All roads lead to Rajahmundry, the 1,000-year-old historical town as well as modern town in Andhra Pradesh, as Godavari pushkaram approaches fast. The river fete is celebrated from July 14 at 6.26 a.m, for twelve days and pilgrims, devotees and tourists from all over Andhra Pradesh, Telangana and the southern and northern states descend on the town to make pushkaram a truly memorable event.
The town is named after Raja Raja Narendra who ruled it in the eleventh century and who commissioned the great Telugu poet, Nannayya, to translate the Sanskrit Mahabharata into Telugu. The town was then known as Rajamahendravaram, which the British subsequently corrupted to Rajahmundry.
The Andhra Pradesh Government is spending more than Rs. 1,000 crores over the pushkaram arrangements on renovating the temples dotted all over East Godavari and West Godavari districts and in making the bathing ghats ready for the grand event. The South Central Railway (Hyderabad) and the East Coast Railway (Bhubabneswar) are running several special trains during the 12-day period from Hyderabad, Vijayawada and Visakhapatnam to Rajahmundry. The AP State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) is gearing up to ply buses from all over AP and Telangana for the event.
Tourism : The AP Tourism Development Corporation (APTDC) is organising package tours during the 12-day period to various temples and other places of historical interest in the two Godavari districts. The boat ride from Rajahmundry to Bhadrachalam (now in Telangana) covering the picturesque Papikondalu is a memorable one.
NTR statue in the get-up of Sri Krishna : One of the controversial moves taken up by the AP Government this time is the erection of a statue of NTR in the get-up of Sri Krishna in the river. The move has come in for criticism from pundits and several others who feel that no mere mortal, however great he may be in his respective field, should be elevated to the stature of a great mythological figure like Sri Krishna. However, the Government is going ahead with the proposal.
On the western side of the Godavari lies the small town of Kovvur in West Godavari which also attracts huge crowds as there are several bathing ghats and historical temples. The Kanchi seer, His Holiness Vijayendra Saraswati, is taking the holy dip in the river at Kovvuru.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi has been invited by AP Chief Minister N. Chandrababu Naidu to take part in the fete but he is unable to make it due to his busy schedule, but it is expected that more than ten Union Ministers will visit Rajahmundry during the period.