Hyderabad, July 24: Secunderabad Ujjaini Mahankali Jatra, popularly known as Lashkar Bolu, was being celebrated with much pomp and enthusiasm here on Sunday. Thousands of people, including the Chief Minister of Telanga, state ministers and central ministers from the state, thronged Ujjaini Mahankali temple in Secunderabad, the twin city of Hyderabad. The devout were waiting in long queues at the temple since the early hours of Sunday for the idols’s ‘darshan’. Telanga Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao, along with his family members, performed puja. He offered ‘pattu vastralu’ (silk clothes) to the goddess. The priests blessed the chief minister.
Police made elaborate security arrangements to ensure peaceful and hassle-free conduct of the festival. Hyderabad Police Commissioner Mahender Reddy said 3,000 police personnel were deployed. Police also installed more than 125 surveillance cameras to keep a vigil during the celebrations. Union Minister Bandaru Dattatreya visited the temple with his family members, and performed puja. Several state ministers, members of parliament, state legislators, leaders of various political parties and top officials also made offerings at the temple to mark the occasion. The stream of VIPs caused much inconvenience to commoners. Thousands of devotees were standing in three to four-km long queues. Though a separate queue was arranged for women, they were still waiting for four hours for their turn to offer ‘bolu’ to the goddess. The festival will conclude on Monday with ‘rangam’ (forecasting the future for next one year) followed by a colourful procession of the goddess on an elephant. The organisers expect that over 15 lakh people will participate in the festival this year. Bolu, dedicated to the goddess of power, Mahankali or Kali, is celebrated in parts of Hyderabad and Secunderabad during Ashada masam (July-August). (IANS)