Lakhs of devotees throng Shiva temples across Andhra Pradesh

Amidst chants of “Om Namah Sivayam, Harara Sembho Senkara”, the ‘kalyanotsavam’ of Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bhramaramba was performed in Srisailam temple of Kurnool district in a grand manner on Friday. Witnessed by thousands of pilgrims who believe that all gods and goddesses get Mallanna married to Bhramaramba, the priest and pandits performed special pujas and decorated the idols for the special occasion.

Pilgrims from AP and neighbouring, Telangana, Maharashtra and Karnataka states, estimated to be around five lakh, thronged the temple. Special pujas, homam and japams were performed by the temple priests. The ‘edurkolu’ was performed on late evening of Monday. Later, the Mallanna couple was taken out in a procession on ‘nandi vahanam’. And also ‘lingodbhava kala mahanyasa poorvaka rudrabhishekam’ and ‘pagalankarana’ were performed. Soon ‘kalyanamahotsavam’ was performed at the stroke of midnight.

The Pagalankarana is a unique custom finds only in Srisailam temple and is the most significant event of the festival. In this a person who belongs to weavers community tie a lengthy new white cloth called Paga starting from the Sikhara of the Swayvari Vimana Gopuram passing around the Nandi idols placed on the Mukhamandapam of the temple. The interesting feature of this event is that the Devanga will decorate the Paga with naked body in total darkness and all the lights at that time are put off in the temple.

The cloth used in the Pagalankarana is woven by weavers throughout the year. Nearly 30 Pagas are offered by various weavers individually as a vow and all the Pagas will be decorated simultaneously by a single weaver. After Pagalankarana Kalyanothsavam, the marriage of God Mallikarjuna Swamy with Goddess Bhramaramba Devi is performed. Temple officials, led by EO N. Barat Gupta made special arrangements.

Police, volunteers and members of temple committee had a tough time managing the pilgrims in the long queues at main temple. Devotees had to wait for over seven hours for ‘darshan’ of Swami Ammavarlu at the temple. The pilgrims took a holy dip in ‘patalaganga’ with a belief that it would cleanse them of their sins. All Saivaite temples in the district reverberated with ‘Om Namah Sivayam, Harara Sembho Senkara’ on occasion Maha Sivaratri.

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Lakhs of pilgrims thronged temples at Srisailam, Mahanandi, Kurnool, Kalvabugga, B Tandrapadu and Yaganti and other places in the district. And also Suyranandi, Omkaram, Rudrakoduru, Kolanu Bharathi etc were packed with devotees. Despite arrangements by the authorities concerned, the pilgrims faced some problems like that of waiting for a long time in queues at various temples. Special rituals were performed in all Siva temples since early morning and the devotees also observed ‘jagran’ (spending the night in prayers) at various temples across the district.

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