The imperial procession of ‘Garuda Seva’ took off to a ceremonial start at the predesignated time of 7 p.m. on Saturday amid thunderous chanting of Govinda Govinda’ by the devotees.
The festive fervour reached a feverish pitch as devotees clapped and chanted ‘Govinda namam’ as the spangled golden ‘vahanam’ was brought out of the ‘vahana mandapam’.
Tens of thousands of devotees assembled at the sprawling open space available in front of the main temple several hours in advance to catch a glimpse of the celestial procession. While some jostled to click their mobiles, the remaining offered ‘harati’ standing from their respective positions.
The deity was adorned with rare and antique jewels whose history was rooted deep in temple legends, and they included centuries-old ‘Makara Kanti, five- layered ‘Lakshmi haram’, ‘Sahasra nama mala’, diamond-studded golden crown, ‘kati varda hastams’, and ‘Sankhu’ and ‘Chakram’.
Thousands of devotees also queued up at various corners of the mada streets in anticipation of being allowed to have a closer glimpse of the ‘vahanam’.
The TTD had proclaimed to have temporarily dispensed with the system of ‘harati’ at various corners and allow devotees closer to the ‘vahanam’ to enable them to have a closer glimpse of the deity.
Chief Justice of India Uday Umesh Lalit took part in the festival.