The Mahasivaratri festival was celebrated with religious fervour at the historic Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Devasthanam in Vemulawada here on Monday.
Since Sunday, devotees from various parts of the State as well as neighbouring states including Maharashtra have been pouring into the temple town to offer prayers on the auspicious occasion. Early on Monday, they started with taking a dip in the holy tank (dharmagundam) and formed serpentine queues to offer prayers and participate in the traditional ritual of ‘kode mokku’ (tying of ox) at the shrine.
Following surge of pilgrims, temple authorities allowed only ‘laghu darsan’, but even that took not less than two hours for each one in queue. To ensure smooth movement of devotees, the authorities provided drinking water facilities and also distributed snacks.
In keeping with the age-old tradition, priests from the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam led by Dollar Seshadhri and Joint Executive Officer K.S. Srinivasa Raju arrived from Tirumala and presented silk vastrams to the presiding deities here.
Similarly, Minister for Health Etaala Rajender and Minister for Endowments A. Indrakaran Reddy also offered silk vastrams on behalf of the State government along with Karimnagar MP B. Vinod Kumar, local legislator Ch Ramesh Babu, Zilla Parishad chairperson Tula Uma and MLC Naradasu Laxman Rao.
Maharashtra Finance Minister Sudhir Mungantiwar along with his family arrived at the temple for darsan after being accorded a traditional welcome. Endowments Commissioner Anil Kumar and senior IAS officer Sandeep Kumar Sultania also offered prayers.
Collector P. Venkatram Reddy and Joint Collector Yasmeen Basha are camping in the temple town and overseeing all arrangements for the mega fete.
In the erstwhile Medak district, Siva temples witnessed huge rush with large number of devotees. At Edupayala, Agriculture Minister S. Niranjan Reddy offered pattuvastralu to the goddess at Vana Durga Bhavani temple. He was accompanied by MLAs M. Padma Devender Reddy and Ch. Madan Reddy. Sangareddy MLA T. Jayaprakash Reddy and Collector K Dharma Reddy also offered prayers.
The Kethaki Sangameswara temple at Jarasangam also saw devotees coming in from far and wide, including from Karnataka and Maharasthtra. Lok Sabha member B.B. Patil visited the temple.
Siva temples in the undivided district reverberated with ‘Sivanama smarana’ as thousands of devotees turned up to offer prayers.
A thick blanket of security was thrown around the temples and traffic was diverted in different routes on Armoor road where the ancient Neelakanteswar temple is located. There was a sea of humanity at Sambuni Gudi and Nagareswaralayam in the city, at Chakreswaralayam in Bodhan, Sidhulagutta in Armoor, Ramalingeswara temple at Pochampad, Bugga Ramalingeswaralayam at Biknoor, Sivaramalayam in Gadikota (fort) at Domakonda and Kedareswaralayam at Palgutta.
Temple committees made necessary arrangements including drinking water and shade for devotees. The RTC plied special buses to temples of significance.
Collector M. Ram Mohan Rao, along with his family members, offered prayers at Sidhulagutta. Tollywood actor Ramcharan, his wife Upasana and Kamineni royal family members were expected to offer prayers at Shivarama temple inside Gadikota (fort) at Domakonda at night.