TIRUPATI: On day one of Srivari Brahmotsavams, Chief Minister YS Jagan Mohan Reddy offered silk clothes to Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala on behalf of the State government. Jagan has also become the first chief minister to formally offer traditional ‘Sare’ to Goddess Gangamma, the presiding deity of Tataiahgunta Gangamma Temple. It is believed that the temple was constructed 800 years ago. The Goddess is not only regarded as the ‘grama devata’ (village deity) of Tirupati, but is also revered as the sister of Lord Venkateswara.
Having darshan at the Tataiahgunta Gangamma Temple before offering prayers at Tirumala or celebrating any family occasion has been an age-old tradition in the temple town. It is said that rulers of the Vijayanagara Empire would also of fer prayers and the traditional ‘Sare’ to the Goddess before heading to Tirumala for the Annual Brahmotsavams. According to the temple’s history, Achyuta Deva Raya, Vijayanagara Empire King Krishnadevaraya’s younger brother, was the last person to offer Sare to the folk Goddess in 1529 after he succeeded his elder brother.
Tataiahgunta Gangamma Devasthanam chairman Katta Gopi Yadav said after YSRC government came to power, Tirupati MLA Bhumana Karunakar Reddy strived for the development of the temple and brought back its lost glory. Now, Jagan has revived the age-old custom by offering prayers and Sare to Goddess Gangamma before he presented silk robes to Lor d Venkateswara Swamy, he opined. Gopi Yadav said, “When Tirupati and Tirumala were a part of Arcot district in the Madras Presidency, Tamilians believed in the tradition of offering prayers at to Goddess Gangamma.”
Tirumala temple officials managed Gangamma shrine
Back then the temple was managed by Tirumala temple authorities, he added. Elaborating, he said the Tirumala Devasthanam board used to officially celebrate the festivals at the temple and take the Sare offered to Tiruchanoor Padmavati Ammavaru from the Gangamma temple.
“Puja and other rituals at Tirumala temple are performed according to Vaishnavite traditions, which oppose animal sacrifice. But devotees at the Gangamma temple sacrifice animals during the traditional folklore festival, Ganga Jatara. In this view, the Tirumala temple authorities stopped looking after the Gangamma temple,” Gopi Yadav said.
Jagan flags off 10 electric buses
In a bid to reduce carbon emissions in Tirumala hills and Seshachalam forests, Jagan flagged off the first batch of 10 electric buses between Tirumala and Tirupati to be operated by the APSRTC here at Alipiri. While adults have to pay Rs 110 for one-way travel on the Tirumala- Tirupati routes in the e-Bus services, the fare for children is Rs 80