VIJAYAWADA: Women in the city celebrated the ‘Varalakshmi Vratam’, the most awaited and auspicious festival of Sravana Masam that falls on the second Friday of the month, with great fervour and piety.
The ritual was celebrated at various temples and one of them was the mass ritual organised by TTD along with the Hindu Dharma Prachara Parishad with around 500 women at TTD Kalyana Mandapam in the city.
M Lakshmi, a devotee who participated in the programme, said that the ‘pooja’ is mainly performed by married women for the well-being of all the family members. Apart from all this, there is the mouth-watering dishes prepared on the occasion.
“According to Hindu mythology, Lord Shiva explained the rituals for the benefit of women on the request of Goddess Parvati, which is elaborately discussed in the Skanda Puranam” said Umakanth Sarma, the priest at Sri Durga Malleswara Swamyvarla Devasthanam.
“Not all families celebrate the ‘vratham’. The tradition is seen in certain households that have been observing it continuously for generations,” said K Gayatri, a homemaker from Kotha Vantena Centre. “Traditionally, the festival is for three days but these days, many people wind it up within a day as there are elaborate rituals that are difficult to follow due to busy lifestyles,” Gayathri explained.
The flower markets and fruits markets are abuzz with activity since the eve of the ‘Vratham’ and the demand for fruits and flowers has gone up. The common man has to bear the brunt of the rise in the prices of fruits, flowers and mango leaves. The cost of bananas, which sold at `35 a dozen until recently, has risen to `60-70 and the price of each apple has risen to `35 from `20.
The price of flowering jasmine is `600 per kg and 500 g crysanthemum increased to `200. Almost all varieties of flowers are priced at nearly `500 a kg at the wholesale market.
This auspicious month is also famous for purchase of gold and silver. M Venkat, manager of Prathiba Gold and Silver Palace, Govenorpet, said that women usually purchase a ‘Varalakshmi kaasu’ (coin) to worship Lord Lakshmi, as part of the ritual and the purchases have already started for the forthcoming festivals and weddings.