K M Dayashankar
Devasthanam’s Laxmi Ganapathi choultry was converted into a Covid isolation centre denying accommodation to pilgrims
Devotees visit Vemulawada in large numbers before going on pilgrimage to Medaram Samakka-Sarakka jatara, which would be held from February 16 to 19, 2022
RAJANNA-SIRCILLA: Sri Raja Rajeshwara Swamy devasthanam, the one and only biggest devasthanam in the Telangana state where pilgrims rush is always high and provides highest revenues to the endowments department, is plagued with acute shortage of accommodation for the devotees visiting the shrine.
The Vemulawada devasthanam has a total of 444 non-AC rooms (accommodation) for devotees including 26 at Rajeshwararapuram, 75 at Parvathipuram, 93 at Laxmi Ganapathi, 47 at Shivapuram, 62 at Shankarapuram, 63 at Nandeeshwara and 47 AC rooms including eight suites at Ammavari guest house.
Even as the devasthanam authorities are worried lot about the inadequate accommodation facilities to meet the pilgrims rush, the district authorities have taken over the Laxmi Ganapathi cottages numbering 93 rooms as Covid isolation centre during the outbreak of the second phase of the deadly pandemic virus in the month of April. Though the authorities have converted it into an isolation centre, no patient was kept in the centre or provided treatment.
Even after a steady decline of the virus-positive cases, the district medical and health department was still holding the building complex as the isolation centre without any patient. On the other hand, the devasthanam authorities were unable to utilise the complex to provide accommodation to the devotees visiting the shrine and also losing income since April 2021.
Neither the district medical and health department was using the cottages for providing treatment to the patients nor allowing the devasthanam authorities to allocate accommodation facilities to the devotees visiting the shrine, complained the temple authorities. Due to the non-availability of temple accommodation, the devotees were forced to shell out a huge amounts by residing in private hotels and lodges, they stated.
With the ensuing biennial Samakka-Sarakka jatara which would be held from February 16 to 19, 2022 in Medaram, the temple rush at the Vemulawada shrine would be very heavy. It is a tradition and belief among the devotees to visit Vemulawada temple shrine and offer prayers before going on a pilgrimage to the Medaram jatara, they stated.
The devasthanam authorities also stated that they had represented the matter to the authorities concerned to vacate the Laxmi Ganapathi choultry as there were no Covid patients so that they can provide accommodation to the devotees but in vain.