Lakhs throng Simhachalam hills for Giri Pradakshina
Visakhapatnam: Lakhs of devotees participated in the annual ‘Giri Pradakshina’ (taking a round of the Simhachalam hills) ritual of the Sri Varahalakshmi Nrusimha Swamy temple in Simhachalam on Sunday, marking the full moon day of Ashadam.
Despite the hot weather conditions, devotees from various parts of Vizag, Vizianagaram, Srikakulam and Anakapalle districts took part in the annual event and walked for 10 hours to cover a 32-km stretch.
The streets of Adavivaram, Hanumanthawaka, Jodugullapalem, Appughar, Venkojipalem, HB Colony, Seethamadhara, Balayya Sastry Layout, Port Stadium back side, DLB Quarters, Muralinagar, Madhavadhara, NAD flyover, Susarla Colony, Baji Junction, Saptagiri Junction, Gopalapatnam, Prahladapuram and Srinivasa Nagar in the city were teeming with people for the whole day. They chanted ‘Govinda, Govinda’ and enthusiastically continued their 32-km trek without showing any signs of fatigue.
The trek began early on Sunday. As per a conservative estimate, over four lakh devotees from parts of north coastal Andhra Pradesh and parts of southern Odisha participated in this year’s annual ritual.
The devotees started their trek from the first step of the stairs 'Tholi Pavancha’ (foothill), after praying to a replica of the deity. Several voluntary organisations put up water and refreshment stalls along the way for the convenience of the devotees, including children and women.
The devotees got some relief in the evening due to the thunder showers.
The god’s chariot was decorated with flowers and it was taken around the Simhachalam hills. Many took a dip at the Jodugullapalem beach for a cool relief and continued their trek.
Representatives of many organisations distributed drinking water and refreshments along the way, but by strictly avoiding use of polythene and plastics.
More than 2,000 police personnel were deployed at various places in the city for the smooth conduct of the event and to regulate the traffic at some locations. The roads, particularly at Appughar, MVP colony, Hanumanthawaka, Venkojipalem, Madhavadhara etc were crowded with devotees and have been closed for vehicular traffic.