The majestic Sri Trikoteswara temple atop Kotappakonda is all decked up for Mahasivaratri festivities starting in the wee hours of Wednesday.
The festival is famous for processions in which people from neighbouring villages carry long and illuminated poles called ‘prabhas’, and spend the night on the temple premises chanting devotional hymns. This year the temple is bracing up for an unprecedented rush of pilgrims.
Legend says Siva, after destroying ‘Daksha yagna,’ changed into Dakshinamurthi, a 12-year-old boy. Heeding the plea of Brahma, he came down to the place surrounded by three hills named after Brahma, Vishnu and Rudra. Since then, the place has become a popular pilgrimage centre. Since Lord Siva is attired in the form of Dakshinamurthi, wedding ceremonies are not performed here.
The temple authorities have made elaborate arrangements anticipating a huge rush. Devotees can choose among free ‘darshan’, ‘sighra darshan’, (Rs.100 per ticket), ‘abhisekham’ (Rs.150 per couple) and ‘special darshan’. (Rs.50). Those seeking to perform puja to Mula Virat can do so by purchasing the Rs. 500 ticket and special queue lines have been set up for the purpose.
Only those vehicles with special passes would be allowed to ply on the ghat road.
Temple Executive Officer said that two permanent sheds have been put up for the benefit of pilgrims wishing to have free darshan. Two more queue complexes for ‘sighra darshan’, and ‘abhisekham’ have also been set up.
The Endowment Department has pressed into service 100 volunteers to handle the rush. Scouts and Guides and private security personnel have also been pressed into service.
Some 3,000 police personnel would be manning the temple premises round the clock. A temporary wireless receiver point has been set up and about 60 hand-held wireless sets have been provided to police personnel.
The APSRTC will ply 560 special services from Guntur, Narsaraopet, Chilakaluripet and Vinukonda. The fares are Rs.45 for adults and Rs.25 for children.