Thousands of devotees thronged Siva temples in the district and took part in the Maha Sivaratri festival on Friday.

Over two lakh devotees had darshan of Lord Siddeswara Swami at the famous Talakona temple right from the early hours and the rush was expected continue till Saturday evening.

The Siva temple at Mallaiahkonda near Madanapalle saw a huge turnout of devotees from all over the western mandals and Karnataka. Devotees trekked the hillock temples at Sadasiva Kona, Battinayya Kona and Anantarayala Kona in the district and performed special pujas. A heavy congregation of devotees from Tamil Nadu reached the Kailasanatha Kona near Puttur and performed special pujas. Mogileeswara Swamy temple at Mogili on the Chittoor-Bangalore highway witnessed thousands of devotees.

The Koti Lingala temple on the Chittoor-Karnataka border drew heavy crowds. Hundreds of pilgrims from the district went to Tiruvannamalai in Tamil Nadu to participate in the festival there. Free distribution of anna prasadam, water and buttermilk sachets to devotees at almost all places of congregation peaked this time.

Heavy pilgrim turnout

Special Correspondent from Kurnool adds:

Large number of pilgrims had a holy dip at Pathalaganga and Lingalagattu bathing ghats and had darshan of Sri Mallikarjuna Swamy and Sri Bhramaramba in Srisailam temple .

There was a heavy turnout of pilgrims in Saivite pilgrim centres at Mahanandi, Omkaram, Yaganti and Kaluvabugga in Kurnool district. Prabhotsavam was performed and the presiding deities in Srisailam were taken round on Nandi vahanam. Pilgrims who waited in long queues in Srisailam to have darshan stayed back to visit Pagalankaram slated at 10 p.m., followed by Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Swamy kalyanotsavam at 12.30 a.m.

Maha Sivaratri brahmotsavam commenced in Sri Rameswara Swamy temple at Kaluvabugga in Orvakal mandal with ankurarpanam and dhwajarohanam on Friday. Kalyanotsavam would be performed at 3.15 a.m.

Lingodbhava pooja, Mahanyasa poorvaka rudrabhishekam and kumkumarchana would be performed on Friday midnight in Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy temple at Yaganti in Banaganapalle mandal and kalyanotsavam was slated at 4 a.m.

The idols of Sri Mahanandeeswara Swamy and Sri Kameswari Devi were taken round on Gajavahanam in the morning and on Vrushabha vahanam on Friday night. Lingodbhava Rudrabhishekam was slated at midnight and kalyanotsavam in the wee hours of Saturday.

Festive look

Staff Reporter from Srikakulam adds:

Historic Siva temples, including Srimukhalingam, Endala Mallikarjuna Swamy temple in Ravivalasa, Umarudrakoteswara Alayam wore a festive look on Friday with offering of special prayers to Lord Siva on the occasion of Maha Sivaratri.

Thousands of devotees visited Srimukhalingam after a holy bath in the Vamsadhara river. Srikakulam MLA Gunda Lakshmi Devi, offered prayers at the Umarudrakoteswara Alayalam, located on the banks of the Vamsadhara.

Women devotees

Special Correspondent fronm Ongole adds:

Maha Sivaratri was celebrated with traditional enthusiasm and religious fervour across Prakasam district.

Devotees thronged major Siva temples in the district, including the historic Tripurantakeswara temple at Tripurantakam, the eastern gateway to Srisailam and Bairavakona, and the Chola-time temple of Lord Ramalingeswara swamy at Santharavuru.

The Kasivisweswara temple at Chennakesavapet, Mahasahasralinga Sametha Dwadasa Jyothirlinga kshetram at Santhapet and Bramarambha Sametha Pasupathi temple on the banks of the Rangarayudu Chervu witnessed a rush of devotees to witness ‘Panchamrutha Snanam’ and ‘Bilwarchana’ that followed.

Devotees in large numbers patiently waited for their turn to offer worship to the 1,116 Sivalingas at Jambulapalem near Tangutur.

Women devotees in large numbers thronged, among other Siva temples, the Amarlingeswaraswamy temple at Manetikota in Ulavpadu mandal, Pathala Nageswaraswamy temple at Giddalur, Ramakoteswaraswamy temple at Chinnaganjam and Lingodbhava swamy temple at Chadalawada. Braving tough terrain, pilgrims trekked on beaten paths through the Nallamala forests to offer prayers to Lord Mallikarjana Swamy at Srisailam.

RTC specials

The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation pressed into service more than 500 special buses for pilgrims to visit the Srisailam and Kotappakonda temples in Kurnool and Guntur districts respectively.

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