Vedic Culture of Manthani
From times immemorial, Manthani is known to be Veda Bhoomi, Rudra Bhoomi and typically worshiping Lord Shiva in a strictly Vedic way. Predominantly, Brahmin occupied village ‘Manthani’ used to be the host for many ‘Sahasra Prabhojanam’, where a Host disciple / worshiper offers feast to 1000+ Brahmins and Manthani used to be the place where one can find such a large number of Brahmins at a single place. The Seeleswara-Siddheswara Temple compound is the regular Venue for such a feast organised in the village quite regularly till Mid?90s. Purana Shravana Kalakshepams, Harikathas, etc. are common features in Manthani Vedic/ Puranic Culture.
Being a typically Shivaite village, the normal recitation of Veda Mantrams in Manthani is peculiarly Yajurvedic type. There are, however, Pandits in all Vedas. The village proudly owns Ghanapathies in all the three Vedas, the Yajurveda, the Rig Veda and the Sama Veda.
As the result of socio-economic changes that are taking place, the regular visits of outsiders to the village for the purpose of learning Vedas that was prevailing till early 20th Century has become a past story now. In earlier days, Brahmins (who happened to be the highest number of villagers) used to migrate to outside States/ Places in search of livelihood as a Professional Cook or Professional Pujari or Professional Vedic Scholar. It was quite a common feature that Brahims used to migrate to Kashi for becoming a Vedic Scholar and few scholarly Brahmins used to be immigrants in Nagpur, Pune, Bombay, Itarsi and other Industrial/ Business rich towns in neighboring State of Maharashtra. In-migration and out-migration, however, appears to be confined to the families of Brahmin caste in the town.
For the non-Brahmin Community in Manthani, it is their traditional vocation that earns them their daily bread. The vaishya Community traditionally manages the business in the Village. For many of the local people, Agriculture is the main source of livelihood. Without any special incentives or notable features for development of agriculture or even a total non-existence of encouraging factors for Industry, the village basically is the same since the times of independence. Albeit, there are some inclusions like a Cinema Theatre, some Banks, a Bus Depot, a Power Station and others that are basic amenities for a modern day’s life.
Festivals in Manthani culture
Manthani is basically a village and as it goes good with any village of India, festivals are celebrated in full traditional way. The calender that is followed here is typically the traditionally South?Indian (Telugu) Panchangam and most of the festivals are celebrated strictly according to the Muhurtams that are tallied with the locally followed Panchangam. Special Recipes are enjoyed during almost every festival and their season favour and smell is all over the village during the festivals. Every household prepares and relishes all these specified dishes for each festival
Other customs that are peculiarly stricter in Manthani Culture
Sootakam, Punya Purudu are some of the customs that are noticed among Brahmin community in Andhra Pradesh and adjoining areas. But the custom that is followed in Manthani is peculiar to the village. The strictness, the fervor with which this custom is received in Manthani is quite noticeable.
Ganga (Godavari) Snanam is ages old tradition of the village. Every morning, scores of people take holy dip in the sacred river and offer their prayers to the Lord Goutameshwara. Interestingly, caste and creed never formed part of this peculiar early morning Godavari snanams for the locals, though each group contain men/ women of same community, people belonging to different communities are noticed among such early morning Godavari snana groups.
Taddinalu, Pakshalu is another typical religious/ ancestral celebrations in the village. The ‘Anna Sooktam’ that is recited during taddinam or paksham is typically lengthier one in comparison with that of other places. Being a strictly Yajurveda practice, this is such lengthy one in this village.