Chants of ‘Om Namah Shivaya’, ‘Hara Hara Mahadeva’, ‘Shambo Shankara’ reverberated at the ancient Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy devasthanam on the occasion of Mahashivaratri festival in Vemulawada of Rajanna-Sircilla district on Friday.
The Mahashivarathri celebrations started on a grand note at the temple with thousands of devotees forming serpentine queues for the darshan of the presiding deities since the early hours of Friday. The devotees took a holy dip in the Dharmagundam (temple tank) before offering prayers.
In view of heavy rush of pilgrims, the devasthanam authorities had cancelled the ‘arjitha seva’ rituals and allowed only ‘maha laghu’ darshan. Serpentine queues were formed for the traditional ‘kode mokku’ (tying of an ox) ritual at the temple shrine.
The temple authorities had made all arrangements for the devotees in the queue lines by providing drinking water and distributing buttermilk sachets.
As is a ritual, the TTD presented silk vastrams to the Vemulawada deities on Friday. TTD deputy EO Harindranath presented the silk vastrams bought from Tirumala. Endowments Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy and Minister for Health Eatala Rajender presented silk vastrams separately on behalf of the government to the presiding deities and offered prayers. Minister for Finance T Harish Rao visited the temple in the evening and offered prayers.
Vemulawada Legislator Ch. Ramesh Babu, Collector D. Krishna Bhaskar, Endowments Commissioner Anil Kumar and others were overseeing the arrangements at the temple and took all measures to avoid inconvenience to the pilgrims. MLC Naradasu Laxman Rao, MLA Rasamayi Balakishan, ZP chairperson Aruna, TSCAB chairman K. Ravinder Rao and others also visited the temple and offered prayers. The police under the supervision of SP Rahul Hegde made unprecedented security arrangements by deploying additional forces and regulating the pilgrims in the queue lines.
The non-stop cultural programme ‘Shivaarchana’ was a special attraction for the entertainment of the pilgrims with devotional and cultural programmes highlighting the importance of Mahashivaratri and Lord Shiva.
Similarly, the pilgrims rush had swelled at Sri Kaleshwara Muktheeshwara Swamy devasthanam in Kaleshwaram of Mahadevpur mandal in Jayashankar-Bhupalapalli district along the shores of river Godavari and Pranahita. There was heavy pilgrims rush at Kotilingala temple shrine in Velgatoor mandal in Jagtial district also.
Various Shiva temple shrines in Karimnagar town at Old bazaar, Bhagathnagar, Sapthagiri colony, LMD colony and other localities were packed with the devotees.