Spiritual bliss enveloped Nelakondapalli, the birthplace of Bhakta Ramadasu, the iconic saint-composer of the 17th century, as the three-day Sri Bhakta Ramadasu Jayanti celebrations got off to a devotional start on Friday. All eyes of the visitors were glued to a sand sculpture of the great vaggeyakara of South India intricately carved by a noted sand artist on the occasion.The imposing work of art depicting Ramadasu virtually immersed in spiritual ecstasy holding a tambura — a traditional musical instrument — in a sitting posture struck a chord with the visitors due to its striking emotive appeal. Though the mandal headquarters town of Nelakondapalli does not have a beach, R Shankar, the master artist hailing from a small village in Peddapalli district, had brought heaps of sand along with him and carved the amazing sand sculpture with sheer craftsmanship and out of adoration for the legendary vaggeyakara.Mr. Shankar received wide appreciation for his impressive work of art from Collector R.V. Karnan and admirers of Bhakta Ramadasu including several art connoisseurs. Earlier in the day, the town reverberated with devotional hymns and mellifluous rendition of Ramadasu keertanas by devotees during Nagara Sankeertana and a host of other devotional programmes that marked the inaugural session.Photo exhibitionSri Bhakta Ramadasa Dhyana Mandiram, the venue of the fete, virtually turned into a hub of spiritual sojourn for hordes of admirers of Bhakta Ramadasu who flocked from far and near. A photo exhibition began coinciding with the inaugural ceremony. The exhibits provided a glimpse of the illustrious life of Bhakta Ramadasu, the glorious heritage of Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam, built by the legendary saint-composer and soul-stirring sankeertanas penned by him in praise of Lord Rama during his incarceration in Golconda fort in the 17th century.Mamidi Harikrishna, Director of the Department of Language and Culture, Telangana, V Jwala Narasimha Rao, the Chief Minister’s CPRO, and a host of others were present.In his inaugural address, Mr Karnan said efforts are on to transform Nelakondapalli into a major cultural and tourism centre by ramping up infrastructure facilities. He appreciated Mr. Shankar for his rich artistic tribute to the iconic saint composer.
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