Thursday, 12 May 2016

Village vignettes - the temple with the SC priest.

The Aanjaneyalu temple in the Reddy hamlet in Varadappanaidupeta is where the SCs, the STs, the Reddys and the Naidus converge this auspicious day of Vaikunta Ekadashi in January.  

The priest is Anjaiah of our village, an SC. His  grandfather  founded the temple when, based on a dream, he discovered the rock with Aanjaneyulu Swamy’s image on it. The family has inherited the priesthood. Earlier his father performed the worship. Caste plays in many different ways in my country.

On this day, one of the coldest days of the year, people get up very early, and take bath, in their usually open-air bathrooms. Then in the cold and dark pre dawn , they all go to the Aanjaneyalu temple in Varadappanaidupeta a half kilometer away. They usually walk along the railway line. Along the way there is usually heavy mist and bejewelled spider webs glisten with morning dew. 


On the festival day buckets of  panchamrutham and other offerings are kept at the temple and distributed to the devotees. Balloons and festoons decorate the temple. Many of this is  organized by the Varadappanaidupeta devotees. The devotees come to the temple and offer the ‘guggulu’ (boiled and spiced pulses) they would have made at home, and return home  distributing it to everyone on the way. Some late comers keep getting handfuls from everyone returning on the way as they rush forward. 

 Children of all shapes and sizes with covers of all shapes and sizes wait to collect handfuls of guggulu from everyone. 

In a city these children would be seen as ‘begging’. In a community, these children are everyone’s children.  All the hamlets of the panchayat converge here on this day.


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