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Naikpods revere Maisamma in Gandhari Fort

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Bokkalagutta: Naikpod community’s elders and priests on Saturday worshipped their deity Maisamma, amidst fanfare and religious fervour atop of hillock in the ancient Gandhari fort on the outskirts of Bokkalagutta hamlet.

The celebration in the hamlet falling under Thimmapur village in Mandamarri mandal, were part of rituals of the ongoing Gandhari Maisamma Jatara. The fair is an important religious and cultural event for Naikpods, one of the Scheduled Tribes.

The elders and priests from many villages in Mandarri, Kasipet, Dandepalli, Hajipur and Jannaram mandals ceremonially carried idols of deities from the temple of Sadar Bheemanna to Jeedi Thota situated near the fort. They also worshipped an idol of Sri Veeranjaneya Swamy located on the way to the fort. The priests of Naikpod performed the ‘Pedda Puja’ to Maisamma, the main event of the fair, after purifying the idol of deity at midnight. They drew ‘Patnam’, a unique drawing to appease the goddess. Tribal artistes later performed traditional dance forms in the night enthralling devotees.

Members of Naikpod, Koya, Gond, and Manne or Mannewar tribes belonging to several parts of erstwhile Adilabad congregated at the historic fort for the celebrations arriving at the spot travelling on bullock carts, trolleys, auto-rickshaws, tractors and lorries. They camped near the fort by erecting tents and under the trees. The darshan of the deity is scheduled for Sunday that would be traditionally followed by a meal at the foot of the hillock.

Earlier, on Friday, Naikpod elders performed holy dip of the idols in the Godavari river after a procession as part of rituals of the first day of the fair. They offered ‘naivedyam’ to the deities and brought back the idols to the holy place of Sadar Bheemanna, a deity of the tribals in the evening. Naikpods worship Maisamma, an important deity of the tribe, in the Hindu month of Magha. Elaborate arrangements were made for the smooth conduct of the fair. Gandhari Fort is believed to have been erected by some tribal kings with the help of the then Kakatiya rulers around 900 years ago.

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