VIJAYAWADA: The auspicious occasion of Moola Nakshatram attracted scores of people to take the blessings of Goddess Kanaka Durga Devi, who blessed the devotees in the avatar of Sri Saraswati Devi, on the sixth day of Dasara.
Till 5 pm on Tuesday, close to 80,000 devotees offered prayers at Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam atop Indrakeeladri. In view of the special occasion, the temple officials allowed darshan until 11 pm. They expected the number would rise to one lakh by the end of the day.
"When compared to the previous year, the number of devotees seeking blessings on the day of Moola Nakshatram has risen by over 30 per cent and the number is expected to touch more than one lakh. We followed all COVID safety protocols strictly and frequently sanitised the premises," temple EO D Bramaramba said.
Devotees began to pour in from 3 am near the Canal Road and the number continued to swell until evening. To facilitate darshanam to more devotees, officials cancelled all VIP services and merged the queues for Rs 300 and Rs 100 tickets.
Special teams were formed to monitor the movement of devotees. "In order to avoid any untoward incidents, we released devotees compartment-wise one after another," the temple EO said. She added they have taken all necessary steps to tackle the rush and informed that officials were instructed to make proper arrangements for devotees such as providing water and adequate prasadam.
However, they were forced to wait in the queue, braving the rain which lashed the city for a while, as Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy visited the temple to offer silk clothes at around 3 pm.
Moola Nakshatram has a special significance as it is the birth star of Goddess Kanaka Durga. Sri Saraswati Devi is the Goddess of education, literature and music. On this day, students queue up at the temple to seek the blessings of the Goddess.
As per a legend, Saraswati Devi designed and planned ‘Yuddha Tantra’ (war plan) for Goddess Durga Devi to fight Mahishasura and also defeated Sumbha and Nisumbha.