Andhra Pradesh

Ongole soaks in festive spirit during Dasara fete

Kalikadevi dazzles during the Kalaram procession organised as part of Dasara festivities in Ongole on Saturday.   | Photo Credit: Kommuri Srinivas

Dasara is the first festival to be celebrated in a befitting manner this year after the outbreak of COVID-19.

Setting aside fears of the pandemic, revellers came out of their homes in large numbers to witness the grand ‘Kalaram’ processions from temples dedicated to Goddess Durga in Ongole.

For the first time after the outbreak of the pandemic, large crowds were seen at places of worship as well as busy market centres in Ongole and other places in Prakasam district.

Devotees enjoyed Pravarchanam, music and dance programmes on the occasion. “We are back in demand at temples organising cultural programmes,” said an orator Ponnuri Venkata Srinivasulu after naratting a religious discourse at the historic Chennakesava temple here.

Following the cultural tradition in vogue, devotees oganised the ‘Kalaram’ procession, first from the Ankathammathalli temple near the Yenuga Chettu (a tree resembling an elephant’s leg) to appease ‘Ammavaru’, who according to legend had decimated the buffalo-headed demon Mahishasura.

The second procession was taken out from the Narasimha Swamy temple to propitiate the goddess of wealth. Wearing masks, devotees competed with each other to offer prayers to the Mother Goddess in the flower-decked vehicle.

All Durga temples in the city, including the Rajarajeswari shrine at Lawyerpet, Saibaba temple, Durgadevi temple in Balajiraopeta, Mahishasuramardhini temple in Chennakesavapeta, Mahalakshmi temple near Kothapatnam bus stand and Rajarajeswari temple in Seetaramapuram, witnessed a flurry of religious activity. The Goddess was decorated as Durgadevi on the reverred Ashtami tithi on Saturday.

The city buzzed with activity as people in large numbers thronged markets for their festive shopping. Many shops and malls offered attractive discounts to woo buyers.

Ongole witnesses a spike in commercial activity during Dasara, as it is at this time that people buy many household goods as well as vehicles and electronic items, and use them after performing ‘Ayudha Pooja’. This year, however, sales took a hit of up to 70%due to COVID-19.

“There is a pent-up demand for FMCG items, and customers are slowly trickling in. Sales are not as good as last year but we are hoping to break even,” said a shopkeeper on the busy Kurnool Road who sells televisions, washing machines and microwave ovens.

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Printable version | Nov 28, 2020 2:20:55 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/ongole-soaks-in-festive-spirit-during-dasara-fete/article32938242.ece

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