Sea of humanity at Nanjangud Rathotsava

Nanjangud:  The temple town of Nanjangud on the banks of River Kapila reverberated with chants in praise of Lord Srikanteshwara by lakhs of devotees as the famous Dodda Jatre or the Panchamaharathotsava was held with traditional gaiety and fervour this morning. The mega event passed off smoothly without any glitch and the Rathotsava concluded by 8.30 am.

The temple authorities, who had expected a decline in the number of devotees due to summer heat, were surprised to see a sea of humanity coming from every nook and corner of the State. So much was the crowd that the Police had a tough time in controlling people and preventing them from coming near the giant wheels of the Rathas.  

Panchamaharathotsava involves the pulling of five Rathas or chariots dedicated to different Gods, by devotees, to the accompaniment of sacred chants and traditional music. Devotees have been arriving at the temple since the last three days and there was heavy rush since 4 am. The Rathotsava began at the auspicious Meena Lagna between 6.05 am and 6.20 am.

As the auspicious time began, Srikanteshwara Temple Chief Priest Nagachandra Dixit, accompanied by other temple priests, offered special pujas to the 120-tonne and 95-ft tall chariot that carried the idol of Lord Srikanteshwara before signalling the commencement of the Jathra Mahotsava.

Soon after the puja rituals were completed, the chariot carrying the idol of Lord Ganesha started its journey first along the main streets of Nanjangud and was followed by the chariots Lord Srikanteshwara, Lord Chandikeshwara, Subramanya and Goddess Parvathi (Ammanavaru). Utsava Murthis of the temple deities were kept inside the respective chariots.

Specially made ropes measuring 300 ft was brought from Kerala that was held by hundreds of devotees to pull the chariots along the 1.5 km procession route. All the chariots returned to the main temple premises by 8.20 am signalling the end of the car festival. While the Lord Srikanteshwara chariot, Ganapathy chariot and Chandikeshwara chariot returned to the temple at 7.55 am, the chariots of Lord Subramanya and Ammanavaru returned at 8.20 am.

As the District Administration had completed the concrete laying works in the 400-metre stretch of the procession route, all the Rathas passed the route without any glitch. KSRTC had introduced special buses from Mysuru and nearby towns. The railways too added special bogies to the trains plying between Nanjangud and Mysuru.

Voluntary organisations had set up over 200 counters to distribute water, snacks, fruits and juice to the devotees. Temple authorities had prepared prasadam out of 10 quintals of rice and distributed to devotees.

Tight Police security

The District Police had provided tight security around the temple premises, banks of River Kapila, parking lots and other important places. They Muzarai department had also installed CCTV cameras at important locations to keep a watch on the anti-social elements.

Policemen dressed in mufti had kept a strict watch on pickpockets and mischief mongers. Superintendent of Police Amit Singh supervised the security arrangements.  Nanjangud MLA Kalale Keshavamurthy, Deputy Commissioner K.B. Sivakumar, Additional DC T. Yogesh, Assistant Commissioner Shivegowda, Tahsildar Suraj, Assistant SP N. Rudramuni, DySP Naveen Kumar, Nanjangud Temple Executive Officer Kumaraswamy and others were present on the occasion.

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