Visakhapatnam: Stones offered to Ralla Devata

Efforts are on by the locals to raise a permanent structure for the temple.

Visakhapatnam: Not far away from the port city, at Anandapuram, is a temple where devotees offer stones to the deity instead of flowers. They don’t break a coconut as an offering; instead, they throw a stone.

In an unusual custom, devotees from 40 villages around, throng the temple of Raalla Ammavaru in Metlavanipalem, near Anandapuram and offer stones on Tuesdays and Fridays. They believe that the goddess wants nothing but a stone for their wishes to be fulfilled.

“We don’t know when this tradition began but our family came to know about this from my grandfather and he got to know from his grandfather. We have been continuing the tradition. Ammavaaru, doesn’t want anything in return for fulfilling a wish except a stone. We believe in this custom,” said Mr K. Appalaraju, who runs a brick kiln opposite the makeshift temple.

There are some stone quarrying units in the vicinity and many trucks pass by the temple. It’s a practice for truck drivers to stop at the temple, throw a stone, and proceed. They believe that their journey will be completed without any hitch if they offer the stone.

“I have been living in this village for 20 years after my marriage. We pray to the goddess with stones. What I heard from my elders in the village is that the goddess doesn’t need anything but a stone. Of course after our wish is fulfilled, we also offer special prayers by offering coconut, turmeric and vermilion,” said Ms Kanakam.

Efforts are on by the locals to raise a permanent structure for the temple. There is no regular priest who perform pujas; the devotees do puja on their own.

( Source : Deccan Chronicle. )
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