Thousands throng Tirumala for Ratha Saptami in Andhra Pradesh

Devotees queue up on both sides of ‘Mada’ roads to watch the procession of ‘Surya Prabha Vahanam’ in Tirumala on Saturday.

A sea of ​​humanity thronged the hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara Rath Saptami festival here on saturday.

The festival formally begins with the procession of ‘Suryaprabha Vahanam’ at dawn and culminates with ‘Chandraprabha Vahanam’ at night.

The temple was a chock-a-block in the north-west corner of the city as thousands of devotees thronged the feet of Lord Malayappa atop the Surya Prabha Vahanam to catch a glimpse of the sun’s rays.

Rhythmic recitation of hymns ‘Aditya Hridayam’ and ‘Suryastakam’ by over 100 students belonging to SV Bala Temple added to the festive atmosphere, which by then had been drowned in the chanting of ‘Govinda Naam’ by the devotees.

Spiritual ecstasy reached its climax and the vast assembly burst into ecstasy as the first rays of the sun touched the feet of the deity.

Thousands of devotees offered ‘harti’ from their respective places and provided a visual feast to the spectators.

As the day progressed, processions of other vehicles like Chinna Shesha, Garuda, Hanumantha, Kalpavriksha, and Sarva Bhupal were also held at regular intervals before concluding with Chandraprabha.

Thousands of devotees take a holy dip in the ‘Pushkarini’ during the ‘Chakrasnanam’ held in the afternoon.

TTD Executive Officer AV Dharma Reddy and JEO Sada Bhargavi ensured free food, drinking water and uninterrupted supply of milk to the thousands of devotees who thronged the galleries from dawn to dusk to watch all the processions.

Meanwhile, the day was marred by the excesses of the security personnel. Devotees complained about the lack of safekeeping. They said that they are either forced to wait for long in the galleries after the conclusion of each procession, or have to take circuitous routes to reach their cottages.