Pandemic threat fails to deter Varalakshmi Vratham celebration
Varalakshmi Vratham was celebrated with devotion and religious fervour on Friday. The festival was a low-key affair last year due to COVID-19 pandemic. Notwithstanding, the fears of a third wave this year, the people flocked to flower and vegetable markets to buy essentials for the festival, which is usually celebrated on the second Friday of Sravana Masam.
Temples were spruced up and priests performed the special pujas amidst Vedic chants. Presiding deities were decked up as goddess Varalakshmi in a few temples. The festival is celebrated to propitiate the Goddess Lakshmi. Women dressed up in their traditional best performed puja. Though it is a usual practice to invite friends and relatives for lunch, many preferred it to be a family affair.
Priests at the Kanaka Durga temple performed “Lakhsa Kumkum Archana” and other rituals in Mallikarjuna Maha Mandapam for the convenience of the devotees.
Flowers turn costlier
Markets were abuzz with festival revellers. Flowers turned expensive in the wholesale markets and beyond the reach of common man in retail markets. Their prices had gone up five-fold.
Chrysanthemum, which is considered as a must during the festival, was sold between ₹400 and ₹560 a kg. Similarly, the minimum cost of roses was ₹300 per kg. Except for marigold, the prices of all the other flowers had risen significantly. Mango leaves were sold at ₹20 to ₹30 a bunch. Prices of the betel leaves and banana had also skyrocketed.
Chief Minister Y.S. Jagan Mohan Reddy, in a tweet, greeted the people on the occasion of Varalakshmi vratham. “The goddess should shower her blessings to one and all. The people have to celebrate the festival with devotion and seek the blessings of the goddess,” he said.
Former Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu said people had to celebrate the festival with devotion and dedication. “I wish the goddess showers boons and prosperity on them,” he said.