Vijaywada: For the first time in the history, the annual folk festival of Vizianagaram's presiding deity Sri Pydithalli Ammavari Jatara, is likely to be held sans human participation due to Covid restrictions. The festivities will be held on October 27.
Sri Pydithalli Ammavari Jatara is celebrated on the first Tuesday after Dasara festival every year. It draws three to four lakh people from different parts of the Andhra Pradesh and also from neighbouring Odisha and Chhattisgarh.
The devotees witness the spectacle of the priest sitting on top of the 55-foot pole (sirimanu) in regal robes to be taken around the fort. But, this year doubts raise over the gathering of the devotees. As per the tradition, devotees throw bananas at the priest as they believe that the priest is possessed.
The district administration on Friday held a meeting with leaders of various political parties, representatives of various associations and others on how to celebrate the festival owning to the Covid-19 pandemic. Considering the opinions expressed during the meeting, the district administration led by District Collector Dr M Hari Jawaharlal and Minister Botsa Satyanarayana decided that considering the Covid-19 prevalence the festival will be held in a low-key affair this year.
The district administration said, a limited number of devotees, who manage to the Sirimanu in regal robes to be taken around the fort, will be allowed at the festival. There will be no cultural and other events during the festival. The district administration will telecast live the festival so that people can witness from their homes, they added.
The district administration has also decided to the shutdown of shops and commercial establishments on October 27 to prevent the gathering of the crowd on the day of the festival.
The folk festival begin with the Mandala deeksha on October 2 that will be followed by the Artha Mandala deeksha on October 22. Sirimanotsavam, the main event of the fest, will be held on October 27, Thaptsavam on November 3 and Uyyala Utsavam on November 10, followed by the Chandi homam on November 11.