Devotees offer clay dogs to Shasthavu Devaru

The Makki Shasthavu Temple in Bethu village near Napoklu town, where clay dogs are offered by devotees.

Thousands of clay dogs welcome people who visit the Makki Shastavu Temple in Bethu village near Napoklu town.

It has been a practice for devotees to offer clay dogs to the deity in fulfilment of the vow they made. Hundreds of devotees visit the temple and offer such clay dogs, during the annual fair of the temple.

Preparations are on to offer the clay dogs on December 16, which is the day of ‘Sankramana’, as the annual festival of the temple will be celebrated on December 18 and 19.

Devotees climb the steps to have a glimpse of the stone idol of the presiding deity, ‘Shasthavu Devaru’, placed on a pedestal under a jack fruit tree and characterised by the trident (trishula).

The temple fair is observed twice a year and is marked by pomp in the region. The main festival is celebrated in the month of May and the other in the month of December.

The clay dogs are offered to the deity during the festival in December, on the day of ‘Dhanu Sankramana’. The clay dogs, however, are prepared in the ‘Vrishchika Masa’, a month before the festival.

The order can be placed by paying Rs 350 for a pair of dogs.

Clay supply

D R Shankar, a clay idol maker, said that the clay used to prepare the idols is sourced from the Balamuri village nearby.

“This has been the practice for the past 30 years. After preparing the idols, they have to be dried in shade. As per tradition, members belonging to 12 families of the village compulsorily bring 12 pairs of clay dogs and submit it at the temple,” Shankar said and added, “There has been a scarcity of fine clay these days.”

Kuttanjettira Shyam Bopanna, Temple Management Committee chairman, said that the clay dogs meant for the offerings had been brought to the temple from Dharmasthala at a cost of Rs 1.20 lakh two years earlier.

“The clay idols submitted by the devotees in the previous years are being replaced during the temple fair,” he added.

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