Mysuru: Barricaded roads, ban on vehicle entry, armed commandoes covering the VVIPs, people barred from certain points, thick security cover, bandh-like atmosphere, argument between media persons and the Police — these were a few scenes witnessed at Chamundeshwari Temple atop the imposing Chamundi Hill in city this morning when Congress President Rahul Gandhi came calling.
The AICC President began his tour of old Mysuru region today and he arrived at the Mysore Airport at Mandakalli in a special plane from New Delhi. His plane landed at 9.10 am and was received by CM Siddharamaiah and a host of Congress leaders.
Heading straight to Chamundi Hill, Rahul’s convoy that had over 35 vehicles including the armed vehicles of Special Protection Group as he is given ‘Z Plus’ security reached the Hill top at 9.43 am. Rahul entered the temple at 9.44 am and was inside the sanctum sanctorum till about 9.48 am. He was led into the special room in front of the Chamundeshwari idol (where only VVIPs and special guests are allowed) and Rahul sat on the ground while priests performed pujas.
Poorna Kumbha welcome
As Rahul neared the entrance of the temple, he was given a “Poorna Kumbha” welcome by women carrying Kalashas. Dollu Kunita and Veeragaase teams too performed and Rahul walked amidst them, smiling and waving at his supporters.
Dressed in his trade-mark white-and-white kurta-pyjama, the Congress President made a “Sankalpa” and prayed for the welfare of the country and his party. In the absence of Chamundi Temple Chief Priest Shashishekar Dikshit as he had gone to attend a Rathotsava at Krishna Raja Sagar Village, priest Deviprasad performed pujas.
History of temple
Inside the temple, Rahul asked CM Siddharamaiah about the history and significance of the temple. Siddharamaiah gave details about the holy place in English while priests Deviprasad and Shankar Jois told him in Hindi that the temple was among the 18 ‘Shakti Peetas’ as mentioned in Hindu mythology. This place was powerful as Goddess Chamundeshwari killed demon Mahishasura here. They explained to him how the Goddess is worshipped in nine ‘Alankaras’ during Navaratri festival.
Priests told SOM that Rahul was impressed with the history of the place and told them that it was his first visit to a ‘Devi’ temple of such significance. After his temple visit, Rahul headed towards Maharani’s College where he interacted with students.
Entry of private vehicles was banned from 8 am till 10 am atop the hill and the vehicles were allowed only after Rahul’s convoy left the Hill temple. Only government buses were allowed and they too were blocked as the VVIP convoy entered and exited the temple premises. Congress activists had lined up on both sides of the road holding welcome banners and placards hailing their leader.
Atop the Hill, a bandh-like atmosphere prevailed as all the shop and business establishments were closed due to security risk. Devotees were prevented from entering the temple and their entry was blocked at Dasoha Bhavan. They were allowed inside only after Rahul left.
As the security was tight, no media person was allowed entry into the temple complex and only journalists who had valid passes were allowed inside. This led to heated arguments between media personnel and the Police. Officers who otherwise recognised journalists at different event venues, refused to oblige saying that they have got strict orders from their bosses on maintaining security.
Gandhi was accompanied by Energy Minister D.K. Shivakumar, AICC General Secretary and Karnataka In-charge K.C. Venugopal, District Minister Dr. H.C. Mahadevappa, KPCC Working President Dinesh Gundu Rao and former Bengaluru Mayor Ramachandrappa.