Vizianagaram: The annual Sirimanotsavam of presiding deity of Vizianagaram town, Sri Pydithalli Ammavaru, was a low-key affair this year. It was celebrated without the usual congregation of devotees on 27 October.
Normally, over three lakh devotees from various districts of north Andhra Pradesh like Visakhapatnam, Vizianagaram, and Srikakulam and parts of south Odisha visit Vizianagaram to seek the blessings of the presiding deity. However, this year only over 5,000 devotees gathered for the festival due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As per schedule, the procession of Sirimanu started at around 3.35 p.m at Chaduru Gudi of Pydithalli and moved slowly towards the fort. The chief priest of the temple, Bantupalli Venkata Rao, was perched on top of a 35-feet-high pole (sirimanu) and paraded from the temple to the fort three times before returning to the temple.
The Andhra Pradesh Legislative Assembly Speaker, Tammineni Sitaram, ministers Botsa Satyanarayana, and several political leaders offered prayers to the goddess in the morning. Pujas were conducted at the Pydithallamma temple in the morning and devotees sought her blessings.
The Vizianagaram police chief, B. Raja Kumari, deployed over 3,000 police personnel at various locations in the Vizianagaram town to prevent the entry of devotees during the Sirimanotsavam and prevent possible spread of the virus.