The Andhra Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) came up with the idea of popularizing the annual three-day astronomical wonder of the rays of the sun falling on the feet, navel and crown of the presiding deity of Lord Sri Vedanarayanaswamy temple at Nagalapuram in the district of Chittoor.
For the first time, tourism officials are set to launch special tour packages for devotees from March 25-27, marking “Surya Puja Utsavam” celebrations.
The Vedanarayanaswamy Temple at Nagalapuram on the busy Puttur-Chennai trunk road rose to glory under the rule of King Vijayanagara Srikrishna Devarayana in the early 16th century, and the temple town was named after his mother Nagalamba. After centuries of neglect, this temple came under the care of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
The highlight of the temple is that every year in March, the rays of the sun enter the sanctum sanctorum (garbhagriha) in the evening for three consecutive days, touching the feet, the navel and the crown. Although it was the second such temple to feature the astronomical wonder, after the Arasavalli Temple in Srikakulam district, he could not see the spotlight.
The presiding deity in the temple is in the form of Matsyavataram (fish), the first incarnation of Lord Vishnu to protect the Vedas.
The Division Manager (APTDC) Mr. Giridhar Reddy said The Hindu that special buses would be operated from March 25 to 27 to enable devotees to have darshan at Nagalapuram temple in the evening and watch the rays of the sun fall on the presiding deity. “This is the first time we have embarked on the special package covering the temple, and it will continue every year,” the official said.
The package tour priced at ₹375 would be available at Srinivasam Resort in Tirupati for the three days. “Depending on the participation of the faithful, the number of buses will be planned. In coordination with the TTD, all arrangements will be made for worshipers to take our package,” Mr Reddy said. Devotees can contact 9848007033 or visit www.aptdc.gov.in to book tickets in advance.
Meanwhile, Nagalapuram temple will see a huge congregation of devotees from all the eastern mandals of Chittoor, Chennai and bordering villages of Tamil Nadu.