Vemulawada: There was a huge decline in the number of devotees to Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara Swamy temple on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri.
Though there was huge rush at the temple, it was much less compared to the previous year’s turnout. Thanks to Sammakka-Sarakka jatara, the biennial tribal festival held in the beginning of this month.
It is a tradition to have a darshan of Vemulawada Raja Rajeshwara Swamy before visiting Medaram jatara. Thus, the turnout of devotees for Shivaratri was less since a majority of the pilgrims had already visited the shrine just a few days ago.
According to temple authorities’ estimation, more than 1 lakh devotees visited the shrine as against 2 lakh last year. As a result, people did not face much difficulty to have a darshan of Lord Shiva.
People were also seen taking a holy dip in Dharmagundam. Devotees made small size Siva lingams with mud and offered puja. On the other hand, ‘Parvathis’ were seen exchanging alms (rice).
Saroja, a parvathi, said that Shiva sought alms for the well-being of the people.
As the devotees stay up during the night, the State Cultural Department has organised several cultural programmes in a big way to entertain pilgrims.
Kodemokku (bull offer) is a famous and ancient ritual in Vemulawada Rajarajeshwara Swamy temple. Devotees, irrespective of age and gender, would fulfill their promises made to Lord Shiva by offering Kodemokku.
As part of the ritual, people make rounds around the temple by holding a rope tied to a bull’s neck before tying it to a pole located in front of the main Shiva temple.
Though it is a common ritual, the demand is high for it on the occasion of Maha Shivaratri on Tuesday.
A majority of the people believe that childless couples are blessed with children here by the presiding deity. The couple who are blessed with children offer ‘Jodu Kode’ (a pair of bulls) during their next visit to the shrine.
Speaking to Telangana Today, M Srinivas of Jagityal said he offered Jodu Kodelu as he had made a promise to the god last year if he is blessed with a child. Recently, he was blessed with a baby boy.
Pilgrims have to pay Rs 100 for each bull if they want to offer a kode to the god. With each year, the temple is earning more revenue (more than Rs 10 crore) through Kodemokkulu followed by ‘Thalaneelalu’.