Mallanna Talapaga, an offering from the Pridhvi dynasty

Mallanna Talapaga, an offering from the Pridhvi dynasty

It would be a moment of pride for the artisans, when they know that their work was adorned by the kings and emperors for once or twice.

It would be a moment of pride for the artisans, when they know that their work was adorned by the kings and emperors for once or twice. But it could be a great responsibility to keep the privilege than just a simple boon, when the celestial rulers want the family of artisans to do the same job every year.

Sivaratri was a festival of importance to all the devotees of Lord Siva. Attending the celestial wedding of Mallikharjuna and Bhramarambha at Srisailam is a customary to many families from Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Karnataka and Tamil Nadu. A number of families in them involve in the works of marriage of celestial gods and do their bit without expecting anything but the grace of the lord. Meet Venkateswarlu, the weaver from Pridhvi family who officially starts the Mallanna Kalyanamahotsavam at Srisailam for the past 50 years.

The public learns that Mallanna is ready for the marriage only when the ‘Nava Nandis’, nine bulls on his abode at Srisailam were covered with a white cloth, specially weaved by the Pridhvi family from Hastinapuram in the Prakasam district. Prithvi Venkateswarlu and his forefathers are weaving the special turban for the celestial god and his abode for over 200 years as a tradition.

With the commencement of Kartika masam, favorite of Lord Siva, and the Prithvi Venkateswarlu and his son Subbarao weaves the special turban with special care and dedication. After the completion of 300 cubits in length, it would be made into two parts and packed as two round cylinders.

Just two days before the Sivaratri, the Prithvi family starts from their native place of Hastinapuram in Jandrapet of Chirala mandal with a procession to the Sivalayam in Pandillapalli after conducting pooja at all Sivalayams on the way. After a night at the temple, it would be taken to Srisailam for the final ritual.

It would be Lingodbhava time and the Srisailam echoes with the chanting of ‘Harahara Mahadeva’ and ‘Sambho Sankara’. Then at the midnight of the Sivaratri, the officials turn of all lights in the temple premises and the nude Prithvi Venkateswarlu and his son Subbarao reaches the ‘Alaya Sikharam’ and covers the ‘Nava Nandi’s’ with one part of the cloth.

The other part of the cloth is used as a turban to the bridegroom Mallikharjuna for the marriage with Bhramaramba. After the completion of celestial marriage, the cloth will be auctioned before the devotees, who feel it having the cloth as the presence of god in their home.

For this year, the weaving of the special turban was completed few days ago and the arrangements are being made to the procession to Pandillapalli on February 22 and then to Srisailam. Pridhvi Venkateswarlu said, “It is a boon to our family and we are doing it a responsibility with utmost care and dedication.

Though it is a pride moment, we see it as a chance to the weavers of Chirala to participate in the work of god.” Pridhvi Subbarao said, “We start the weaving of the special cloth from the starting day of Kartikamasam. We are doing this with dedication and as a service to god and feel blessed to participate in the Siva Kalyanam.”

By Naresh Nandam & Kaleshavali

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