Thousands of devotees thronged the Bhadrachalam Sri Rama Temple in Khammam district on Friday to mark Vaikunta Ekadashi, which is observed in the Dhanur Masam as per traditional Telugu calendar with utmost devotion.
The festival is popularly known as Mukkoti Ekadasi attracts more than hundred thousand devotees from India and around the world.
After taking holy bath in River Godavari, thousands of devotees made a beeline to the Sri Rama temple since the early hours of Friday.
The festival is observed on the Shudda Ekadasi – the eleventh day during the waxing phase of moon – in Pushya or Margasira month which falls during the Dhanurmasam.
Vaikunta Ekadasi is a 10-day festival at Bhadrachalam Devasthanam and is known as Adhyayanotsavams. Another highlight of the 10-day festival is the Dasavatara Mahatosavams, or the celebration of the 10-incarnations of Lord Vishnu.
Dasami, the day a before Ekadasi, is popularly known as Teppotsavam or boat festival. Lord Rama and Sita are taken in a boat around the Godavari River.
On the Vaikunta Ekadasi day, the main highlight is the opening of the Vykuntha Dwarams at Northern Gate of the temple at the early morning hours.
This door is only opened on this particular day and the popular belief is that passing through this door will attain Moksha.
It may be noted here that the Uttara Dwaram has been reconstructed in D shape in accordance with ‘Vaastu Sastra' to enable more number of the pilgrims to have darshan of the idols of the presiding deity during the Uttara Dwara Darshanam on the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadasi.
Meanwhile, the district administration has made elaborate arrangements for the successful conduct of the celebrations of the annual mega event.
Anticipating the huge turnout, the district Collector has directed the officials to make appropriate arrangements for provision of adequate accommodation, drinking water, health and other facilities to the pilgrims.
The Collector had asked the Medical and Health department officials to set up round-the-clock first aid centre and press into service mobile medical teams in the temple town as well as at Parnashala.
The officials established information centres including one at bus stand to provide necessary information like the event wise details of the festivities and transport facilities to the devotees.
The Superintendent of Police deployed additional forces including five DSPs, 14 CIs and 53 SIs headed by an Additional SP during the festivities.
Meanwhile the festival is celebrated with lot of gusto in Tirumala Tirupati Sri Venkateshwara Devasthanam, Sri Rangam Ranganatha Swamy temple and many more Vishnu temples in the state.
The temples have been decorated with flowers and lights and performed special pooja and homa rituals for the prosperity of the state.