Andhra Pradesh: Shakambari festival at Durga temple from July 19

Authorities expect around 2 lakh devotees to visit the temple during the festival.
Executive Officer, Rama Rao.
Executive Officer, Rama Rao. Photo | Express

VIJAYAWADA : Elaborate arrangements are being made for the three-day annual Shakambari festival at Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy Varla Devasthanam (SDMSD) atop Indrakeeladri, from July 19 to 21. The executive officer (EO) of Durga temple, KS Rama Rao, announced that lakhs of devotees from across the State are expected to visit the temple and offer special prayers to Goddess Kanaka Durga, who will be adorned in the avatar of Shakambari Devi.

Speaking to mediapersons on Sunday, EO Rama Rao mentioned that tenders have been called for carrying out the arrangement works, which will commence within a week. Authorities expect around 2 lakh devotees to visit the temple during the festival. The presiding deity, Goddess Kanaka Durga, will be decorated as Shakambari Devi, with the idol and the entire temple premises adorned with fresh fruits, flowers, and vegetables daily. “Devotees believe that worshipping Goddess Shakambari will bring rain and abundant crop yield. The festivities will begin on July 19 with rituals such as Vigneswara Puja, Ruthvik Varuna, Punyavachanam, Akhanda Deeparadhana, Ankurarpanam, Vastu Homam, and Kalasa Sthapana,” he explained.

Kadambam prasadam, prepared using the fruits and vegetables that decorate the temple, will be distributed to the devotees. According to legend, Goddess Kanaka Durga, in the avatar of Shakambari, defeated Dhuroorudu, the demon of drought. Moved by the people’s suffering, she shed tears, which led to an abundance of food grains and vegetables. The Goddess, in her Shakambari form, donated her organs to Earth to ensure that food grows even during a drought.

The tradition of celebrating the festival began modestly in 2007 at Kanaka Durga temple and has since grown into a grand affair. As the ritual gained popularity, devotees and traders from various places began donating vegetables and fruits. “We urge devotees, businessmen, and others to donate vegetables, flowers, and fruits for the festival,” Rama Rao requested.

The EO also informed that elaborate arrangements are being made for the Aashada Saare ritual, where devotees from various places visit the temple to offer Saare to the presiding deity Kanaka Durga. Aashada masam, the fourth month in the Telugu calendar, is considered auspicious for worshipping Goddess Kanaka Durga. During this time, groups of women offer ‘Ashada Saare,’ which includes ‘bonam’ (a pot filled with cooked rice), traditional sarees, bangles, and other decorations and ornaments. “Anticipating the rush during Ashada Masam, special care is being taken to avoid inconvenience to the devotees, especially women. Special queue lines have been erected to manage crowds and prevent confusion,” Rama Rao stated.

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