VIJAYAWADA: The Sri Durga Malleswara Swamy temple in Vijayawada is struggling to get its focus back on devotional programmes after a string of disputes over the past year. The bad period started with allegations that certain black magic rituals were performed at the temple during the tenure of then executive officer Surya Kumari.
At about the same time, gold in the temple was reportedly converted into gold biscuits without board permission. Besides, local leaders have objected to the proposed constructions in the temple. Inquiries were held into the reported black magic rituals and conversion of gold but nothing came of them. These controversies did not affect the flow of devotees to the temple.
After the exit of Ms Surya Kumari in the first week of January, endowment commissioner Y.V. Anuradha was appointed in-charge executive officer of the temple. Twenty-five days later, Dr M. Padma was appointed executive officer. During this short tenure, the negligence of temple officials resulted in the filing of an FIR on Ms Anuradha in a case of contract dispute involving a photographer. Temple board chairman Gowranga Babu and other members were irked by Ms Surya Kumari reportedly taking decisions without consulting them. To avoid this, Dr Padma has been taking care to coordinate with the board.
During the tenure of Ms Surya Kumari, the temple had taken certain decisions to get an increased number of devotees especially on days when attendance is low including Koti Pushparchana with newly married couples and special pooja in turmeric clothes. The temple now plans a special procession of the goddess on full moon day, starting with the next pournami. The famous Durga temple will decorated with traditional lamps and flowers. Sahasra Deepalankarana will start on Tuesday. Temple officials have planned to build a vertical garden and a lotus pond.