The 800 year-old Medaram Jathara got off to a roaring start on February 16, Wednesday. The biennial religious congregation, tipped as South’s Kumbh Mela in the jungles of Mulugu district of Telangana, 280 km, from Hyderabad is growing bigger and bigger. The 2022 event is a mega event with the addition of hi-tech and tight security. The Medaram Jathara will conclude on February 19, Saturday.
As many as two crore people, mostly tribals from Telangana, Andhra, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra have begun making a beeline to this historic place. Here Goddesses Sammakka, and her daughter Saralamma, along with their family members were martyred by fighting against the mighty Kakatiya rulers over sovereign rights.
22,000 CCTV cams for Medaram
This year, Telangana government has released Rs 75 core and the Centre has given Rs 2.5 crore for the Jathara. The Telangana police have deployed 11,000 policemen in these sprawling jungles which are also a security risk in view of the Naxalites activity here. The cops have set up 22,000 CCTV cameras along the Medaram Jathara routes and are using 33 drones to monitor the crowds.
Once a minimalistic tribal affair, Medaram Jathara now has become a major religious attraction for all. Some critics are of the view that the beauty of innocent tribals’ Jathara has been taken over by one and all, mainly non-tribals. But, tribals have no grouse against this development. Moreover, they are happy that crores of people come worshipping their Goddesses – Sammakka and Saralamma.
Pollution threat at Jathara
At the same time, the growing rush to the Medaram Jathara has increased the pollution threat in the forests. You can imagine this as many as 4,000 RTC buses and around 50 lakh private cars and other vehicles are expected to come to Medaram in the next four days. Dozens are helicopters from Hyderabad and other places too will be ferrying devotees here.
CM KCR will be coming to Medaram Jathara on February 18, the day next o his birthday, while senior ministers – Errabelli Dayakar Rao, Satyavathi Rathore and A Indrakarn Reddy are camping here to supervise the arrangements. A major relief is that the intensity of Omicron induced third wave of Covid has now subsided in Telangana and elsewhere in the country.