at the fort when Sirimanu completed the last trip. The police maintained in a press release that the celebrations were peaceful.


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