If festivals are a time to celebrate, calamities make people turn to god for help. People along the north coastal area of Andhra Pradesh on Saturday invoked the sea goddess to help them tide over the montostrous cyclone that's hurtling towards the state.
As many as 52,000 people have been evacuated and 25,000 others accommodated in cyclone shelters in Srikakulam district on Saturday in view of Cyclone Phailin, which is expected to cross the shores by Saturday evening.
At Kalingapattanam, fishermen walked into the rough sea with folded hands praying to goddess Gangamma, asking her to spare them the wrath: "udrekam tagginchamma, mammalani kapadamma" (Goddess, please save us and spare your wrath).
In Dharmavaram Machaleswaram village, 65-year-old Chintapalli Thotayya led a prayer group of over a hundred men and women. "Gangamma is angry because of the sins committed by us. Hope she spares us the wrath," said Moogi Kannamma of neighbouring Machalesam village.
Apparently, the Arsavalli temple for sun god -- Suryanarayana Swamy - in Srikakulum wore a deserted look on Saturday. The temple is usually choc-o-block with devotees during this time of the year, but cyclone warnings have kept many indoors.