The grand Ram Navami festival began throughout the State this morning with the ‘ritualistic’ wedding ceremony of Lord Ram and Sita conducted at Ram Temple of Bhadrachalam where Chief Minister N Kiran Kumar Reddy and his wife attended.
Nearly 10,000 devotees converged at Gangabowli in Dhoolpet in the morning. The procession began around noon. At the vanguard was the 12-foot idol which drew all the attention.
Women in large number joined the ‘Shobhayatra’ which observers say are far more than last year. Hundreds of makeshift water stalls were set up along the route. The procession wended its way through Mangalhat, Siddiamber bazaar, Gowliguda, Hanuman Tekri. The crowd on both sides lustily cheered the shobhayatra chanting, “Jai Shri Ram.”
Police had mobilised a massive bandobast to prevent untoward incidents. Organisers say the procession will gather around one lakh people by the time it wound up. Besides, local police, RAF, 20 platoons of APSP had been deployed. City police commissioner AK Khan had ordered deployment of scores of plainclothes men to ensure that the shobhayatra passed off peacefully. This was in view of the threat by a Delhi-based right-wing organisation that planned to march to Hyderabad.
(With inputs from Anubha Singh, Inkeshaf Ahmed, Rahul Ramakrishna)