Nalgonda: Bhavojis, the priests of tribal temples, reached out to the State government to provide financial assistance to meet the expenses for ‘dhoopa deepa naivedhyams’ in tribal temples and sought honorarium for them on par with Hindu temples.
There were hundreds of tribal priests working at the temples of Sri Balaji, Anjaneya Swamy, Kalika Devi, Tulja Bhavani, Seva Lal and Peddamma thalli temples, which were located at tribal hamlets in erstwhile Nalgonda district.
The tribal temples have been maintained with the money donated by the local tribals, and Bhavojis were also taking responsibility for conducting puja programmes daily.
Generally, the temples would also be centre points for festivals and other rituals in the tribal hamlets. It was a practice for the tribals to set afire wood in front of the temple in the night time to help keep the wild animals away from their area.
Speaking to the Tabloid Today, M Ramachandra Swamy, a tribal priest at Hanuman temple at Ramdas Thanda of Nampally mandal in Nalgonda district, told that the tribal temples have been neglected by the earlier governments in united Andhra Pradesh.
“We are running the temples bearing the costs from our pockets and donations. After formation of Telangana State, the Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao has decided to celebrate ‘Sevalal Jayanthi’ officially. With the same gesture, the Chief Minister should also take a decision to extend financial assistance for maintenance of tribal temples,” he requested.
Dhanavath Balu Swamy, a tribal priest from ‘Mitya thanda’ of Tripuraram mandal in the district, reminded that the State government has been extending money to Hindu temples for conduct of ‘dhoopa deepa naivedhyams’ and also honorarium to the archakas (priests). The State government should extend the same to the tribal temples and their priests, he maintained.