ANDHRA PRADESH

Crowds throng `Siva Kshetrams'

Staff Reporter

Religious fervour marks Mahasivaratri celebrations

TIRUPATI: Tens of thousands of devotees thronged the scores of Shaivite shrines in Chittoor district on Friday on the occasion of `Mahasivaratri'. All the dozen plus famous Siva temples in Chittoor district witnessed heavy crowd right from dawn.

Srikalahasti, revered as `Dakshina Kashi', witnessed an unprecedented rush, when the deity of the Lord was taken in a procession on `Nandi', the Lord's favourite celestial carrier.

Of the five `Lingas' associated with `Pancha Bhoothas' viz., water, sky, air, fire and earth, Srikalahasti is associated with air and this is why the deity is known as `Vayulingeswara'. The flame in the oil wick lamp inside the sanctum sanctorum keeps flickering, which is believed by devotees as due to breathing of the Lord. As the festival concurs with the annual Brahmotsavams, crowds started pouring in right from the evening for the `Lingodhbhava darshan', performed late in the night.

Holy dip

At Sri Kapileswaraswamy temple here, where the annual Brahmotsavam is on, Tirumala-bound devotees took a holy dip at the `Kapila Theertham' and had a darshan of Lord Siva before undertaking a holy trek. The half-a-dozen temples in and around Tirupati also witnessed a heavy crowd.

The river Swarnamukhi flows alongside most of the temples and hence is revered as sacred, though it has dried up.

The Jeevalingeswara temple in Jeevakona, Agastheswara temple in Thondavada, Valmikeswara temple in Durgasamudram, Parasareswara temple in Yogimallavaram and Parasurameswara temple in Gudimallam areas were decked up in a befitting manner for the occasion.

Elsewhere in the district, the Siddalingeswara temple situated deep in the Talakona forests, Mogileeswara temple near Bangarupalyam, Siddheswaralayam in Kalakada, Ramalingeswaralayam in Ramagiri (Nagalapuram) were also thronged by a good number of devotees. Sadasivakona and Kailasanatha Kona are two water spots situated near Puttur, that have spell-binding waterfalls and a thick forest cover, which witnessed a significant rise in the number of first-time visitors. `Lingodbhavam' was also performed at the Pallikondeswara temple in Surutupalli on the Tamil Nadu border. Unlike the `Linga' form elsewhere, this temple has the deity of Lord Siva in a sleeping posture, keeping his head on the lap of Goddess Amba.

The RTC ran special services to the above temples throughout the day.

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