Tirupati gears up to celebrate 'Ganga Jatara'
- Jatara begins on May 10 and concludes on May 17
- From this year Municipal Corporation will take part in the conduct of the festival in a grand manner
- People don different attires on each day following traditions during the seven-day festival
- Lakhs of devotees come from neighbouring Tamil Nadu
Tirupati: 'Ganga Jatara', the famous folk festival, is all set to begin at the Thathayyagunta Gangamma temple in Tirupati from Tuesday.
The week-long festival will be celebrated with religious fervour and gaiety. The civic body has decided to take part in organising the festival in a grand manner. The jatara draws huge crowds, including lakhs of people from neighbouring Tamil Nadu every year but it could not be held for the last two years due to the Covid pandemic.
The goddess is considered as the younger sister of Lord Venkateswara and as such TTD will present 'saree' to the Goddess. The festival will be held jointly by the temple trust board, Endowments department, TTD and Tirupati Municipal Corporation.
The folk festival is considered as 300 years old and according to temple legend, Goddess Gangamma was born in a village 'Avilala' on the south of Tirupati, when a local chieftain known as 'Palegadu' was harassing women in a big way. When the Palegadu outraged the modesty of Gangamma, she vowed to kill him following which he had gone into hiding at a remote place.
In search of him, Gangamma wore different costumes each day for one week and roamed in the entire area hurling abuses at the public to lure him out of hiding. When she donned the attire of 'Dora', Paledgadu was said to have felt that British Dora had come and came out of hiding whom she slayed in public proving that good prevails over bad.
Even now, the devotees don different attires as per traditions on each day and go around the streets. The festival begins with 'Chatimpu' (official announcement) on May 10 this year and concludes on May 17.
On the first day, people don Bhairagi Vesham followed by Banda Vesham, Thoti Vesham, Sunnapu Gandalu, Dora Vesham, Mathangi Vesham on subsequent days while on the last day Jatara will be held.
After the midnight of May 18, a clay idol of Gangamma called 'Viswaroopam' will be installed in front of the temple from which the cheek will be removed following traditions. Later the devotees take away the clay to their homes with devotion which marks the end of the jatara. Police will make elaborate security arrangements while civic corporation will take care of sanitation, drinking water and other arrangements. There is a fond belief among the denizens that they should visit the temple during the jatara days and offer prayers to the Goddess.