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Devotees from far and wide flock to Rathotsava

Special Correspondent
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192nd Punyathithi of social reformer Sharanabasaveshwar

The Lord’s Flock:Devotees congregating at the Sharanabasaveshwar Temple to participate in the car festival in Gulbarga on Friday.
The Lord’s Flock:Devotees congregating at the Sharanabasaveshwar Temple to participate in the car festival in Gulbarga on Friday.

Thousands of devotees from all over Karnataka and neighbouring States of Maharashtra and Andhra Pradesh witnessed the historic Rathotsava (Car festival) of the renowned Sharanabasaveshwar Temple in Gulbarga City on Friday to commemorate the 192nd Punyathithi of 19th Century social reformer and saint Sharanabasaveshwar.

The day also marked the initiation of the order — Peetharohana — of the eighth Peetathipathi of the Sharanabasaveshwar Samasthan, Poojya Sharanbaswappa Appa.

Prominent among others who witnessed the car festival included the former Supreme Court Judge and the former Chairman of the National Human Rights Commissioner Justice Shivaraj Patil, and Gulbarga City Corporation Commissioner Shrikant Kattimani.

Prior to the signalling of the rolling out of the flower-bedecked ratha carrying the idol of Saint Sharanabasaveshwar, Poojya Sharanbaswappa Appa displayed the “Prasada Battalu”, a silver bowl used by the saint Sharanabasaveshwar, to mark the beginning of the Rathotsava.

Special poojas were conducted prior to the Rathotsava and the “Sajjaka”, a special sweet preparation made of a mixture of foodgrains and jaggery, was offered to the idol of the Saint Sharanabasaveshwar. After the Rathotsava the Sajjaka prepared would be distributed to the devotees visiting the temple.

Padayatra

As a ritual people from distant villages come on a padayatra to the temple to fulfil their vows. The police had made elaborate arrangement to ensure the celebrations go smoothly.

Almost every single house in the city observes fast on the day and partakes the specially prepared food in the evening after the completion of the Rathotsava.

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