Telangana's Medaram chockablock with devotees on Jatara eve

Water released from the Laknavaram lake, 200 swimmers deployed at Jampanna Vagu
Tribal women perform a ritual dance ahead of Medaram Jatara.
Tribal women perform a ritual dance ahead of Medaram Jatara.

MULUGU: Devotees in large numbers have started arriving in Medaram village ahead of Sammakka-Saralamma Jatara which begins on Wednesday. The Jatara will start with the arrival of Govindarajulu, Pagididdaraju and Nagulamma in the early hours and the deity Saralamma in the evening.

Priest Kaka Saraiah will reach Kannepally amidst the beating of drums and perform special rituals and bring the deity in a casket made of bamboo sticks as per the tribal tradition. Before the arrival of Saralamma, Pagididdaraju (husband of Sammakka) and father of Saralamma would be Punugandla village of Gangaram mandal in Mahabubabad district and kept on the altar.

Govindarajulu, the husband of Saralamma, would be brought from the Kondai village of Eturnagaram mandal to Medaram for the rituals by devotees. Nagulamma, sister of Sammakka, will also be brought to the platform at the Jampanna vagu, a stream.

On February 17, Sammakka would arrive from the Chilakalagutta, a hillock about two km from the altar at Medaram village. On Friday, February 18 among the most auspicious days, devotees throng the village in large numbers to pay their respects to deities. On February 19, the deities would be taken back to their respective places by the tribal priests, symbolising the conclusion of the Jatara.

2.Devotees board a special Medaram-bound bus along with a sacrificial animal on Tuesday.  3.Bullock carts move towards Mulugu, where the tribal festival will begin today
2.Devotees board a special Medaram-bound bus along with a sacrificial animal on Tuesday. 3.Bullock carts move towards Mulugu, where the tribal festival will begin today

This year, the administration has increased the number of security personnel in view of the crowd. In the previous jatara, the police department had deployed around 400 personnel to accompany the deities to the platform and this year, the number has been increased to 482 to control the bustling crowds while the deities are taken to the platforms (gaddelu).

After the Kumbha mela, Medaram Jatara or Sammkka-Saralakka Jatara attracts the most number of visitors. This fair is held once in two years (biennial) with more than one crore devotees taking part. On Tuesday, all roads leading to Medaram were chockablock with devotees, on foot or on every mode of transport they could find.

Mulugu district Collector S Krishna Aditya and Superintendent of Police Sangram Singh G Patil said that every conceivable measure has been put in place to ensure the success of the Jatara and avoid any untoward incidents.

Meanwhile, water has been released from the Laknavaram lake to Jampanna Vagu till a height of 3 ft was reached. This limitation has been set keeping public safety in view while taking the holy dip. Also, 200 expert swimmers have been allocated duties at Jampanna vagu.

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