Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy inaugurated the much-awaited 12-day Tungabhadra Pushkaralu festival in Kurnool on Friday. The CM landed at 12.10 pm at the Orvakal airport in a special flight, and headed towards Sankal Bagh Pushkar Ghat in Kurnool for the inaugural prayer of Tungabhadra Pushkaralu, according to official information.
The CM was scheduled to inaugurate the Pushkaralu at 1.21 pm, but arrived a few minutes later. According to pundits, this time marks the beginning of the auspicious period of the Pushkaralu, which will last till December 1. The festival, which is held once every 12 years, is dedicated to the worship of the 12 rivers that flow across India, and is considered to be a very spiritual time by pilgrims. This year, however, the festival is being held in the shadow of the coronavirus pandemic.
The state government arranged 23 ghats in the district where the river flows. However, spiritual bathing in the river, which is generally considered an important part of the Pushkaralu, is not allowed this year in view of the pandemic. Likewise, the government is allowing people to attend certain rituals only after obtaining e-tickets.
Besides Andhra Pradesh, a few politicians, including Allola Indrakaran Reddy, have also conducted prayers in Jogulamba Gadwal district on the banks of the river in Telangana as well, commemorating the Pushkaralu. Devotees took a holy dip in the Telangana side of the river in Kurnool, which lies on the border of the two Telugu states.
This year, several devotees from Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and Maharashtra are expected to participate in the Pushkaralu.
Meanwhile, the Telangana government has also prepared all the necessary arrangements for the Pushkaralu, held in Alampur in Telangana, and has issued separate guidelines for the festival amid the COVID-19 pandemic. In Telangana, children below ten years and elders above 65 years of age are not allowed at the site. Furthermore, only those with COVID-19 negative reports will be allowed to take a dip in the river.