Always on the theme of red, found out more about the scarlet clad people i saw all over Andhra Pradesh:
The lrumudi is the only travelling kit which a pilgrim carries on his head during the pilgrimage. The bag is in two compartments – the front portion is reserved for keeping all the offerings to the deity while the rear part is meant to hold the pilgrims personal requirements for the journey.
The Bhavani Deeksha, also known as Durga Bhavani Diksha or Mala, is a Deeksha or vrata (a kind of blessing) dedicated to Goddess Kanakadurga of Vijayawada. It is observed for 41 or 21 days. The dress code followed is – red coloured shirt and trousers or dhoti and a pancha (shawl type cloth on shoulders).
After taking a dip in the Krishna River and donning the sacred red robes, the devotees climb the adjacent hill to the nearby Durga temple to initiate or end the blessing period (see previous post). For the duration of the Deeksha they must, amongst other things, take baths only with cold water in the early hours of the day, eat limited and simple food, refrain from shaving, haircut and nail trimming during the Deeksha, not see or touch a woman in her menstrual period (i saw women pilgrims also so not sure how this works???) not wear footwear and sleep on the floor for all the 41 days. For full set of rules click here.