Mysuru: Thousands of devotees drawn from Mysuru and parts of Tamil Nadu and Andhra Pradesh had the darshan of Mysuru’s presiding deity Goddess Sri Chamundeshwari this morning on Sri Chamundeshwari Vardhanti Mahotsava.
Vardhanti, or the birthday of the Goddess was celebrated today, the saptami day or Krishna paksha, in Ashada, commemorating the day on which the idol of the Goddess was installed and consecrated in the 1820s by Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar. History says that Nalwadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar presented a ‘Simha-Vahana’ (lion-shaped vehicle) and other jewels.
Rituals began at the temple as early as 3.30 am with Abhyanjana Majjana (where the idol is bathed with oil, turmeric and water) and the pujas began from 5.30 am. Pujas including Panchamruthabhisheka, Ekadashavara Rudrabhisheka, Sahasranaamarchane and Mantapotsava were held. After the elaborate rituals and the Mahamangalaarathi, the temple doors were opened to the devotees at 7 am. As the doors were opened, there was heavy rush of devotees at the steps and entrance and men, women and children were competing with each other for a darshan. The Police were seen making announcement for a couple of children who had gone missing.
Till around 12 noon, over 35,000 devotees had the darshan of the Goddess inside the temple’s sanctum sanctorum and according to the Police, the numbers are likely to touch one lakh by evening.
The temple will be open for darshan till 11 pm. The idol of the Goddess was decorated like Sri Rajarajeshwari and the puja rituals were led by Sri Chamundeshwari Temple chief priest Shashishekar Dikshit.
Scion of Mysore royal family Yaduveer Krishnadatta Chamaraja Wadiyar arrived at the temple at 7 am and performed special pujas to the Goddess on behalf of Yadu dynasty. Dressed in white royal robes with a green Mysore Peta, Yaduveer also took part in the ‘Chinnada Pallakki Utsava’ where the idol of the Goddess was taken around the temple in a golden palanquin.
As the palanquin came around the temple, tunes of Mysore Anthem (Kaayo Shree Gowri…) played by Palace Band Troupe and the ‘Jai Chamundeshwari’ chants by devotees reverberated in the air. The ‘Chinnada Pallakki Utsava’ concluded at 11.30 am.
Free bus service was arranged from the Lalitha Mahal Helipad to the Hill top and the buses were parked near Tavarakatte. From Tavarakatte to the top, there were only devotees with no vehicles. The KSRTC had arranged 28 free buses from the Helipad. There were over 60 buses, including ordinary and Volvo services, operating from the KSRTC bus stand. While the fare for ordinary bus was Rs. 17, Volvos charged Rs. 30, normal fares without any increase.
Devotees had assembled at Lalitha Mahal Helipad as early as 2 am to catch the bus and have an early darshan. Over 1,500 devotees had assembled there and were asking the KSRTC drivers to start the bus service. As the drivers said that Muzarai Department Officials had to take a count, some devotees objected. This also led to some arguments and finally, the buses began operations at 6 am.
Malavalli MLA P.M. Narendra Swamy and Krishnaraja MLA M.K. Somashekar were present and Narendra Swamy was seen distributing Hulianna prasadam to devotees. Several voluntary organisations were distributing free food for the devotees at around eight to nine places.
Prajnavantha Nagarika Vedike had distributed over 30,000 laddus and Gajanana Rice Mill had made arrangements for Kesaribath prasadam.
Over 500 Policemen, led by DCPs Dr. HT. Shekhar and Dr. Vikram V. Amathe, supervised the security arrangements.