VIJAYAWADA: Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy on Friday inaugurated the new temple chariot of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple in Antarvedi in East Godavari district in a traditional manner amid fanfare.
The 42-foot seven-storied wooden chariot, completely constructed with Bastar teak wood, was commissioned on Ratha Saptami Day, two days ahead of the president deity Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy’s annual kalyanotsavam, scheduled to be held on February 21, which will be followed by the famous Antarvedi Rathotsavam on February 23
The Chief Minister arrived at Antarvedi in a helicopter at around 11:20 and from the helipad proceeded to the temple by road. He was received by the temple priests, ministers and others in a traditional manner. He offered prayers in the sanctum sanctorum and the priests performed archana in his name. After the ritual of Mantra Pushpam, he was given Veda Ashirvadam and prasadams.
He offered prayers at the temple of Rajyalakshmi, before commissioning the new temple chariot by offering puja and arathi. He formally dragged the chariot along with some of his cabinet colleagues to mark the occasion.
The new chariot for the Antarvedi temple became a necessity after the old one was burnt down by unidentified miscreants on September 6, creating a furore across the state. After handing over the investigation in the temple chariot arson case to CBI, the Chief Minister ordered the construction of the new chariot and set a deadline to complete it before the annual Kalyanotsavam of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy.
The endowment department engineers and officials along with Ganapathi Stapathi and his team of 25 men worked day and night to meet the deadline. Endowment Additional Commission K Ramachandra Mohan, appointed as a special officer for the project, camped at Antarvedi to supervise the construction of the chariot. The required teak wood was procured from Sri Sai Timber Depot in Ravulapalem of East Godavari district.
From designing to trial run, the entire construction phase of the temple chariot was completed in a record 90 days. The chariot was constructed at an estimated cost of Rs 1.16 crore.
A total 1,330 cubic feet of Bastar teak wood was used for the construction of the massive chariot. It has a length of 14 feet and a width of 14 feet. It is equipped with six massive wheels and hydraulic brakes. To ensure freer movement of the massive chariot, a special mechanism was put in place. Two massive strong ropes were attached to the chariot, so devotees can drag it on the occasion of Rathotsavam. A 50 feet high shed with iron gates was constructed to house the chariot in a secure manner.
Minister for Endowment Vellampalle Srinivas, Minister for BC Welfare Chelluboyina Venugopalakrishna, Minister for Social Welfare P Viswaroop, Minister for Agriculture K Kannababu, MPs, MLAs and others were present.