Special Correspondent

TIRUPATI: A freak accident during the ‘float festival’ marred the otherwise grand proceedings of the Sivaratri Brahmothsavams in the Srikalahastteswaraswamy temple near here. The incident occurred when the wooden platform where the deities would be placed during the float festival suddenly caved-in much to the shock of the authorities and thousands of devotees watching the festival amid a devotional fervour late on Friday night.

The deities were however saved from drowning into the temple tank with the vahanam-bearers quickly moving in and holding the palanquin on their arms. Preliminary enquiries indicate that the platform collapsed due to the over-loading of the flotilla which in fact was said to have been fabricated only recently specially for the festival. Sources said that against a permissible load of eight persons, nearly 25 were on board the float when the accident occurred. The deities were later carried on their arms by the priests and vahanam bearers and placed on the banks of the tank. All the necessary purification rituals were performed by the priests as required under the Agama sasthras on such unseemly events.