One of the biggest festivals in Vizianagaram district, the Sirimanotsavam is organised to propitiate Goddess Pyddithallamma of Vizianagram Town. Celebrated on the first Tuesday after Vijayadasami, the royal family of Vizianagaram, as well as a few lakh devotees, congregate to seek the Goddess’ blessings. The Goddess is believed to be the King’s sister.
Siri means lean and manu means stump or stick. A few days prior to the festivities in a dream, the priest apparently receives instructions from the Goddess herself, informing him which tree is to be used for the Sirimanu. Accordingly, the selected tree is cut and the long trunk is readied for the festival. In the evening of the festival day, the priest is hoisted atop the Sirimanu which is mounted on a chariot and taken in a grand procession between the fort and temple, circulating the area three times.
The procession includes a chariot shaped like a white elephant symbolic of the Royal family, an Anjali chariot on which five married ladies ride, and an umbrella fashioned out fishing nets and decorated symbolic of the fishermen who helped retrieve the Goddess’ idol. The legend goes that the king’s sister on foreseeing the king’s misfortune tried to reach him on the battlefield, but instead received news of his demise. Devastated, she fainted. On being revived, she gave instructions on where her idol could be found and died. The idol was consequently retrieved from a water tank with the fishermen’s help and installed. It is that occasion that is annually celebrated as the Jatara or Sirimanotsavam.
Sirimanotsavam 2019 will be held in Vizianagaram on Tuesday, 15 October. The auspicious tree to be used for the festivities this year is from Ramavaram village. Be there to experience one of the biggest celebrations in the Vizianagaram district of Andhra Pradesh.