A sea of humanity witnessed the auspicious Pancha Maharathotsava at Srikanteshwara temple here this morning.

The puja rituals for the presiding deities to be carried in the five rathas (chariots) commenced at 6 am in the Shubha Meena lagna under the supervision of Head Priest N.T. Neelakanta Dikshit assisted by priests Narayan Jois and Nagachandra Dikshit. Ganapathi ratha was the pilot and in tow were the mammoth 90 tonne Gauthama ratha carrying the deity of Lord Srikanteshwara, Parvathamma ratha, Subramanya ratha and Chandikeshwara ratha. All the rathas were bedecked with flowers and festoons. After the puja rituals were through by 6.50 am, DC Dr. Ramegowda and MP R. Dhruvanarayan launched the Rathotsava by breaking coconuts and symbolically pulling the Gauthama ratha.

The five rathas were drawn through the Rathabeedhi by the devotees as others showered flowers and chanted prayers.

Several organisations had made arrangements to distribute curd-rice, puliogare and sweet to the devotees.

Former Minister Mahadev, ZP President K.P. Siddaveerappa, SP R. Dilip, Additional SP Mohan Reddy, Assistant Commissioner Basavaraj, Tahasildar Priyadarshini, Temple Executive Officer Chancrashekar and others were present.

Also in attendance were fire tenders, ambulances and a crane. The theppotsava will be held at 7 pm on Mar. 26.

Untoward incidents

Chain-snatching: As this year the Rathotsava was held on a Sunday, the crowd was much more and so were the incidents of theft and pic-pocketing. So far three incidents of chain-snatching have been reported and over eight cases of mobile phones theft and pick-pocketing have come to light.

Bull trouble: Two bulls barged into the group pulling the chariot causing commotion for a while. One devotee was injured and taken to the hospital before the alert cops managed to chase the bulls away from the crowd.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore