A 12-day-long round-the-clock ‘Athirathram’, said to be the world’s oldest surviving, 4,000-year-old Vedic ritual, was kicked off by Minister for Textiles G. Prasad Rao at Keesaragutta on Saturday.

It will go on till April 24. ‘Athirathram’ was conducted last year at Khammam.

Organised by ‘Thapass,’ a body of individuals involved in performing ancient rituals, it consists of ‘homams’ and Vedic chanting with the objective of promoting universal harmony, peace, solidarity, prosperity and spiritual enlightenment.