P. Samuel Jonathan
Weapon used by Brahmanaidu in war still being preserved at Chennakesava temple
KARAMPUDI (GUNTUR DT): A century-old tradition of celebrating the valour of Palnadu warriors, ‘Palnadu Veeraradhana Utsavalu,’ is still in vogue here at the dilapidated Veeralamma temple.
A ‘trishul’-like weapon used by Brahmanaidu in the Palnadu war is still kept at the Chennekesava temple here. It is now worshipped as ‘Narasimhavataram’ and taken out in procession during these festivities.
“The festivities were also part of the Brahmanaidu’s mission to preserve Vaishnavism. Since Lord Chennakesava was the presiding deity during the reign of Palnadu kings, we are continuing the tradition,” says temple priest Simhadri Chari.
Beginning with the new moon (Amavasya) in the month of Karthika, the colourful ritual goes on for five days led by seer of Veeramalla temple, the 10-year-old Tarun Chennakesav. The festivities ended last month, but the local MLA Janga Krishna Murthy and a few others insist on a full-fledged ‘Palnadu Utsavalu’ from last year. Its second edition kicked off on Friday at Piduguralla.
The descendants of Brahmanaidu, called Acharavanthulu, arrive in the town from twelve districts and take part in the ritual providing a carnival-like ambience. The highlight of these rituals is the colourful procession, in which various weapons used by warriors, called ‘Konathalu’, were paraded.
The legend has is that the mighty warriors, who died in the famous Palnadu war turned into stones and then into ‘linga’.
The pool used to be called as ‘Veerulagutta’ and the descendants used to hold an annual celebration in memory of the dead. During the reign of Mughal Emperor Aurangazeb, two military commanders, Jaffar and Farid were supposed to have rested at the place and while cooking food made use of the stones.
Realising their mistake later, they constructed a temple honouring the 66 soldiers. Two tombs have also been built for the two commanders later.
The unique feature here is communal harmony. Many a Muslim elder still takes part in the festivities and Sk. Hasan keeps guard at the Chennakesava temple.