Amaravati, December 24: Temples in Andhra Pradesh have been asked not to celebrate New Year on January 1 by the state Endowments Department, which said it was not "Indian vedic culture".
The Hindu Dharma Parirakshna Trust (HDPT), under the state Endowments Department, has issued a circular to all temples in this regard, citing a directive from the Endowments Commissioner Y V Anuradha.
"Exchanging greetings on January 1 and celebrating (like a festival) is not Indian vedic culture. Celebrating Ugadi, the Telugu New Year's Day (in the month of Chaitra), only is appropriate and the best culture," HDPT secretary C Vijaya Raghavacharyulu said in the circular.
"Though India attained Independence 70 years ago, we are still following the Gregorian calendar introduced by the British. Lakhs of rupees are being spent on decorating temples to celebrate January 1 by ignoring Indian culture and following western culture.
The (Endowments) Commissioner suggested this is not right," it said. "Hence, there should be no special decoration of temples (with flowers and lighting) on January 1 and no festive atmosphere should be created," the Trust secretary added.
It's a common practice in most of the temples in Andhra Pradesh to conduct special pujas and darshan for pilgrims on January 1. Devotees throng temples, mostly the famous ones like Tirumala, Kanaka Durga (Vijayawada), Siva (Srisailam), etc. in large numbers on the day and offer worship.
The rush is particularly more in Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, the largest temple in AP. However, sources in the Endowments Department clarified that the order would not apply to Tirumala as it is an independent entity.