Ganga Jatara: Agni Gundam ritual observed at Prasanna Tirupati Gangamamba temple
DECCAN CHRONICLE | DC Correspondent
TIRUPATI: The Prasanna Tirupati Gangamamba Jatara, a widely celebrated folk festival in the tri-state junction of Kuppam – is being celebrated on a grand spiritual note.
The festivities began with the traditional Chatimpu accompanied by the beating of drums on May 10. It inched closer to the grand finale with the Agni Gundam ritual —a walk over red-hot embers – on Monday.
The annual folk festival, celebrated for the last 400 years, has three major segments. Among the prominent rituals are the Agni Gundam, the procession of the deity’s head on Tuesday, and the Viswaroopa Darshan on Wednesday.
The Tirupati Gangamamba temple, currently being administered by the Endowments department, will be thronged by over three lakh devotees in these three days.
The Tirupati Gangamamba Jatara's history runs back to the early 18th Century. As per legend, Lord Venkateswara got upset by his sister Gangamma devouring corpses at a burial places. He chopped off her cheek, which fell and spread around, including in Tirupati, Kuppam etc.
The annual Jatara is observed at Kuppam to commemorate this occasion.
A stone structure, believed to be the idol of the goddess, was found at a local burial ground in Kuppam several years ago. It was relocated to the central town and a temple was constructed to host it.
On Monday, thousands of devotees from Chittoor and neighbouring villages in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu thronged the temple to witness the Agni Gundam. The ritual continued till Tuesday morning.
Over 600 police personnel, and fire safety personnel were deployed to ensure law and order.
The procession of the deity's head would begin from the local temple on Tuesday morning. Thousands of livestock will be sacrificed as the procession passes through the crowded streets of the Kuppam. The procession will last 24 hours and it would conclude at the temple on Wednesday morning.
The deity's head would be adorned on the trunk of the idol within the temple after the procession. After the Viswaroopa Darshan, the head will be immersed in the local tank at midnight.