Hyderabad: Thousands of devotees offered prayers at Shiva temples across Telangana state, Andhra Pradesh and other parts of the country marking Shivaratri.
While some Shiva lingams were kept in their original black form, many were draped in gold or silver plates to protect them while bathing with water and offering Panchamrutham.
Panchamrutham is a mix of milk, curd, ghee (butter), honey and sugar besides tulsi and banana pieces. The famed lingam at the famed Srisailam Brahmarambha Mallikarjuna Swamy, temple which was visited by thousands of pilgrims, sported a gold cover. It is one of the 12 Jyotirlingas.
This was despite controversy and protests from a section of religious heads and priests. “We put the cover last year to protect the lingam,” temple executive officer Sagar Babu said.
As lakhs of devotees turned up at various Shiva temples, authorities also stopped Sparsha darshan, during which people are allowed to touch the deity.
The Someswara Swamy lingam in Bhimavaram, West Godavari, has been given a protective silver cover. Officials at the famous 2nd century Jaladh-eeswara Swamy temple, popularly known as Sri Balaparvathi Sametha Jalasheeswara Alayam in Ghantasala in Krishna district, Andhra Pradesh, have adopted a unique measure.
“We have put a silver cover on the lingam to save it from chipping and damage due to regular bathing with water, milk and other offerings. There is no other option,”said temple trustee Ramak-rishna Goripati.
The fact that Shiva and Parvati are placed on a single peetam (panavattamu) makes the temple different from many other ancient temples like Srisailam and Srikalahasti.
The lingams at Amaravati and Kotappa Konda too were covered with silver.
The lingam at Puttaparti and several other temples remained in their original form.
“The lingam at the Lala temple has remained in its original form over the years. We have no intention of covering it with any metal,?? said temple priest Radhakrishna at Secunderabad.
Customers looted on Shivaratri
Customers were exploited by vendors on Monday due to Mahashivaratri.
Although, the rates were stable at the Gaddi Annaram fruit market and Gudimalkapur flower market, vendors increased prices. Marketing additional director G. Lakshmi Bai said more fruits arrived on Monday.
But on Monday grapes were sold at Rs 70 to Rs 80 per kg against Rs 40 to Rs 50 on Sunday. Similarly, grapes (black) were sold at Rs 90 per kg, watermelon at Rs 35 to Rs 40 per kg against Rs 25, Orange ( Rs 10 against Rs 5 per one), Sweet-lime ( Rs 10 per piece), dates at Rs 40 per kg (against Rs 25) and banana at Rs 50 a dozen against Rs 40. K. Yadamma, a flower seller, said the rates increased in Gudimalkapur and Poolbagh markets....