Dokka Seethamma

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Dokka Seethamma (or Sithamma; 1841 – 1909) was an Indian woman who gained recognition by spending much of her life serving food for poor people and travellers.

Statue of Dokka Seethamma at Vivekananda park in Kakinada city

Seethamma was born in October 1841 in the then village of Mandapeta, in Andhra Pradesh,[1] and lost her mother during her childhood. Dokka Joganna, a rich farmer, married her, and this allowed her to offer food to the poor, which she did for more than 40 years, much of it after her husband's death.[2] At the end of her life, she gave away her possessions and hired a bullock cart driver to take her to Varanasi to die in accordance with her Hindu beliefs, but turned back and hastily cooked a meal with begged ingredients after hearing a family in the next room at the pilgrims' inn talking of being on their way to ask her for food.[3]

The British government recognized her charity, and King Edward VII invited her to the celebration of his anniversary along with other guests from India. He ordered the chief secretary of Madras to bring her to Delhi with honor, but Seethamma politely declined the invitation, saying that she was not providing her services for publicity. The Madras chief secretary instead gave King Edward a photograph of her, which he then enlarged to place on the chair where she was to sit during the celebration.[2]

Seethamma was honored as a Hindu saint and called Apara Annapurna, a reincarnation of the goddess Annapurna.[3] An aqueduct over the Vynateya river was named for her in 2000 and is marked with a bust depicting her.[1][2][4]


  1. ^ a b టీవీయస్. శాస్త్రి. "ఆంధ్రుల అన్నపూర్ణ శ్రీమతి డొక్కా సీతమ్మ గారు". (with photograph) (in Telugu). Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  2. ^ a b c Jai Hind (29 November 2015). "Smt. Dokka Seethamma, A women served for Hunger and Needy". My Nation Pride. Retrieved 23 August 2016.
  3. ^ a b Doug Glener; Sarat Komaragiri (2002). "'The Guest Is God': The Hospitality of a Hindu Saint". Wisdom's Blossoms: Tales of the Saints of India. Boston, Massachusetts: Shambhala. ISBN 9781570628849. Retrieved 23 August 2016 – via Beliefnet.
  4. ^ B. V. S. Bhaskar (28 August 2010). "Aqueduct cries for attention". The Hindu. Retrieved 23 August 2016.