Express News Service
HYDERABAD: People usually go to temples for peace and solace. But those who are going to Yadagirigutta Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple are returning in a frazzled state of mind, due to unpleasant experiences.
The temple has been reconstructed and was dedicated to the devotees on March 28, after almost six years. The travails of the devotees began after the renovated temple was inaugurated by Chief Minister K Chandrasekhar Rao.
As there is no parking space on the hillock, all vehicles are being made to park at the foot of the hillock. From there, RTC buses have been arranged to ferry devotees to the temple atop the hillock. As there is a waiting time of 30-40 minutes between every bus, buses are going packed with devotees who are being ferried like flock of sheep in the blistering hot summer.
As they reach the temple, they are being made to wait for two-three hours in the queue to complete their darshan. If at all a devotee has to use the restroom, he would have to go all the way back to the base, as the sewerage works on the hillock have not yet been completed. Women, children and diabetic persons are facing unseen difficulties.
Devotees have been finding it difficult to get drinking water, or some air while standing in the queue. Due to the work on air conditioners inside the Mukha Mandapa area still ongoing, devotees coming in large numbers have been feeling suffocated. An elevator which was meant to carry the elderly and the differently-abled directly to the main temple is not being pressed into service.
Dry Pushkar Ghat
After going through a harrowing experience of darshan, when the devotees are ferried back to the base, they are finding the Pushkar Ghat called Lakshmi Pushkarini dry, though it was filled with water just before the Chief’s event.
According to an official who spoke on anonymity, Godavari water from Kondapochama Sagar, which would be filled in Baswapur reservoir, would then reach Gandi Cheruvu in Yadagirigutta. From there the water would be let into the Pushkarini. Due to the irrigation works yet to be completed and the Pushkarini yet to be handed over to Yadagirigutta Temple Development Authority (YTDA) by the executing agency, devotees are not able to take a holy bath.
For the past one week, there has been an agitation by auto drivers, devotees and locals irrespective of their political party affiliation, who have been demanding that temple authorities complete all the works and allow their vehicles on the hillock.
According to G Anand, a local, temple authorities couldn’t estimate that devotees would visit in such large numbers. He says that the flow of devotees has grown five times as compared to the times before the temple’s reconstruction and that the authorities had failed in planning it all well.
Though there are community hostels and lodges in the temple town, they were still not enough to accommodate all, as 50,000 to 60,000 devotees are visiting the temple on Saturdays and Sundays, and, even on regular days, the flow is quite high because of all the media hype about the temple.
As devotees reach the temple, they are being made to wait for two-three hours in the queue to complete their darshan
Problems resolved: EO
When contacted, YTDA Executive Officer N Geetha said that though there was an inconvenience for devotees for the first two days, all those problems have been resolved now. She said that drinking water, rest rooms, shelters and accommodation for devotees have been arranged. She maintains that the protests were happening only because the locals were very protective of the temple and because their vehicles were not allowed on the hillock. She said that every 2-3 minutes there is a bus to ferry the devotees to the temple and back. She also said that irrigation works were completed and Godavari waters were being filled into Lakshmi Pushkarini. Because there was maintenance and cleaning work to be done, for a brief period holy dip was not allowed. She said that around 35,000 devotees were visiting the temple on Sundays and holidays and that around 10,000 were visiting on other days.