Grandeur marked the procession of the auspicious ‘Garuda Seva’ at the famous hill temple of Lord Venkateswara on Sunday on the fifth day of the ongoing Navaratri Brahmotsavams. Lakhs of devotees from different parts of the country converged atop the hill town to witness the celestial procession of Garuda Seva.
The processional deity of Lord Malayappa Swamy mounted atop the bejewelled golden Garuda Vahanam was taken out in a grand procession around the mada streets encircling the holy shrine.
The town wore a festive atmosphere and the air was electrified with the chanting of ‘Govinda’ ‘Govinda’ by tens of thousands of devotees who had congregated several hours in advance all along the way the procession passed by.
The deity was adorned with very rare and precious jewels like Makarakanti, Saligrama haram and Lakshmi haram whose history is rooted deep in the temple legends.
The open top galleries which registered a nominal attendance in the morning were full to their capacity by evening. The celestial procession was advanced by one hour. Both the foot paths leading to the sacred town experienced a constant flow of trekking pilgrims since Saturday.
The devotees were subjected to severe difficulties owing to the traffic restrictions during the day which also coincided with the visit of Chief minister N. Chandrababu Naidu. Police excesses marked the day. District Minister Bojjala Gopalakrishna Reddy also at one stage expressed anger for obstructing the way for his vehicle. The services of the TTD-run free buses were confined to certain areas. The movement of the private cabs was also restricted. Devotees were rather forced to walk long distances along the convoluted routes to reach their destinations.
Meanwhile, spiritual ecstasy marked the procession of ‘Mohini Avataram’ in the morning. The deity dressed in the garbs of Queen Mohini mounted atop the exquisitely decorated ivory palanquin was a cynosure to the eyes of the devotees.