Mahasivaratri celebrated as lord Siva incarnates into the ‘Sivalinga' form

Mahasivaratri was celebrated with much fervour and grandeur in Siva temples in Kadapa district on Monday where thousands of devotees thronged temples in large numbers on the festival day that symbolised the incarnation of Parameswara in ‘Sivalinga' form.

Maha Rudrabhiskam and special poojas were performed in the pilgrim centres of Sri Malleswara Swamy at Polathala in Pendlimarry mandal, Lankamalla in Badvel mandal, Sri Treteswara Swamy at Attirala in Rajampet mandal, Sri Agasteswara Swamy at Mylavaram, Sri Veerabhadra Swamy at Rayachoti, Sri Bhairaveswara Swamy at Vemula, Kannetheertham in Jammalamadugu, Sri Agasteswara and Sri Mukti Ramalingeswara Swamy in Proddatur, Nityapoojakona in Siddhavatam, Sivalayam at Bhanukota.

Rudrabhishekam and Maha Mangalaharathi were performed in Sri Someswara temples at Devunikadapa and Gaddi Bazar, Sri Kasi Visweswara temple in Akula veedhi, Sri Amareswara Swamy temple at Prakashnagar, Sri Ramalayam in Ravindranagar and all the Sivalayams in Kadapa district. Panchakshari Mahamantram and chants of “Harahara Mahadevo Sambho Sankara” rented the air in and around the temples.

APSRTC plied special buses to the Shaivaite pilgrim centres, revenue officials provided drinking water and made other arrangements and police officials provided security at the pilgrim centres for the benefit of pilgrims.

Sri Siva Parvathi Kalyanam would be performed in several temples in Kadapa district around midnight on Monday.

Staff Reporter writes: The return of cold air, after soaring mercury levels for the last few days, added to the happiness of the festival as devotees could be seen filing for darshan from early hours at the temple of lord Shiva near the 1st road in town.

The Brahma Kumari's organisation organised a display of the replicas of the 12 Jyotirlinga's at Junior College grounds in Anantapur. Devotees turned up in large numbers at the venue and offered prayers. Members of the Bramha Kumaris organisation told The Hindu that the replicas would be kept for public viewing for nine days from Monday. The event was inaugurated by Revenue Minister N. Raghuveera Reddy. Stalls were installed to educate visitors on the various ways of leading a pious life.

Rituals were the order of the day at Doddeswara temple at Hemavati in Amarapuram mandal of the district. The temple, which is the oldest in the district but is little known is believed to have been constructed between the 9th and 10th centuries during the reign of the Pallava kings.

The Hemavati temple, is considered by archaeologists to be a repository of the Pallava and Chola architecture. The temple is known for its majestic nandi carved out in black basalt granite rock sitting at the entrance to the temple and a six-feet-tall lingam at the centre of the sanctum sanctorum.

The annual Jatara which is usually held at Thimmamma Marrimanu - considered to be the largest banyan tree in the world - on the occasion of Mahasivaratri was celebrated with much religious fervour as people from surrounding villages turned out in good numbers.

Staff Reporter adds: Srikalahasti, the major Shaivite shrine revered as ‘Dakshina Kashi', was bursting at its seams with pilgrims pouring in right from dawn to get a glimpse of the deity.

The sanctum sanctorum of Lord Srikalahastheeswara and Goddess Gnana Prasunambika were colourfully decorated befitting the occasion.

Of the five elements viz., air, water, earth, sky and fire, this temple represents air and hence the deity is called as ‘Vayulingeswara'. Devotees believe that the constant flickering of the oil wick lamp inside the shrine bears testimony to this fact.

Several devotees took a dip in the river Swarnamukhi before entering the temple with wet clothes. On this occasion devotees offer to shave their heads as a fulfilment of vow in this temple.

Similarly, special rituals are performed on the river bank praying for the peace of one's ancestors. The purple-coloured ‘Sivalinga' made of brinjals arranged at the temple stood out as an added attraction.

Feeding the poor

A series of programmes were arranged by various philanthropic organisations and community-based bodies in town where the poor were fed. Water sachets and buttermilk packets were distributed by visiting devotees. ‘Medimix' soap makers distributed bamboo fans to the devotees, which came as a welcome relief from the sweltering heat.

Executive Officer N. Vijayakumar inaugurated a photo exhibition arranged by the I&PR department, which highlighted the State government's achievements through pictures.

Joint Collector Ch. Vijay Mohan, Superintendent of Police (Tirupati Urban) J. Prabhakar Rao, RDO A. Prasad, temple chairman Santaram Pawar and former SAAP chairman P. R. Mohan offered prayers at Srikalahasti.

Devotees visited a slew of Siva temples located dotting the banks of the river Swarnamukhi, such as Agastheswara (Thondavada), Parasurameswara (Gudimallam), Valmikeswara (Durgasamudram), Parasareswara (Yogimallavaram), all in and around the city of Tirupati.

Similarly, local devotees made a beeline to the Kapileswara and Jeevalingeswara (Jeevakona) temples, located at the foot of Tirumala hills. Siddheswara (Talakona) and Mogileswara (Mogili) also witnessed steady rush.

As a mark of tribute, students and faculty members of TTD's SV College of Music and Dance, led by dance teacher P. Ravi Subrahmanyam, performed a special puja to The Nataraja Statue at the college.

Staff Reporter adds: At the Moolasthaneswara Swamy temple, elaborate arrangements for darshan and poojas were made for the convenience of devotees.

The festival was also celebrated on a large scale at Malleswaraalayam at Nawabpeta, Rajarajeswari temple at Darga Mitta and at Haranatha Swamy Aalayam at Mulumudi bus stand.

Special poojas were also held at Visweswaraalayam at Ramakrishnanagar in Kondayapalem.