All roads lead to Medaram:A sea of devotees at the Jampana Vagu at Medaram where the historic Sammakka Sarakka jatara got under way in Warangal district on Wednesday.-Photos: M. Murali
The event begins with installation of Sarakka deity; pilgrims from across the country arrive at Medaram
The much awaited historic Sammakka Sarakka jatara began here on Wednesday with the arrival of tribal deity Sarakka from Kannepalli village.
District Collector G. Kishan and Joint Collector Pousomi Basu offered prayers at the Sarakka temple in Kannepalli village, 5 k.m. from Medaram, before a group of tribal priests huddled into the temple to perform some rituals. After about two hours, they came out carrying the deity and then the massive procession began with hundreds of policemen forming a rope party to keep at bay the surging crowd of pilgrims.
The procession sprinted towards Medaram as hundreds and thousands of devotees followed the priests. It took nearly three hours for the procession to reach the altar.
The priests then installed the deity Sarakka completing part of the jatara.
On Thursday, they will carry the deity of Sammakka from nearby forests and install at the altar.
A surge of tribal devotion for the legendary koya women – Sammakka and Sarakka — saw one of the largest ever congregation of people assembling in this forest village.
Lakhs of pilgrims from various parts of the country descended on this tiny village lending a colourful, though rather crowded, start to the four-day biennial festival to pay homage to the two martyrs who went down fighting the imperial armies of the Kakatiya monarch, Prataparuda-II, eight centuries ago.
They came in motorised vehicles, bullock carts, on foot in thousands causing an unprecedented traffic jam from Medaram whose tail could be traced all over the road leading to Warangal.
Villages located in the thick forest adjoining Medaram were bursting at their seams with new settlements springing up overnight.
Reports indicated that the inflow of pilgrims may touch a staggering one crore on Friday when goddess Sammakka is brought from the forest to the Medaram jatara site by tribals.
Men and women attired in their best and many swathed in turmeric turned up for the jatara. For tribal youth, it was a no-hold-barred celebration. They reached the Sammakka Sarakka platform dancing to the tune of drums in gay abandon while elderly people tried their best to have darshan.
Police had tough time controlling the surging crowds.