Mangaluru, Oct 12 (IANS) Hundreds of devotees on Monday thronged the ancient Kukke Subrahmanya temple in Dakshina Kannada district to perform special service on a day that coincided with ‘Ashlesha’ nakshatra’s (star) appearance in the inter-stellar space.
“The Ashlesha bali seva (service) was performed by the devotees three times during the auspicious day to mark the appearance of its celestial star, which is the 9th of the 27 constellation of stars (Cancer) in Hindu astrology,” a temple official told IANS over phone.
Ashlesha is also known as the clinging star or naga (hydra-headed serpent).
Located in the heart of Subrahmanya village, about 100 km southeast of Mangaluru in Sullia taluk of the southern state, the temple is dedicated to Hindu god Subrahmanya.
The temple had reopened on September 14, six months after it was shut due to the Covid-induced lockdown and its extension since March 25 to contain the virus spread.
“Though there was huge rush of devotees since Sunday for the special rituals, we had to regulate them and allow a limited number at a time inside the temple as per the Covid-19 guidelines to maintain physical distancing,” said the official.
About 500 devotees were allowed for Ashlesha seva, 100 for Sarpa samskara and 50 for Naga-prathishte seva to the presiding deity in the temple.
The temple, which runs under the state Muzrai (endowment) department, has also resumed offering prasad and serving meals to the devotees who throng the holy place from across the country and overseas.
“Devotees are allowed inside wearing mask and maintaining physical distance between them. They are allowed inside the sanctum individually, and not in groups. Also, washing hands with sanitiser is a must,” said the official.
All the devotees were checked at the entrance with a thermal scanner to ensure they were free from the virus and their body temperature was normal.
Devotees performing Sarpa Samskara seva were allowed to stay in the temple guest house for two days as per the guidelines.
“The temple is the abode of nagas (serpents) where the main deity presides with serpent king Vasuki merged in him. Thousands of devotees come here from across the country and overseas to perform rituals like Sarpa Samskara to free them from ‘sarpa dosha’ (snake curse),” the official added.
People affected by ‘sarpa dosha’ or diseases not cured by medication perform special pujas at the temple to fulfil their wishes.