Endowments Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy and MP Sitaram Naik accompany priests bringing Saralamma idol. He grand procession of pilgrims following the tribal priests who brought the deity of Saralamma from Kannepalli village to Medaram jatara venue signalled the beginning of the historic Sammakka Sarakka Jatara here on Wednesday.
Tribal priests – Kaka Sammaiah, Venkateswarlu, Bhujanga Rao, Kanakamma and Laxmibai – bearing the same surname offered prayers at the small temple of Saralamma in Kannepalli for hours as the district officials waited for them to invite the deity into Medaram village. Hundreds of thousands of people filled every inch of the tribal hamlet. They vied with each other to touch the tribal priests who brought the Saralamma idol. However, the strong police party gave them enough protection from being heckled by the pilgrims.
Many others stood under running taps and after their clothes were wet, they slept on the road leading to Medaram asking the tribal priests to walk over them, while some others threw chickens into the air and cut them with knives as an offering to the deity en route. The blood from the animal sacrifice rained on those accompanying the tribal priests.
Thousands of devotees snaking their way towards the altar began saying the prayers aloud hearing the arrival of Saralamma. Those who were inching forward lazily began pushing each other to reach the altar at once. The police monitoring the queue lines prevailed over them and stopped them from rushing towards the altar. Men and women attired in their best and many swathed in turmeric turned up for the jatara. For tribal youth and also for non-tribals, it was a no-hold-barred celebration.
They all reached the Gaddalu (altar) dancing to the drum beats in gay abandon while elderly people silently prayed. A large number of tribal people moved in trance believing that they were possessed by the spirits of tribal goddesses. Endowments Minister A. Indrakaran Reddy, Member of Parliament A. Sitaram Naik, Joint Collector P.J. Patil and others accompanied the priests.