The five-day long Maha Sivaratri festivities began on a grand note at the historic Thousand Pillar temple here at Hanamkonda.

Temple chief priest Gangu Upendra Sharma said the celebrations began at 4.30 am with Suprabhatam followed by Ganapati puja. On Friday, Sri Rudreswara Kalyanam would be held at 6.40 pm and Lingodbhavam would be held at 12 midnight. The celebrations would last till February 27 with special pujas on each day.

Elaborate arrangements were made for smooth conduct of the event as thousands were expected to throng the premises. The endowments, municipal, R&B, electricity, police, health and other departments were involved in making arrangements. Famous among Kakatiya temples is the Thousand Pillar temple that is believed to have been built 850 years ago which draws huge crowds even today and Maha Sivaratri is a special occasion that brings to life this historic temple in all its glory.

Special arrangements

Located in Hanamkonda, this temple is a sought-after destination for tourists from across the world. The district administration has made elaborate arrangements for lakhs of devotees thronging to offer special prayers on the eve of Maha Sivaratri.

District Collector K Amrapali said special lighting, barricading, sanitation, drinking water supply, police security and medical camp were some of the arrangements in place at the temple. “We are taking all care to ensure smooth flow of devotees and to prevent jostling and stampede,” she said.

Historic temple

According to inscriptions and deciphering made by historians, the Thousand Pillar temple was built on ‘Magha Shudda Trayodashi (Thursday)’ of Chitrabanu year of Shalivahanashakam which according to the Gregorian calendar is January 19 of 1163.”

The temple was built by Kakatiya king Rudradeva. The temple deity is Rudreshwara Swamy, a personification of Lord Siva since the Kakatiya kings had a special devotion for Siva.

The historians opined that the temple deity has actually been named after King Rudradeva in line with the traditions of that time hence the name Sri Rudreshwara Swamy Temple.

The intricate designs and carvings at the temple have always been a riddle to devotees and public visiting the temple from different parts of the country and the world.