Hindu festivals:The Brahmotsavam festival at Tirumala
Welcome to Thirumala hills!It is the abode of Lord Venkateswara.It is the festival atmosphere here.Are you a saivite or vaishnavite?You mean to say that you are not a pilgrim but only a tourist.Doesn’t matter.You can very well witness the Brahmotsav here that begins tomorrow.But you have to stay here atleast for a period of ten days.Are you ready ? It is good to hear from you that you have already booked a cottage.But it is a chilly climate here.Please be prepared.
Tirumala hills is also known as Thirupathi.Thiru’ mean Sri’ and Pathi’ means Husband’.Therefore, Thirupathi suggests Mahavishnu or Lord of Mahalakshmi.The famous shrines located here are Lord Venkateswara, Govindaraja, Rama and Mallikarjuna.
The entire administration of Tirumala hills and the Brahmotsav festival are organised and looked after by the Tirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam, shortly known as TTD.Today, the Brahmotsav festival formally begins.But you should know something about the origin and other details of the festival so as to get yourself inured to the festival mood.
How did Brahmotsav begin?
According to the folklore that prevails, Brahmotsav is considered as a Thanksgiving ceremony to the Lord Venkateswara’.It was Lord Brahma who at first organised the festival of Lord Balaji at Tirupathi.Since it was a utsavam organised by Lord Brahma, the festival was called as Lord Brahmas’ Utsavam’ or Brahmotsavam’.Lord Brahma worshipped Lord Krishna on the banks of river Pushkarani as a mark of Thanks giving for the Lord’s protection of mankind.It is also known as Thirupathi Festival’ in Andhra Pradesh.
When do they celebrate Brahmotsavam festival ?
The Brahmotsavam festival is celebrated for a period of 9 days, during the month of September or October every year.Thirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam celebrates annual Brahmotsavam during Mahalaya Amavasya period which is coincidental with Dasara festival.Brahmotsavam is celebrated for 9 days beginning when the sun enters Kanya Rasi from Ashwayuja Suddhapadayami to Aswayuja Shuddha Dasami.Hence, the dates of Brahmotsavam actually vary every year falling either in the month of September or October.
How Brahmotsavam is celebrated ?
Brahmotsavam is an important festival in Andhra Pradesh.It is organised by the Thirumala Thirupathi Devasthanam.This Hindu festival is telecast through various television channels throughout India.This festival has become the centre of attraction for pilgrims and tourists coming from far and wide.
Brahmotsavam,during the entire 9 days celebration, is marked by different festivities in the morning and evening each day at the temple of Lord Venkateswara.Each and every day celebration during the festival is significant, one festivity heralds another celebration.Brahmotsavam is a grand gala time for pilgrims and devotees marked by endless charm.
Procession of Lord Venkateswara around the four streets of the main temple for two hours until midnight is an important feature during the festival days.The black idol of Lord Venkateswara is decorated with gold ornaments and precious stones to make the procession more attractive.To have a glimpse of the Lord Venkateswara, pilgrims converge from all parts of the country and abroad.Every year TTD is making arrangements in a grand manner, including the provision of free meals and food pockets to the devotees apart from providing free sheltor to them.
The Scheme of 9 days Brahmotsavam celebration :-
Before formally beginning the 9 days Brahmotsavam festival, on the evening prior to the first day of Brahmotsavam, the rite of Ankurarpana'( Sowing the seeds to signify fertility, prosperity and abundance) is performed along with festival for Sri.Viswaksena, the leader of Narayana’s retinue who removes obstacles and protects worship.
All 9 days are marked by religious activities, daily homas and processions for the Utsavamurthi on different vahanas, which are the chariots parked in the temple.Every evening Utsava vigrahas are decorated with different alankaras.
In Aurora, a priest takes the sudharsana chakra on his head and takes a holy bath near the Dhwajasthambam.Afterwards, Chakra is placed on a high platform, so the devotees can walk under it and be blessed with the waterdripping down from Sudharsana.
In commomoration with the Srivari Annual Brahmotsavam, TTD also organises Dharmic, cultural, discources, dance and music programmes.Such programmes benefit festival ambience, besides promoting the continuance of the rich tradition of our land and spread the gospel of love and peace throughout.These programmes are conducted in three places 1)Asthana Mandapam (pilgrims amenities complex in Thirumala), 2)Annamacharya Kalamandapam, 3) Mahati Auditorium in Tirupathi.
Annamacharya, the great poet saint of the 15 th century, who was an embodiment of divine love and simplicity, spread the gospel of love and fortified the bakthi yoga.His Lalipatta (Thalattu) impressed Lord Venkateswara and is used during the Brahmotsavam Unjal Seva.
Patanjali’s Natyasasthra was his comprehensive work on the techniques of classical dance.Brahmotsavam festival is the life time opportunity and function for an artist in the Andhra pradesh to dedicate as well as showcase his or her dancing talent, as was the case of Natyanjali in Tamil Nadu.
First Day festival :-
The main activity on the first day morning is Dhawajarohana’, the hoisting of Garuda flag at the Dhvajatambham.It signifies the commencement of the Brahmotsavam.It is believed that Garuda goes to Devalokam and invites the Devas to attend the function.
During night, procession of Lord Venkateswara around the four streets of the main temple on the Peddasesha vahana takes place.
Second Day Festival :-
During the second day morning, procession of Lord Balaji around the temple takes place on Chinna Sesha Vahana.It symbolises purity in capacity to distinguish between good and bird.
During the night, after the Oonjal Seva at the Uyala Mandapam, procession of Lord Venkateswara takes place on the Hamsa Vahana.
Third Day Festival :-
During the third day morning, procession of the Lord Vekateswara on the Simha Vahana takes place, symbolising the strength and power.Simha means lion and according to Bagavad Gita Lord is Simha of all animals.
During the night hours, after the Oonjal Seva procession of the Lord Venkateswara on the Mutyalapandiri Vahana, a vehicle decorated with pearls, symbolising purity and royalty.
Fourth Day Festival :-
In the morning procession of Lord Venkateswara on the Kalpavrisha Vahana , a vehicle in the shape of Kalpavrisha , a mythical tree.
During night hours after the Oonjal Seva, procession on Sarvabhoopala Vahana, a vehicle symbolising all the kings on the earth.
Fifth Day Festival :-
In the morning Mohini Aratavotsavam is taking place for Lord Venkateswara, symbolising and celebrating Mohini Avataram.
During night hours, after Oonjal Seva, procession of Lord along with His consorts on the Garuda Vahana.Lord Venkateswara is specially decorated with mahakanti and sahasranarmara.The Fifth day celebration is very unique, because Garuda is King of birds, a relica of vedas, while Lord Vishnu is the God of vedas.Thus Lord visualises Himself as Garuda.
Sixth Day Festival:-
In the morning procession of the Lord Venkateswara on Hanumantha Vahana and in the night procession of the Lord Venkateswara in the Gaja Vahana (elephant), which is symbolic of recalling Gajendra being saved from a crocodile.
Seventh Day Festival :-
In the morning hours procession of the Lord Venkateswara in the Suryaprabha Vahana , which is shaped like a Sun Chariot.
After Oonjal Seva, during night hours, Lord Venkateswara is taken on procession in the Chandraprabha Vahana, which symbolises the moon.
Eighth Day Festival:-
In the morning hours, Rathotsavam (Thiru Ther) takes place.In the night, after Oonjal Seva , procession on Ashwa Vahana, a vehicle in the shape of the horse.
Ninth Day Festival:-
Palkhiseva and Chakrasena Mahotsavam, in which procession of Lord Chakrathalvar and Thirumanjanam festival and Theerthavari.
Dhwajavarohanam takes place in which Garuda flag is lowered symbolising the end of the Brahmotsavam.
Thus Brahmotsavam provides unique opportunity for all devotees to participate in the festivities and experience the Vaikuntha Anubhava’ (heavenly enjoyment and feeling) and receive the blessings of Lord Vekateswara.
By learning the above details by this time you may be eager and have got ready to witness the festival of Brahmotsavam.