(Last Updated on : 30/01/2015)
Andhra Pradesh is enamoured with thousands of religious centers, where weekly, monthly or annual Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are held. Every village and town in Andhra Pradesh has some kind of temple or place of worship where religious festivals are held, accompanied by fairs. Some of the Andhra Pradesh temple festivals are of local importance, while others have a wider significance. Amaravati Srisailam, Tripurantakam, Kaleswaram, Daksharamam, Kalahasti vemulavada and Inavole are the most important Saiva Kshetras and Srikurmam, Simhachalam, Nellore, Tirupati, Ahobilam, Srikakulam yadagiri, Bhadrachalam and Mamgalagiri are the most important Vaishnava Kshetras or religious sites in the state. Similarly, Warangal, Mandapaka, Alampuram, Secundrabad, Bejawada, Sulurpeta and Donakonda are important Sakti Kshetras. All these places hosts some significant Andhra Pradesh temple festivals.
The Andhra Pradesh temple festivals attract millions of devotees throughout the year, and the rituals observed here are traditional, in accordance with the Agamas. Kotappakonda Temple Fair is held in Narasaraopet taluk of Guntur district in the temple of Koteseswara Swamy. On the Mahashivarathri day, a big fair is held and lakhs of people participate in it. Devotees who come here vow to get their heads shaved. Many of them come to the hill from their villages with decorated and lighted prabhas to convert their vows. Maridamma Festival is held in the Maridamma temple, in Peddapuram taluk in East Godavari district. Celebrated for thirty-one days from the Amavasya in the month of Jyeshtha to the Amavasya in the month of Ashadha, this Andhra Pradesh temple festival also hosts dances like kolatoms and display physical feats and skills with sticks.
Sambhulingeswara Kalyanotsavam is another Andhra Pradesh temple festival, celebrated during Mahasivaratri for five days. On the first day, Prabhas are come out in procession. Cash, silver and gold ornaments, coconuts, fruits and flowers are offered to the Lord, along with cows and calves, tying - them to the Dhwajasthambha in fulfillment of their vows. It is believed that childless women who perform Sambhulingeswara Kalyanotsavam for five days, wearing wet clothes, would surely be blessed with children. Fasting and Jagaranam are also observed. A large five-day fair including cattle fair is held near the temple. Yellaramma Jatara is another Andhra Pradesh temple festival, celebrated in Yellaramma temple in Tanuku Taluk of West Godavari district.
Other temples in the Madapaka of Andhra Pradesh like Someswaraswami, Kesavaswami and Srirama Ganapati also celebrate festivals like Kalyanotsavams. Jaladurga Kalyanotsavam festival is celebrated in Kaikalur taluk of Krishna district; the temple is dedicated to Jaladurga. The festival of this deity is celebrated for sixteen days from the first day of the month of phalguna and on the eleventh day the wedding of Jaladurga and Gokarmeswara swami is celebrated. About ten thousands fowls, five hundred goats, and a thousand sheep are sacrificed to the deity.
Marriage of Bhadrakali and Virabhadra is also an Andhra Pradesh temple festival of significance. Durgamma Festival is celebrated for four days in the month of Bhadrapada. Nizamabad is the district headquarters of Nizamabad is another historical place celebrating many regional Andhra Pradesh temple festivals. Bada Rama Mandir, Dalta Mandir temples of Hanuman, Raghunathaswami, Nilakantheswaraswami and Venkateswara are the places of worship.
In Bada Rama Mandir of Andhra Pradesh, Sri Rama Navami festival is celebrated from ten days and Dalta jayanti is celebrated in Dalta Mandir for nine days in the month of Margasera. The Nilkantheswara temple is located on a quaint hillock and is enclosed by a high wall. The significance of the temple is that the rays of the rising sun fall directly on Shiva lingam. Nilkantheswara festival is one of the well known Andhra Pradesh temple festivals and is celebrated for two days during Ratha Saptami in the month of Magha and more than thirty thousand followers assemble. The Jhanda festival or Venkateswara swami mela is celebrated for fifteen days in the month of Bhadrapada. Bejjanki in the Karimmagar taluk of Karimmagar district is another distinguished Andhra Pradesh temple festivals.
The Andhra Pradesh temple festivals bring together thousands of devotees from across the globe in these special occasions.