Unique ritual in Hyderabad to propitiate rain godJuly 23rd, 2008 - 5:28 pm ICT by IANS
Hyderabad, July 23 (IANS) As the threat of drought looms large over Andhra Pradesh, a unique three-day ‘Maha Varuna Yagam’ under the auspices of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) began here to propitiate the rain god. Chief Minister Y.S. Rajasekhara Reddy and his cabinet colleagues were present as over 150 priests from the famous Hindu temple of Lord Venkateshwara began the rituals amidst singing of Vedic hymns.
TTD, which manages the affairs of India’s richest temple at Tirumala, is organising the event called ‘Ashtotthara Satha Kumbhatmaka Maha Varuna Yagam’ at the sprawling Exhibitions Grounds at Nampally in the heart of the state capital.
The state government and TTD authorities have made elaborate arrangements for the event by erecting 108 ‘homagundams’ or small platforms formed with bricks for holy fire.
It was a unique sight with two saffron-clad priests conducting the rituals sitting around each ‘homagundam’, with fire raging in the platforms.
The ‘Maha Varunayagam’, attended by over 5,000 people, is the biggest event organised this season in the state to please the rain god and end the prolonged dry spell in the state.
Pushpagiri Peethadipathi Sri Vidyanarasimha Bharati Swamy is leading the yagam, which is expected to bring rain and fill the state’s reservoirs.
Such rituals were organised by various organisations at different places in the state in the last few days.
Muslims also offered special prayers for rain in open grounds and near water reservoirs.
The scanty rainfall this season has created a crisis in the state, hitting agriculture and electricity generation.
According to officials, sowing operations could be taken up in 2.34 million hectares by July 16 against the normal 3.65 million hectares. The inadequate rainfall also led to electricity shortage, forcing authorities to impose three- to six-hour electricity curtailment every day and even declaring a weekly electricity holiday for industry.
The chief minister, who is worried over the dry spell and the impact it could have on his Congress party’s prospects in the next year’s elections to the state assembly and the parliament, returned from New Delhi this morning and drove straight to the venue to participate in the ritual.
“We pray that the dry spell ends and rains bring happiness and prosperity for people,” he said after taking the blessings of the priests.
During the four years of the Congress rule, the state received good rains, improving the agriculture productivity and bringing the rural economy back on rails after drought for six successive years during Telugu Desam Party rule.
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