Andhra Pradesh

Shakti temples come alive during Gangamma Jatara fete in Chittoor

Om Shakti devotees performing varied feats at Ganga jatara event in Chittoor on Wednesday.

Om Shakti devotees performing varied feats at Ganga jatara event in Chittoor on Wednesday. | Photo Credit: BY ARRANGEMENT

Amid strict security, over two lakh devotees participated in the annual Ganga Jatara celebrations here on Wednesday and offered pujas to Goddess Gangamma Thalli at the famous Bazaar street pandal.

It is interesting to note that except for the clay idols that are sculpted and later immersed on the second day of the two-day jatara, there are no temples dedicated to the Goddess.

Marking the three-centuries-old festival that received patronage from British and Arcot Nawabs, the Shakti temples at Obanapalle, Santhapeta, Doddipalle, Murakambattu, Greamspet, and Kongareddy Palle localities in and around Chittoor Municipal Corporation witnessed frenzied moments with performance of a series of rituals and cultural activities.

The jatara starts with the hereditary “Dharmakarta” of the festival and former MLA C.K. Babu rendering “Tholi Puja” (initiation) at Ponniyamman Koil temple, and other pandals.

After dawn, the Ambali ritual (a dish made of rice, ragi, and curd) commences, continuing till late night. Hundreds of devotees take part in the ritual that includes pouring the “ambali” into the barrels kept near the deity, before collecting some of it for themselves.

Later, the idol was taken out in a grand procession through the arterial junctions of the town before getting immersed in the Kattamanchi tank bring curtains on the two-day event. As is the tradition in vogue since the British times, thousands of devotees from Tamil Nadu and Karnataka participated in the festival at the invitation of their relatives in Chittoor.

The "Om Shakti" devotees performed some of the awe-inspiring feats, including pulling lorries with hooks clipped to their bodies and piercing mini-trishuls through their cheeks.

Meanwhile, the annual event, which was celebrated on a grand scale after two years, became an opportunity for the local politicians to show their strengths to the public.

While local ruling party MLA A. Srinivasulu went round the Shakti temples, offering pujas on a normal scale, APSRTC vice-chairman M. Vijayananda Reddy, largely perceived as a contender for the MLA ticket in 2024, presented the traditional gift to the presiding deity.

At Santhapeta locality, a YSRCP youth leader, Bhupesh Gopinath, son of former MLA late Gopinath, made high-profile arrangements for the local Shakti temple, with illumination works for several kilometers.

Though the traffic snarls were witnessed in the corporation in the early hours, Deputy SP N. Sudhakar Reddy formed special teams to immediately clear them on busy routes towards Vellore, Chennai, Tirupati, and Puttur.


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Printable version | Jun 29, 2022 5:17:13 am | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/andhra-pradesh/shakti-temples-come-alive-during-gangamma-jatara-fete-in-chittoor/article65426216.ece