The auspicious Maha Sivaratri festival was celebrated with religious fervour in the city on Friday. Thousands of devotees had ‘darshan’ of Lord Siva at temples since dawn.

The celebrations began at 3 a.m. when people in large numbers thronged the bathing ghats of the Krishna to take a holy dip. The ghats buzzed with activity as the people of all ages from various parts of the city gathered there and from there queued up before temples.

Long queues

Siva temples, more particularly Patha Sivalayam, Malleswaralayam atop Indrakeeladri, and Vijayeswaralayam, burst at their seams as crowds milled from every nook and corner. Long queues were seen since early morning and the temples were packed with the pilgrims and the rush peaked at night.

Devotees performed ‘akhanda deeparadhana’, ‘Lingarchana’, ‘Ksheerabhishemams’ and performed special pujas.

The shrines were decorated with ‘thoranams’ and ‘mandapams’ and the flexi boards of Lord Siva and his consort Parvathi Devi were erected at several places. Special abhishekakms were performed at the temples, which were illuminated for the festival. The temple managements made elaborate arrangements for the proper darshan of pilgrims attending Sivaratri celebrations.

The turnout of devotees was huge at the Sivalayams in Governorpet, Satyanarayanapuram, Mutyalampadu and Ayodhya Nagar. The priests performed ‘kalyanotsavam’ of the presiding deity at Sri Parvathi Ramalingeswara Swamy at Munigiri in Yanamalakuduru village.

Festive atmosphere was seen in Yanamalakuduru and the villagers arranged ‘prabhalu’ in the streets and performed pujas to ‘Siva Parvathulu’ amid blowing of trumpets. The ‘kolatams’, orchestra, ‘bakthi bhajans’ and other cultural programmes enthralled the pilgrims in the streets.

A good number of devotional and cultural programmes were scheduled for Friday night, to enable the devotees to observe ‘Jagaram’ through the night. A few theatres arranged screening of special shows after the regular night show for the convenience of those who wanted to stay awake.