VISAKHAPATNAM: A special ratham (chariot) was seen at various temples of Lord Venkateswara in the city on Tuesday. The ratham, carrying a brass replica of Sri Venkateswara Mahamantra Stupam at Tirupati, has idols of Lord Venkateswara on all the four sides for devotees to offer their prayers.
The organisers, Sri Venkateswara Maha Mantra Peetham, Hyderabad, have launched the ratham in 2002 with the objective of offering seven crore japams (name of the Lord written on slips of paper) every year. The chariot is parked at various temples and devotees writing the `Mahamantram' on pieces of paper, provided by the organisers, and drop it in the place provided for the purpose. The pieces of paper collected from different cities and towns would be offered to the Lord at the Maha Mantra Stupam in Tirupati on August 15 and the next day a yagnam would be performed to invoke the blessings of the Lord.
7 crore japams
"Our objective is to collect seven crore japams each year and to complete 111 crore japams by 2018," says peetham founder P. Sai Reddy.
The first seven crore japams were offered to the Lord in presence of Sri Ramachandra Ramanuja Jeeyar on June 14, 2003. The next lot was submitted to the Lord on September 7, 2004, in the presence of the then TTD Executive Officer Ajeya Kallam and last year they were submitted in presence of TTD EO A.P.V.N. Sarma on August 27.
This year the chariot started in Hyderabad on July 27 and would reach Tirupati on August 14. A large number of devotees offered prayers when the chariot was parked outside the Sri Bhu Sametha Vijaya Venkateswara Swamy temple at Appayyanagar in Marripalem on Tuesday morning.
The audio playing the `maha mantram' and the chariot with the idols of the Lord gave a feeling of being in the temple town.
The chariot will be placed at the TTD Kalyana Mandapam at Muvvalavanipalem and at the Venkateswara Swamy temple at Madhavadhara NGGO's Colony for the benefit of devotees on Wednesday.
It will leave on its onward journey in the evening.