Villagers turned up in large numbers to participate in ‘Prabhalu’ — a ritual in which Lord Shiva is taken out on a procession through paddy fields — in the Konaseema region of East Godavari district on Friday.
The Prabha is a chariot carrying Lord Shiva and decorated with bamboo poles and flowers. Each village brings their own Prabha to the designated site, where the Prabhalu are then put on display to mark their participation in the festival.
Jagganna Thota remains the largest gathering site in Ambajipeta, located in the heart of the Konaseema region. This year, at least 20 Prabhalu have been brought to the Jagganna Thota site alone, drawing hundreds of visitors till sundown.
Villagers carry the Prabha on their shoulders throughout the way by crossing irrigation canals and fields, right from the village all the way to the exhibition site, from where it will be later taken back to the respective village for a further procession through the entire night. People from all walks of life thronged to the exhibition sites on Friday to experience the ritual, which is an integral part of the cultural life in the Godavari delta. This year, the procession was conducted amid tight security with restrictions on firecrackers and gatherings in fields, due to the threat of COVID-19.
Police told reporters that the evening procession was completed peacefully with some minor restrictions on the celebration of the festival.