Srisailam temple EO Lavanna requested devotees from AP and TS not to schedule a visit to the temple till Ugadi. (Representational Photo:DC)
ANANTAPUR: Ugadi celebrations at Srisailam present a few problems for the temple authorities and the locals as tens of thousands of devotees from Karnataka and Maharashtra border regions come with sari and other offerings to Goddess Bramarambika and some of them create a ruckus in the vicinity of the temple.
While the two-year-long covid pandemic affected the annual festival, this year sees more devotees from neighbouring states arriving for the darshan.
The temple authorities are reportedly unable to control the situation as many male devotees come drunk. Several devotees have attacked the temple staff and those running local shops. Srisailam temple EO Lavanna requested devotees from AP and TS not to schedule a visit to the temple till Ugadi.
Already roads towards Srisailam connecting Nallamala forest are witnessing the Shiva devotees on Padayatra from Maharashtra and Karnataka on the occasion of the Ugadi festival. The centuries-old tradition is that they revere the goddess as their daughter and Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy as their son-in-law. They arrive at the temple during Ugadi to invite the 'daughter' and 'son-in-law' to their homes.
Ugadi has special fervour for Shiva devotees from North Karnataka and Maharashtra. Prior to the Covid pandemic, more than three lakh devotees coming on padayatra had darshan during Ugadi. "But, this time the number appears more," official sources said.
NGOs were providing food, water and medical aid to devotees on padayatra in the Nallamala forest and the connecting roads.
The devotees from Bidar, Gulbarga, Belgaum and border towns of Maharashtra walk to Srisailam with kavadias. "Every Ugadi, we come here to pray to the goddess and she blesses us with good tidings as we treat her as a ‘maha sakthi’ that protects our homes," Manjunath, a devotee from Gulbarga area in Karnataka said.
The temple has stopped sparsha darshan due to the large presence of devotees. Only alankar darshan is being permitted. Delay for hours together for darshan was leading to tension and irate over this, several devotees were destroying compartments/ fencing in the queue lines. Another irritant was that Arjitha Seva tickets were also stopped till Ugadi.
On Tuesday, traffic was disrupted after North Karnataka padayatra devotees staged a protest at the tollgate demanding that direct bus service be arranged for them for onward journeys to their destinations. Traffic was disrupted for more than five hours and other devotees too faced inconvenience. The issue was settled after intervention of the temple authorities.
Police stations in Srisailam and nearby regions have been alerted to avoid incidents as, three years ago, several devotees had attacked shops in a drunken frenzy.