One-third of devotees trek up to the temple from their native places; people face water crisis as level in Srisailam reservoir drops
Thousands of devotees thronged Srisailam and other Saivite shrines in Kurnool district since morning as religious fervour marked the Mahasivaratri celebrations on Monday.
Though the crowd appears to have dwindled at Srisailam this year on account of drought and other factors, around two lakh devotees are expected to congregate during the main festival and over eight lakh during the nine-day period.
The Sivaratri rituals began around midnight on Monday with Mangalavadyam and other daily rituals at the temples of Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bramarambhika Devi. Darshan was allowed to public around 3 a.m. after Mahamangala Harati.
The main attraction of Sivaratri celebrations at Srisailam is Lingodbhava Maha Rudrabhishekam wherein 11 priests conduct rituals for three hours after 10 p.m. Parallel to it, Pagalankarana (tying of loin cloth) around the temple towers is performed. The family of Pridvi Venkateswarlu from Prakasam district donates the cloth every year. The Sivaratri celebrations conclude with Kalyanotsavam around midnight.
On Sunday night, Endowment Minister C. Ramachandraiah and Law Minister E. Pratap Reddy presented customary silk fabrics on behalf the State government. On Monday, TTD representative presented the fabrics.
According to an estimate, one-third of the devotees trekked up to the temple from their native places after undertaking a gruelling journey for more than a week. The rows of pilgrims marching to the temple presented a magnificent sight to the one looking down from the hills.
Meanwhile, water crisis was reported in the temple town due to depletion of levels in the Srisailam reservoir. The staff of Devastanam installed additional pumpsets but it had little impact causing inconvenience to devotees.
Collector Ramsankar Naik, Superintendent of Police M. Sivaprasad camped at the temple town to supervise the arrangements. The police deployed around 2,000 personnel for security.
The temples at Mahanandi, Yaganti, Kalva Bugga, Sangameswaram, Jagannatha Gattu and other Siva temples were decked up on the festival day.