VIJAYWADA: Krishna Pushkaralu commenced on a traditional note with thousands taking the holy dip in Krishna River at the first light of the day along the river course in Andhra Pradesh on Friday.
Prayers were offered to the Krishna River in a traditional manner with vermilion and turmeric before taking dip in the river water. Forefathers were offered respects in form of Pinda Pradhanam and Tharpanam on the occasion.
In Vijayawada, thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the state and other parts of the country had thronged various ghats spread along the river course from Padmavathi Ghat near Pandit Nehru Bus Station to Sanghamam Ghat near Ferry village in Ibrahimpatnam mandal, some 15 km away from Vijayawada.
Many of the pilgrims were concentrated at Padmavati Ghat, Krishnaveni Ghat downstream of Prakasam Barrage. Water from the river was released downstream into the channels created on both banks of the river to facilitate pilgrims take the holy dip.
Krishna water was released from Pulichintala Project, where it was stored for the occasion. The water reached Prakasam Barrage between 2 a.m to 3 a.m. and released simultaneously into both the channels downstream of the barrage by 3:40 a.m. There is sufficient water in the project and will be continued to be released downstream into channels in a regulated manner, Minister for Water Resources Devineni Umamaheswara Rao told Express.
Minister, who was monitoring the flow of the water from Pulichintala every few minutes, showed the various SMS alerts he received from the irrigation officials at different points along the river course. He said similarly water from Godavari water too is being released through Pattiseema.
Meanwhile, Chief Minister N Chandrababu Naidu, along with his wife N Bhuvaneswari, son N Lokesh, brother-in-law N Balakrishna, several ministers, MPs and MLAs participated in Nadhi Puja performed at Durga Ghat in presence of Kanchi Peetadhipathi Jayendra Saraswathi and his disciples.
At 5:54 a.m. along with the pontiff, the Chief Minister, his wife and others had the holy dip in the Krishna River. Later, he performed Go Puja amid chanting of Shanti mantras. Speaking on the occasion, he said it was a rare opportunity for him to participate in pushkaralu of two rivers as head of the state and he felt blessed.
Even as the Chief Minister and his entourage were bathing in the pushkar ghats (number 34 to 39) common pilgrims were seen having the holy dip in other section of Durga Ghat (number 40). Pilgrim rush picked up in other main ghats - Punnami, Bhavani, Sangam and Ferry Ghats.
On the other hand, more than 12,000 people had holy dips in Krishna river at Srisailam and Sangameswaram ghats in Kurnool district. In Guntur district, Tridandi Chinna Srimannarayana Ramanuja Jeeyar Swamiji had the holy bath in the river at Seethanagaram ghat followed by several others. Similarly, couple of thousands of people had holy dip in the river at Amaravati.
More than 1 lakh staff and volunteers were seen striving to ensure everything is in order across 152 pushkar ghats and 62 pushkar nagars in the state. Free buses were operated from pushkar nagars to pushkar ghats to ferry the pilgrims.
Women SHGs were involved in sales of necessary puja samagri and separate sheds were set up for â€˜Pinda Pradhanam and other ritual. Sanitary staff in large number were deployed to keep the water clean and the ghats garbage free.