Festival spirit pervades

Thousands of devotees are expected to descend on the `jaggery town' of Anakapalle from different parts of the State and neighbouring States like Orissa and West Bengal on Saturday.

The occasion is the annual month-long `jaatara' (festival) of goddess Nookalamma, which commences on `Kottha Amavasya', which is observed a day before the Telugu New Year (Ugadi) day.

The temple has a hoary past. According to historians, Appalaraju, defeated the local rulers and acceded their kingdoms to the Nawab of Arcot.

The Nawab gifted Appalaraju the Sabbavaram region. Appalaraju began to rule the region with Anakapalle as his headquarters around 1450 A.D. He constructed a fort, and on its south he built a temple for his family deity, `Kakatambika'.

After the death of Appalaraju, the rulers of Vizianagaram took over the kingdom and the fort. They renamed the goddess as Nookambika.

Goddess Nookambika has become Nookalamma in local parlance. The temple was taken over by the Endowments Department in 1937. Its administration has provided cottage facilities for the convenience of devotees visiting the temple. Suites and fully furnished cottages have been constructed in the temple complex. Free accommodation would be provided for 100 families. Devotees can access the website

<15,0p,,0> for information regarding availability of cottages and history of the temple.

The imposing idol of the deity casts a spell on devotees, who believe that She comes to their rescue whenever they are in trouble.

By Madhu Gopal B. in Visakhapatnam

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