Farmers donate for Prabhalu at Kotappakonda Tirunallu
Deccan Chronicle.| Md Illyas
Interestingly, supporters of YSR Congress and Telugu Desam decorate their chariots with their party flags.
Vijayawada: In a unique act, farmers donated 3,000 to 6,000 per acre for construction of devotional Prabhalu costing 25–30 lakh at the ancient hilltop Kotappakonda Tirunallu on occasion of Maha Shivaratri. This tradition of farmers donating money has been continuing since decades.
Prabhalu are made of bamboo decorated with colour clothes and illuminated using lights. These are between 50–70 feet tall. All villages surrounding Kotappakonda take these chariots to the hilltop in a procession. Interestingly, supporters of YSR Congress and Telugu Desam decorate their chariots with their party flags. These party leaders compete with each other in decorating their Prabhalu, with political leaders, including ministers, MLAs and MPs, joining the Tirunallu.
Key villages surrounding Kotappakonda are Kavuru, Kamavaripalem, Aminsahebpalem, Appapuram, Maddirala, Yadavalli, Boppudi and Purshottammapatnam. They start constructing Prabhalu one month before Maha Shivaratri and take them to the hilltop on Shivaratri day.
Villagers K. Ramu, G. Nageswara Rao and others said tradition of Prabhalu has been continuing for past 300 years. Kavuru village started taking up bamboo and electric Prabhalu in 1946. They said every farmer voluntarily gives 3,000–6,000 per acre for construction of Prabhalu, each costing around 20 lakh. Another 5 lakh is spent on Annadanam (poor feeding) on Shivaratri.
Forgetting all political and other differences, villagers stand united in the Prabhalu programme.
Kotappakonda is the only hill which appears with three peaks when looked from any direction. There is a stairway with 703 steps that was constructed in the 1761 by the then king Gunda Rayalu. It is still helping devotees to reach the hilltop temple.
Kotappakonda Tirunallu is a state festival as recognised by AP government. Nearly 4–5 lakh people join the festival on the holy Maha Shivaratri day on the hilltop. There are also visitors from Telangana, Tamil Nadu, Karnataka and other states.
Narasaraopet MLA G. Srinivas Reddy and his spouse and Narasaraopet MP Lavu Srikrishna Devarayalu and family members offered silk robes separately to Trikoteswara Swamy on Tuesday, launching the Shivaratri celebrations.
MLA Srinivas Reddy said officials of all departments worked hard past 15 days to ensure smooth conduct of the Tirunallu.