Thousands of devotees witness car festival at Chamundi Hill

Rituals initiated by royal scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar

After Navaratri, Chamundi Hill here on Saturday witnessed devotees making a beeline for the grand ‘Rathotsava’ or the car festival of Goddess Chamundeshwari.

The annual ceremony dedicated to the deity is held a few days after Navaratri on the day of Uttarabhadra Nakshatra and people congregate in huge numbers atop the hill to participate in the festivities.

The Rathotsava was initiated by royal scion Srikantadatta Narasimharaja Wadiyar accompanied by his wife Pramodadevi Wadiyar by symbolically pulling the chariot during Vrushchika lagna at 8.30 am after which the devotees continued with the ritual.

Earlier, the Wadiyars, who were accorded ‘poorna kumbha’ welcome, performed
pushparchane and mahamangalarathi to the utsava murthy followed by ‘Suhasini puja’ .

The ‘utsava murthy’, an idol of the presiding deity meant for procession, was taken out after performing Navagraha puja at Durbar Mantapa and consecrated on the bedecked 30-feet-high ratha (car). Chief priest Shashishekara Dikshit and his team members, including Devi Prasad Dikshit, guided the Wadiyars during the rituals.

The festival was attended by over 50,000 people who were vying with each other to behold the sight of Goddess adorned with flowers and jewels. People had occupied all vantage points around the temple to catch a glimpse of the unfolding event. They were seen throwing (Hannu) fruits and javana (Flower) at the car.

The car, after going around the temple with devotees chanting in praise of the Goddess, was stationed in front of the temple till 4.30 pm. The deity was later taken into the temple after performing ‘Hamsavahana’ and ‘Simhavahana.’ The Rathotsava will culminate with Theppotsava at Devi Kere on Monday evening.

Priests claim that it is the only rathotsava in Mysore region, which is conducted with the bejewelled idol.

With each passing year, the event is gaining popularity, but least concern is shown regarding environmental issues. Though plastics are banned atop the hill, devotees were seen carrying prasadam and other items purchased there in polythene bags.

Police personnel had been deployed in huge numbers for security.
People thronged the shrine since early morning itself, making it difficult for the cops to manage them.

Medical education and district in-charge minister S A Ramdas, MLA M Satyanarayana, police commissioner K L Sudheer, DCP (law and order) Basavaraja Malagatti and others were present.

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