Vijayawada

Over two-decade-long passion to serve

Devotees taking breakfast distributed at Canal Road in One Town in Vijayawada, on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri.

Devotees taking breakfast distributed at Canal Road in One Town in Vijayawada, on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri.  

Friends come together to dish out delicious prasadam to devotees on every Maha Sivaratri

The devout from the city look forward to Maha Sivaratri every year to take a holy dip in the Krishna and then head to various temples to perform special pujas on the auspicious day. And there is another section here which waits for this day, to serve the devotees with various kinds of prasadam, as a goodwill gesture.

Tents lined up on Canal Road in One Town distributing a variety of food items and water sachets is a common sight on the festival day, and one of them is known for drawing huge crowds. Living up to its reputation, five types of prasadams were distributed here on Friday – chakra pongali, katte pongali, kadambam, tomato baath and sweet boondi– much to the delight of the visitors.

‘Service to God’

What started off as a one-off gesture by nine friends, this service has been going on at this place for over two decades now. “We picked up this idea 23 years ago and have been continuing the service ever since without a break as we consider it a service to god,” says P. Siva Subrahmanyam, a businessman.

“We began by pooling ₹15,000 from our pockets in the first year and slowly other friends and relatives too started showing interest and contributions this year have reached ₹1.5 lakh,” he added. “The preparations started on Thursday evening to meet the early morning deadline to dish out a mammoth 1,000 kg of food. We have served it to about 10,000 people today,” said another businessman Vandanapu Srinivasa Rao, who plays a key role in organising the process.

“We take up this task seriously and with devotion. Scores of our friends came in today and vied with one another to personally serve the food to devotees,” remarked Ch. Motilal.

An inspiration to many

The team has also inspired many others make a similar effort and now there are nearly a dozen locations where prasadam is served to devotees on Sivaratri.

“We have been doing this service for about a decade now and this year we have distributed pulihora and chick pea in leaf bowls to over 7,000 people,” said Kasula Venkata Srinivas, treasurer of Vasavi Walkers Association, overseeing distribution at an adjacent tent.

“I don’t miss the prasadam here which is delicious and they keep changing the varieties every year,” said K. Nageswara Rao of Gandhinagar, who takes a dip in the Krishna at the Durga Ghat every year on this day. Many devotees prefer to have darshan of Lord Siva early in the morning and after remaining on fast for a few hours, the prasadam helps us break the fast, and it is quite filling too, he added.

“We wish to keep this service going as long as we can since this tiny gesture towards society gives us a lot of satisfaction,” beamed Mr. Subrahmanyam

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Printable version | Apr 2, 2020 6:40:54 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/cities/Vijayawada/over-two-decade-long-passion-to-serve/article30884170.ece

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