Government launches chopper service for Telangana’s tribal fair

Hyderabad: Telangana State tourism department in association with a private aviation company has launched helicopter service from Hanamkonda to Medaram for devotees to the tribal fair beginning Wednesday.

Thumby Aviation Private Limited is operating the chopper service to Medaram in Mulugu district for Sammakka Sarakka Jatara, billed as the largest tribal fair in Asia.

Officials said those health and time conscious can fly to Medaram from Hanamkonda for a short trip to offer prayers. The chopper will take off from Arts and Science College grounds at Hanamkonda and land in Medaram village.

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The operator is charging Rs 19,999 for up and down ride per head. It will also operate the chopper for aerial view of Medaram with the charge fixed at Rs 3,700 per head.

District tourism officer M. Shivaji said those who could afford to fly and those who prefer not to stay put there in view of Covid-19 scare can avail of the helicopter service.

Authorities expect 1.25 crore devotees for the four-day event, often described as Telangana’s Kumbh Mela.

The biennial event will kick-off on Wednesday at Medaram, about 240 km from Hyderabad.

Tribals and non-tribals from various parts of Telangana, Andhra Pradesh, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Chhattisgarh, Madhya Pradesh, Odisha and other states will converge for the fair, which marks celebration of tribal traditions.

Officials said in view of Covid-19, many devotees already visited Medaram to offer prayers.

An estimated four lakh devotees have already visited Medaram during the last few days ahead of the Jatara.

Adivasis living in forest fringe habitations in several states along the river Godavari congregate once in two years to celebrate the valour of legendary warriors Sammakka and Sarakka.

The tribals treat them as goddesses and hail their bravery in trying to protect them. Belonging to the Koya tribe, the mother-daughter duo died while fighting against the Kakatiya empire about eight centuries ago.

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