TIRUMALA: Tirumala reverberated with ‘Govinda Namasmarana’ as over 4 lakh devotees witnessed Lord Balaji (Venkateswara) riding atop His favourite carrier, the Garuda, on the four Mada Streets on Tuesday night.
Heavy rain lashed Tirumala hours before the start of Garuda seva. Rain, however, subsided in 30 mts giving relief to devotees. The grand, five-hour-long procession of Lord Venkateswara on Garuda was marked by women and men performing ‘haratis’ to the idol at several places. The procession was preceded by various artistes performing ‘kolatam’, skits and other forms of art.
Lakhs of devotees witnessed the procession from the galleries around the four Mada Streets, while thousands of others had to contend themselves with watching the event on LED TV screens erected at various points on the hill. The flow of devotees to the Tirumala hill started on Monday and continued till Tuesday evening. The devotees found it difficult to get a bus to Tirumala while jeeps and other private vehicles made a killing ferrying them to the hill. Thousands of others trekked the hill from both Alipiri and Srivari Mettu routes.
The processional idol of the deity was adorned with ‘Sahasra Lakshmi Haram’ --- a 2,250 carat emerald-studded ornament and other ‘Tiruvabharanalu’ (sacred ornaments) and brought to ‘vahana mandapam’. Later, the idol was mounted atop the ‘Garuda Vahanam’ and taken in a procession much to the visual delight of those who witnessed the event.
As the idol was taken round the Mada streets, the devotees, who were waiting for several long hours, perfomed ‘haratis’ to the Lord.