Date of Birth: 1841
Place of Birth: Mandapeta
Date of Death: 1909
Father: Anupindi Bhavanishankaram
Dokka Seethamma also known as Sithamma was born on 1841 and died in the year 1909 was an Indian woman who gained recognition by spending much of her life serving food for poor people and travellers.
Seethamma was born in October 1841 in Mandapeta village, Andhra Pradesh. She lost her mother in the young age. Dokka Joganna, a rich farmer, married Seethamma, 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. 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 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.
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.
Seethamma was honored as a Hindu saint and called Apara Annapurna, a reincarnation of the goddess Annapurna. An aqueduct over the Vynateya river was named for her in 2000 and is marked with a bust depicting her.
Sitamma did not die in Varanasi. It was reported, however, that upon her death, a great light burst forth from the roof of her house and shot up into the heavens.