KAKINADA: Marking the Ratha Saptami festival and the commencement of Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Kalyanotsavam, dedicated to Lord Surya, Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy participated in a ritual to consecrate the newly constructed the seven-storey 41-feet tall ratham in the Lord Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple at Antarvedi in Konaseema. The Kalyanotsavam will be celebrated till the month-end.
The Chief Minister, along with ministers Vellampalli Srinivas, Kurasala Kannababu, Pinepe Viswaroop, Chelluboyina Venugopal Krishna and Kakinada MP Vanga Gita dragged the chariot as a mark of consecration.
The more than 60-year-old temple chariot was gutted in the early hours of September 6 last year, triggering controversy in the state. The state government built a new chariot at a cost of Rs 1.16 crore with a ‘hydraulic braking system’.
Soon after reaching the temple, Jagan Mohan Reddy had darshan of the God and Goddess Rajyalakshmi, and priests felicitated him with Sesha Vastra, while Vedic pandits offered Lord Suryanarayana Murthy prasadam.
The government swung into action when the old chariot was gutted. It appointed a committee headed by Amalapuram sub-collector Himanshu Koushik with regional joint commissioner as convener. The endowment department appointed additional commissioner K. Ramachandra Mohan as special officer for supervising the construction of the new chariot.
The committee identified good quality Bastar teak at a timber depot in Ravulapalem and bought it. Earlier the government-sanctioned Rs 95 lakh for the chariot. Along with the subsequent hydraulic braking system, it cost Rs 1.16 crore.
As part of Kalyanotsavams, ‘Surya Prabha Vahanam’ and ‘Tiru Kalyanotsvam’ will be performed on February 22 and the ‘Rathotsvam’’ will be organised at 2.30 pm the next day.
Those present on the occasion included Rajya Sabha member Pilli Subhashchandra Bose, MPs Vanga Gita, Chinta Anuradha and Margani Bharat, MLC P. Ravindrababu, MLAs Rapaka Vara Prasad, Dwarampudi Chandrasekhara Reddy, Kondeti Chittibabu, Ponnada Venkata Satish, Pendem Dorababu, N. Dhanlakshmi, DCCB chairman Anantha Udaya Bhaskar, Eluru DIG K.V. Mohana Rao, Endowment Commissioner P. Arjuna Rao, Amalapuram DSP Y. Madhava Reddy, temple Executive Officer Y. Badharji.