Lakhs of devotees from Mysore and surrounding places and other States today visited the Chamundeshwari temple atop Chamundi Hill on the occasion of Ashada Friday, giving a fillip to pilgrim tourism to the hill shrine.

The pilgrims’ rush continued unabated from the crack of dawn today. Devotees were seen lining up at the temple since yesterday night itself to have the darshan of the Goddess in the early hours of today.

Special pujas began as early as 2 am today and devotees were allowed to have the darshan of the Goddess at 5.30 am.

Additional ticket counters were opened for the benefit of devotees. Estimates put the turnout of devotees in the region to be over a lakh and this could increase in the subsequent weeks of the season. Nearly 7 lakh people visited Chamundi Hill during Ashada Shukravara last year and the number is expected to increase this year.

Special arrangements were in place for the devotees, including temporary shelters to park their vehicles at Lalitha Mahal helipad from where the devotees were taken to the hill-top free of cost in KSRTC buses (new green buses). The measure was taken to ensure free flow of traffic as only KSRTC buses were plying on the route.

Drinking water facility and temporary toilets was also provided at the helipad.

The district administration has banned the entry of private vehicles to Chamundi Hill on all Fridays during the Ashada season.

Senior citizens and physically handicapped were provided battery-operated vehicles to take them from the bus stop atop the hill to the temple.

The ceiling of temple decorated with pomegranates and walls adorned with colourful flowers greeted the visitors. An 8ft. tall statue of Goddess Chamundeshwari sitting on a lion has been erected near the temple.

Police were seen giving cautions to devotees to be beware of pick-pockets and child-lifters.

Check posts were erected near Tavarekatte to stop private vehicles from other sides of the hill from going near the temple.

Due to increase in monkey menace atop the Hill, a Constable had to lose his cap as a monkey snatched away his cap besides destroying it.

Unmarried women and childless couples as part of their Harake, were seen climbing the steps by applying turmeric and kumkum to each steps.

City Police Commissioner Dr. M.A.Saleem, DCP K.P. Bheemaiah and other senior officers visited the Hill and inspected security arrangements.

MP A.H.Vishwanath, MLAs G.T. Devegowda and M.K. Somashekar, former Minister S.A. Ramdas and other dignitaries offered prayers.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore