Religious prayers hosted by Telangana CM begin

Hyderabad, Dec 23 (IANS) A five-day ‘Ayutha Chandi Maha Yagam’ began on Wednesday at Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao’s farmhouse near here amid elaborate security arrangements.

Priests from Telangana, Andhra Pradesh and five other states began chanting hymns around 108 ‘homagundams’ (sacred fire pits) after performing religious rituals.

Massive arrangements have been made at the 120-acre farmhouse at Erravalli in Medak district near Hyderabad for the prayers, being held for world peace and public wellbeing.

While leading the Telangana movement four years ago, KCR had vowed to organise the religious event if a separate state became a reality.

President Pranab Mukherjee, the governors of Tamil Nadu and Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu, central and state ministers, MPs, two judges of the Supreme Court and other VVIPs are expected to participate.

Over 3,000 policemen have been deployed around the venue and closed-circuit television cameras installed within a radius of five kilometers.

Five helipads and parking arrangements for 20,000 vehicles have also been made near the venue.

As many as 40,000 people, including celebrities, public representatives, industrialists and others, have been invited by the chief minister for the event.

Arrangements have been made to provide ‘prasad’ and food to 50,000 people every day during the yagam.

Clad in prescribed dress for the religious ceremony, the chief minister, his wife and other family members, some cabinet colleagues, Governor E.S.L. Narasimhan and his wife took part in the rituals.

As many as 4,000 kg of cow ghee, 20 tonnes of moduga firewood (Butca Frondosa) and 12 tonnes of ‘payasam’ (rice boiled in sweetened milk) are among the materials to be used in the yagam.

The chief minister is said to be spending Rs.6-7 crore for the event with the help of his friends.

“Not even a rupee is being spent from the public exchequer,” he said in response to opposition criticism that he was wasting public money.

Separate seating arrangements for 10,000 people have been made to watch the prayers on giant screens. Another marquee has been set up for 2,000 women to perform the rituals.

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