A stream of devotees thronged the Kotappakonda chanting the `Hara Hara Mahadeva’ mantra en route the bottom of the hill by all possible modes of transport on Wednesday.
While the devotees made a beeline right from the early hours with special pujas beginning from 3 a.m., the district administration, Police and the Endowments department left nothing to make the pilgrimage to the hill shrine a memorable one.
The Minister for Health, Kodela Sivaprasada Rao, offered the first pooja by carrying `prabhas’ (special lamp) from Yelamanda and Purushottapatnam attracting the attention of the people.
The Superintendent of Police, Ravi Shankar Ayyannar, along with the District Collector, K. Ramakrishna Rao, camped there to streamline the arrangements and to ensure that nothing went wrong.
Among the VIPs visiting the temple included the Congress leader, Daggubati Venkateswara Rao, and the District Judge, M. Venkateswara Reddy.
Come Mahasivaratri, it is time for devotees to throng temples of Lord Siva. Almost all the Shaivite temples witness heavy influx of pilgrims during this festival necessitating additional arrangements to cater to the needs of the swelling crowds. The Sri Trikoteswara Swamy temple at Kotappakonda, under Narasaraopet mandal of Guntur district, is one such place which attracts a large number of people during the festival.
To boost the temple’s image, the authorities have introduced various sevas for devotees like
- a lifetime `abhishekham’ for those offering Rs. 1116
- a lifetime `ashtothram’ for an offering of Rs. 558
- annadanam’ for Rs. 1,116 and above.
The accommodation for pilgrims is taken care of by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams’ Anandavalli guest house and Nandi guest house. The Road Transport Corporation authorities in Guntur district will press into service an additional 330 buses to Kotappakonda, 47 to Amaravathi, 59 to Srisailam, 64 to Govada, 35 to Quari, 30 to Sathrasala, 12 to Manepalli, five to Thripurantakam, four to Pedakakani and three buses to Tsundur during the three-day festival celebrations, according to the Regional Manager, P.V.D.Jayashankar Prasad.