VIJAYAWADA: Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam atop Indrakeeladri, witnessed thousands of devotees as the relinquishment of 21-day/41-day ‘Bhavani Deeksha Viramana’ began in the early hours of Tuesday.
The devotees are allowed to have ‘darshan’ of the presiding deity after performing Agni Pratishtapana by temple executive officer A Surya Kumari.
The devotees first made the ‘Giripradakshina’ and took a holy dip in the Krishna river and then had ‘darshan’ of the goddess. It was then time to put coconuts and other puja material from the ‘Irumudis’, into the ‘homagundam’ set up at ‘Mallikarjuna Mandapam’ down the hill after ‘Agni Pratishtapana’ was done.
A large number of devotees were lined up in queues on the Canal Road waiting for their turn to have darshan of the Goddess on the auspicious occasion.
Speaking to the media, temple EO Surya Kumari said that the ‘Bhavani Deeksha Viramana’ is the second biggest annual event at the temple after Dasara. “We are expecting nearly 10 lakh devotees to visit the shrine for the relinquishment of the deeksha.
The rush of devotees is expected to reach its peak on Thursday and Friday and the temple authorities have arranged 40 Irumudi counters monitored by Guru Bhavanis.
The temple authorities have decided to open darshan for the devotees from 3 am to 11 pm, following the same schedule for the remaining days, she said.
Elaborate arrangements have been made by the temple management for the convenience of devotees. Drinking water and other such arrangements were made by voluntary organisations.
Devasthanam has made arrangements to supply laddus and Bhangi prasadam to the devotees this time and opened 20 counters considering the dissatisfaction expressed by the devotees in the past, for not getting enough laddus.
The temple authorities are also serving sumptuous meals at the temple and Sringeri Peetham at Mallikharjuna Pet.
Under the Annadanam Scheme, the temple offers free food to 5,000 devotees a day, she said.