Adilabad: Maha Shivaratri, one of the major annual festivals, was celebrated with religious gaiety and pomp across the erstwhile Adilabad district on Thursday. Prominent temples of Lord Shiva were packed with devotees, who performed special prayers to mark the occasion.
In Adilabad district, devotees wearing face masks visited the ancient Mallanna Swamy temple at Sirichelma village in Echoda mandal and a cave temple, Sri Someswara Swamy Alayam at the famous Kuntala Waterfalls in Neradigonda mandal by climbing a ladder. They made a beeline to abodes of Lord Shiva located at Bhoraj in Jainath, at Badhi village in Bhela mandal and different parts of the town.
In Mancherial district, the ancient Sri Bugga Raja Rajeshwara Swamy Devestanam on the outskirts of Kannala village in Bellampalli mandal, Sri Gattu Mallanna Swamy Devalayam of Velala village in Jaipur mandal and Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy temple of Kattherasala in Chennur mandal saw a heavy inrush of devotees belonging to several parts of the district.
The devotees thronged the temples by forming serpentine queue lines since early morning till midnight. Some of them arrived at these holy places on bullock carts, trolleys, auto-rickshaws and cars. They broke coconuts and performed Archana and Abhisekham for the wellbeing of their family members. They dined under the trees and make-shift tents.
Sri Gouthameshwara Swamy temple situated on the shores of Godavari River and Sri Vishwanatha Swamy temple of the town recorded a swelled influx of the devout. The devotees had a holy dip in the river before having darshan of Lord Shiva. Traffic came to a grinding halt at Sri Bugga Rajeshwara Swamy temple, causing inconvenience to devotees for several hours.
Meanwhile, Sri Papahareshwara Swamy temple of Kadili in Nirmal district and Sri Sivamallanna Swamy temple of Easgoan in Kaghaznagar mandal, Sri Shivakeshavalayam of Wankidi, Sri Bhadarakali temple in Penchikalpet mandal, Sri Rangadameshwara Swamy Devasthanam of Bejjur mandal in Kumram Bheem Asifabad district were brimmed with the devotees.
Local voluntary organisations and philanthropists organised poor feeding programmes on the surroundings of the temples. They provided buttermilk, gruel and mineral water to the devotees helping them beat the heat wave conditions. Elaborate arrangements were made for the smooth conduct of the festival. Drinking water facilities and parking lots were readied for the convenience of the devotees. Sanitation measures and security arrangements were in place. TSRTC operated special buses from several towns to the shrines.
Nandis greet devotees of ancient temple
In a rare instance, two Nandis, the vehicle and divine guardian of Lord Shiva, was spotted in sanctum sanctorum of the ancient Sri Mallikharjuna Swamy temple at the remote Sirichelma village in Echoda mandal. Known as Sthira and Chara, the Nandis bring uniqueness to the shrine, believed to have been built in 11th century. Located in the middle of an irrigation tank, the abode is thronged by devotees belonging to several parts of Adilabad district and neighboring Maharashtra.
The magnificent stone architecture of the temple spellbound visitors. The shrine houses idols of Venkateshwara Swamy, Anjaneya Swamy, Rahu, Kethu and Tirthankara. Devotees believe that their wishes would be realised if a coin stands in the hands of the idol of Lord Balaji and when a pedal of Lord Shiva moves slightly.
However, devotees find it difficult to reach the temple. They are forced to wade through waters of the tank to arrive at the shrine. They have requested the authorities concerned to convert the holy place into a tourist centre by creating basic amenities and forming a road facility. The scenic shrine can be located about 50 kilometers away from Adilabad and Nirmal towns.