Krishna Pushkaram, the 12-day festival that comes once in every 12 years, begins on Friday with over three crore devotees expected to take a holy dip in the Krishna river across Andhra Pradesh and Telangana. Over 80 per cent of the crowd will be performing the rituals in Vijayawada, the hub of Krishna Pushkaram every time.
With devotees thronging the river banks, safety is a big concern, and both the states are taking steps to ensure the safety of devotees. Drones will be deployed and the cops have roped in ex-cons to help curb theft. CCTV cameras have been installed in all the major bathing ghats.
Apps and websites have been set up to ensure people take part in the festivities without hassles. The information regarding ghats, timings of holy dips, distance between each ghats, location of famous temples near ghats, availability of train and bus services, parking facilities and hotels, besides helpline numbers of police stations and hospitals, have been made available on the apps and sites.
Over 1,000 professional swimmers will be deployed at all the ghats in Mahbubnagar to ensure the safety of devotees. Ten boats will be kept ready at the main ghats in Somasila, Manchalakatta, Beechupalli, Rangapuram, Gondimalla and Kyatur.
Telangana Chief Minister K. Chandrasekhar Rao will take a holy dip at Gondimalla ghat between 5.58am and 6.30am and Andhra Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu at Durga ghat at 5.45am. The festivities will begin with Kanchi Seer Jayendra Saraswathi taking a holy dip.
Andhra Pradesh will also showcase food items from the 13 districts of the state. Besides, there will be sports and river cruises organised for the first time.