VIJAYAWADA: The nine-day Dasara festival at Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanams (SDMSD) atop Indrakeeladri here, kicked off on Saturday. The presiding deity was decorated in the ‘Swarna Kavachalankrita Sri Kanaka Durga Devi’ avatar and the festivities began with ‘suprabhata seva’ at 3 am, ‘snapanabhishekam’ at 3.30 am and ‘balabhoga nivedana’ at 6.30 am.
Though pilgrims from various parts of the state reached the temple early morning, they were allowed for darshan around 10 am. Vijayawada city commissioner of police (CP) Bathini Sreenivasulu and One-town police inspector K Venkatswarlu presented traditional silk robes, pattu vasthrams, to the goddess and took stock of the situation.
Sreenivasulu asked the police personnel on duty to ensure that all devotees are wearing masks and adhering to the physical distancing norm. According to temple officials, around 12,000 devotees thronged the temple on the first day and took blessings of the goddess. Officials said they have set up a spot ticket booking counter for those who could not book tickets online.
“Devotees were allowed for darshan based on the time slots. We have taken all necessary measures to control the spread of Covid-19 and prepared a mechanism to allow only 1,000 devotees per hour,” they added. Endowments department joint commissioner Chandrasekhar Azad, who was appointed special officer for the festival, initiated repairing of the damaged mesh in the recent landslide.
On Day 2 of Festivities
Goddess Kanaka Durga will be decorated as Sri Bala Tripura Sundari Devi on the second day of Dasara on Sunday. Durga, in this attire, is described as the divine combination of Goddesses Saraswati, Mahakali and Lalitha Tripura Sundari. Temple head priest said the day is more precious and the goddess will be seen with a book, spatikamala, a white lotus and abhayahastham.