We are blessed to live in a country which is never short of fascinating tales of scientific mystery or superstitions. The town of Mangalagiri, in Guntur district of Andhra Pradesh, has an interesting story to tell.
The hilly town has an inactive volcano at the Lakshmi-Narasimha temple dedicated to Lord Vishnu in an elephant shaped hill. The volcano is fed with panakam ( jaggery juice) to prevent it from erupting. The locals believe that sugar or jaggery water neutralises the sulphur compounds in a volcano and prevents its eruption.
The practice has been ongoing for centuries at the temple. However, what is surprising is that the large quantities of jaggery juice have never left any trace. Not even a single ant has been spotted in the area.
The Geological Survey of India records dating back to 1880, say that the hills between Vinukonda and Amaravati were volcanic and Mangalagiri falls under this belt. But there has never been a volcanic eruption in the area till date.
Mangalagiri town is just 36 km away Andhra Pradesh's proposed capital city, Amravati. Of late, there has been a sudden increase in demand to conduct scientific research on the volcanic hill despite the prevalence of this practice for centuries. However, the jaggery juice feeding ritual continues to remain a mystery.