For the first time in the last few years, devotees have a hassle-free darshan on the auspicious occasion of Ratha Saptami at the famous Sun God temple located in Arasavalli of Srikakulam district on Wednesday.

Barring a few stray incidents, almost all the devotees could offer prayers within couple of hours to presiding deity Lord Sri Suryanarayana Swamy. Officials of the Endowment Department were seen unhappy at early hours as the rush of devotees was not on the expected lines. They felt that immediate fall of Ratha Saptami after Sankranti festival and presence of heavy police force and curbs on movement of vehicles could be the reason for drop in the number of pilgrims. However, the situation improved after 8 a.m. with the arrival of pilgrims from different parts of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana.

With the spread of news about immediate darshan, the locals also thronged the temple although they generally prefer to have a darshan of the Sun God only in the evening. About 2.1 lakh devotees had darshan on the auspicious day, according to officials.

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