Jayashankar Bhupalpally: Devotees in large numbers thronged the Kaleshwaram-Muktheeshwara temple located on the banks Godavari river in Mahadevpur mandal in the district on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri on Friday.

With the recent inauguration of the Sironcha-Kaleshwaram bridge and Mullakkata bridge near Etunagaram built across the Godavari river,  the number of devotees coming from neighbouring Maharashtra and Chhattisgarh swelled more than expected, according to officials.

On the other hand, a temporary bride built between Palugula and Mahadevpur on the Godavari also helped the devotees from Mancherial, Asifabad and Adilabad to cut short the route and arrive at the temple easily.

“We expected only about 25,000 to 30,000 devotees, but nearly 50,000 people are estimated to have visited the temple on Friday,” said an official admitting that they had indeed failed to make proper arrangements. As the officials have not set up makeshift dress-changing rooms, the women devotees faced problems after taking a dip in the Godavari river.

On the other hand, some devotees, who subscribed for the ‘Shaswatah Kalyanam’ scheme, entered into a verbal duel with the temple Executive Officer (EO) B Srinivas for not allowing them to sit near the platform during the ‘Shiva Kalyanam’.

“The temple authorities allowed the VIPs and other politicians to sit at the platform while we, who paid Rs 5,000 under the Kalyanam scheme, are not allowed,” lamented a devotee. Devotees also faced problems due to the non-availability of drinking water.

Meanwhile, Shaivite temples in the erstwhile Warangal district including Thousand Pillar temple, Hanamkonda, Mallikarjun Swamy temple in Inavole, Mallikarjun Swamy temple, Komuaravelli, Veerabhadra Swamy temple, Kuravi and Sri Someshwara Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, Palakurthy were abuzz with devotees in large numbers.

Many devotees also turned up for Rudreshwara Swamy’s ‘Kalyana Mahotsavam’ held on Friday evening.