Thousands of devotees thronged the Chamundi Hills in the city today on the occasion of Vardhanthi in abode of Goddess Chamundeshwari which is observed on the fourth Friday of ‘Aashada Masa’. Serpentine queues were witnessed with ardent devotees arriving in the early hours for ‘darshan’ of the goddess.
It began with chants of hymns in praise of the Goddess and Rudrabhisheka, Panchamruthabhisheka, Sahasranamarchane, Mahamangalarathi and a ‘Durbar Utsava.’. Ms Pramoda Devi Wadiyar, wife of late royal scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, performed puja to the ‘utsava murthy’ marking the beginning of the procession.
The utsava murthy was taken out in gold-plated silver palanquin brought from the Palace for the occasion and was taken back soon after the utsava concluded. As the idol of the Goddess, adorned with flowers of various hues and jewels, was carried on the palanquin. The devotees rush continued throughout the day. People made a beeline to the hill where the vardhanti is observed on ‘Revathi Nakshatra’ of ‘Krishna paksha’ in the month of ‘Ashada.’
Shashishekar Dixit, Chief Priest, said, although ‘Ammanavara Vardhanti’ is observed as her star day, in reality, it is the day when Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar installed the ‘utsava murthy’ in front of the sanctum sanctorium. Despite elaborate arrangements, the city police, commando force, home guards and private security personnel had a tough time managing the crowd. Even mounted police were pressed into service. Private vehicles were not allowed atop the hill. KSRTC buses ferried devotees from Hotel Lalitamahal Palace helipad. Additional buses were operated from the City Bus Stand. A ticket counter for special entry was opened at helipad. Aside from mass feeding organised by the temple authorities at Dasoha Bhavana, devotees also distributed ‘palau,’ ‘pongal’ and sweets.Volunteers distributed water to people. Special pujas conducted by with more then 25 priests led by Head Priest Shashishekar Dixit, began after the deity’s idol was given an oil bath and later decorated with a silk saree, gold ornaments and multi-coloured flowers including jasmine and marigold.