Fishermen perform pooja to 'Gangamma' to express gratitude for "protection" during 2004 tsunami in Visakhapatnam
Visakhapatnam: Fishermen in Andhra Pradesh's Visakhapatnam offer prayers to Goddess Gangamma every December 26 expressing their gratitude for "protecting" them during the tsunami that hit the city in 2004.
Since 2004, the fishermen and their families have been performing pooja to Gangamma on December 26.
They believe that the temple of Goddess Mahakali on the shore of the city had protected them from the fury of the tsunami. Since then, the fisherfolk of Pedajalaripeta have been celebrating Gangamma Puja with fervour.
A fisherman told ANI that during Gangamma Puja, none of the fisherman venture into the sea for fishing.
"We strongly believe that tsunami would not affect us. On December 26, 2004, when Tsunami hit the coast, none of us was affected and not a single boat was damaged except water hitting the coastal area. This is a way of thanking the goddess for protecting us," said some fisherman.
Another fisherman said that prevent such tsunamis from coming, Gangamma mother was worshipped under the guidance of the villagers with special pooja and milk abhishekam.
The Mayor said that the biggest loss of life happened because there was no proper warning system at that time usually earthquakes in the sea would trigger a series of ocean waves and those waves would come to the land.
The fishermen and locals in the Cuddalore district in Tamil Nadu paid tributes to those who lost their lives in the 2004 Tsunami, on the 18th anniversary of the catastrophe.
On the occasion, more than 500 fishermen and women came together from Muthunagar to Singharathoppu beach, carrying milk and flowers in their hands.
They sat in silence and then poured milk into the sea. They also sprinkled flowers on the sea, lit camphor and worshipped their families who lost their lives in the tsunami.
On December 26, 2004, an earthquake occurred on the island of Sumatra in Indonesia, resulting in a tsunami that devastated the coastal areas.
Around 2 lakhs, 30 thousand people who lived along the coast in various countries, including Indonesia, Sri Lanka and India, were killed.
Tamil Nadu was also ravaged by the tsunami. The flood from the tsunami affected several regions such as Singarathoppu Devanambattinam, Dalanguda, Sonanguppam, Sothikuppam, Akkaraikkori and MGR.
As many as 610 people were killed and various fishing villages, including Thithu and Billumedu, were swept away by the tsunami waves.
Although it's been 18 years since the tsunami hit, the memories of the tragedy are still fresh in the minds of people living on the coastline of Tamil Nadu.