The pilgrim rush at Kotappakonda in Guntur district virtually broke all previous records as nearly 10 lakh devotees having darshan of the Lord in the hilltop temple of Sri Trikoteswara Swamy on the occasion of Mahasivaratri on Thursday.
According to the legend, Lord Siva performed a deeksha on Kotappakonda to overcome the grief after the death of his wife Sachidevi and subsequently people started worshipping the Lord.
Much before daybreak on Thursday, devotees from Guntur and neighbouring districts queued up at Trikoteswara Swamy shrine at Kotappakonda near Narsaraopet in Guntur district to have darshan of the deity and perform ‘abhishekam’, while hundreds of tastefully decorated tableaux arrived at the foothill.
Politicians, cutting across party lines, appreciated the government’s gesture to recognise the celebrations here as a State festival as this is a popular Shiva temple, with a unique feature of decorated Prabhas (tableaux) brought to the foothill with a belief steeped in mythology that Trikoteswara Swamy would come down to earth if “one crore and one prabhas” were brought there.
While the day-long ‘archanas’ and offering prayers continued at the picturesque hill-top temple, devotees gathered in lakhs at the festivities at the foot hill with a large fair offering an array of games for children, entertainment for the adults, cultural programmes for the religious minded, hundreds of temporary shops selling everything under the sky, from electronic goods to balloons.
Since carrying a pair of sugarcane stems back home is a ritual, they were in great demand.
Cultural programmes did not have the ‘record dances’ as a majority of the identified dancers were put on house arrest by the district police so that they did not participate in the nude shows during these dances.
While 2 lakhs to 3 lakhs people visited the temple, an equal number of devotees remained at the foothill to enjoy the fair.