Tirupati Bramotsavam

     The Brahmotsavam festival is one of most important and auspicious functions in Tirupati.  Popular stories trace the origin of this celebration to Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Sri Balaji at Tirupati. Brahma Worshiped Sri Balaji on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati as a way to give thanks for the Lord’s protection of mankind.  Hence, this utsava bears his name as “Brahmotsavam, “which means “Brahma’s Utsavam.” In Tirumala, Bramotsavam is celebrated in the month of October.

      The Brahmotsava is performed over a nine-day period.  On the evening prior to the start of the first day, the rite of “Ankurarpana” (sowing of the seeds to signify fertility, prosperity and abundance) is performed along with a festival for Sri Vishvaksena (the leader of Narayana’s retinue who removes obstacles and protects worship).  On the first day, the main activity is the “Dhvajavarohana,” the hosting of the Garuda flag at the Dhvajastambham.  This signifies the commencement of the Brahmotsava.  It is believed that Garuda goes to Devalokam and invites the Devas to attend the function.   During the nine days of the festival, the religious activities include daily homas and processions for the utsava murti on different vahanas, which are the chariots that can be seen in the Temple.  Every evening, the utsava vigrahas are decorated with different alankarams. The concluding day is the Janma Nakshatra (birth star) of Sri Balaji, which is celebrated in a grand way with Avabhritha Utsava (special abhishekams for the utsava murti).   In Tirupathi, the Sudarsana Chakra is bathed in the Pushkarini and all the devotees bathe afterwards.  In aurora, a priest takes the Sundarsana Chakra on his head and takes a holy bath near the Dhvajastambham.  Afterwards, the Chakra is placed on a high platform, so the devotees can walk under it and be blessed with the water dripping down from Sudarsana.  The celebration officially concludes with “Dhvajavarohanam,” the lowering of the Garuda flag.  The priests pay respects to Gods and Sages with the chanting of Vedic mantras and see them off their return to the Devaloka.

      The Brahmotsavam celebration provides an unique opportunity for all devotees to participate in the festivities and utsavas and experience the “Vaikuntha Anubhava” (heavenly enjoyment and feeling) and receive the blessings of Sri Venkateswara Swami. Every year, millions of devotees witness the processions, celebrations during the annual Brahmotsavam will be a feast for the eyes of the devotees who gather there.   On the first day the Garudadhwaja (flag with the emblem of a black garuda) is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhvajastambham.  A festive procession of Lord Venkateswara on the Pedda Seshavahana proceeds around the four streets of the main temple for two hurs until midnight.  Ankurarpana and Senadhipati Utsavam are celebrated on the day proceeding the first day of Brahmotsavam.

      Some interesting observations during brahmotsavas are As increbibly as the swan which separates the water content from milk, the reigning deity of the seven hills too, on Hamsavahan, relegates the paap and blesses the bhakta based on his punya.  As the powerful snake transforms itself as a vehicle for the Lord during the Seshavahan amd Chota Seshavahan in the Brahmotsavam celebrations, the essence of the Sharanagati Tatva explains the moral behind this utsav.  The initial prayers offered at the Dwajarohan utsav and Garudotsav is to pray for an unscathed living with high moral values, while Garuda, requested by the Lord himself to stay in the hills, guards the skies from anything untoward coming by.

      The temple of Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu at Tirupathi is perhaps one of the most revered ones by Hindus.  Considered to be the bestower of boons, a visit to the temple of Lord Venkateswara or Balaji.  He is also referred to be held in unique sanctity. Reputed to be among the richest shrines in the world, Tirupathi temple is the busiest religious center, after the Vatican.

      Tirupathi means ‘Lord of Lakshmi’ as it indicates the divine abode of the lord.  Ancient Indian dynasties, from the Cholas and Pallavas to the Pandyas and Kings of Vijayanagar have paid obeisance at the temple located atop the hill at Tirumala, located nearly 3200ft above sea level. In 1933, the administration of the Tirupathi temple was entrusted to the Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD). This TTD Committee maintain twelve temples and other shrines in the locality.  Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams (TTD) maintains twelve temples and their sub-shrines in the Tirumala-Tirupathi area.

Day 1

Evening procession of the Utsava deities in Golden Tiruchi or Palanquin and night procession on Pedda Sesha Vaahanam

Day 2

Chinna Sesha Vaahanam during day and Hamsa Vaahanam at night

Day 3

Simha Vaahanam during day and Murhyaalapandiri Vaahanam (decorated with pearl canopy) at night

Day 4

Kalpa Vruksha Vaahanam during day and Sarva Bhoopaala Vaahanam at night. It is Poolangi Sarvadarshanam at night

Day 5

The Lord is decorated as in Mohini Avataar with golden parrot (Naachiyaar Thirukkolam) and, accompanied by Sri Krishna, goes out in a grand ivory palanquin procession during the day. At night, it is Garuda Seva, the most colorful of the nine days attract ing lakhs of devotees. It is a rare occasion when the Makarakanti and Lakshmi Haaram adorning the main deity are offered to the processional Malayappa Swami. It is a sight to behold. Another unique feature on this day is that the garland worn by Sri Aandaal of Srivilliputtur (in southern Tamil Nadu) is specially brought all the way to Tirumala and offered to the Lord. This offering is symbolic of a related incident. Aandaal as a child became such an ardent devotee of Vishnu that she vowed to marry only the Lord. Even before the garlands were taken to the temple, she used to secretly wear them, assuming herself to be the Lord’s bride, and admire her image in a mirror. Her foster father Vishnu Chittar (Periyalwar) was upset over this. But the Lord appeared in his dream and assured Chittar that He always liked the garlands worn by Kothai, the childhood name of Aandaal.

Day 6

Hanumantha Vaahanam during day, Ratha Ranga Dolotsavam. (Swarna Ratha Seva) in the evening and Gaja Vaahanam (elephant) at night.

Day 7

Surya Prabha Vaahanam (Sun Chariot) during day and Chandra Prabha Vaahanam (Moon Chariot) at night.

Day 8

In the morning, the spectacular Rathotsavam (Car Festival) takes place. The devout believe that those who witness this car procession will be free from the cycle of rebirth and hence thou sands aspire to draw the Rat/mom. In the night, it is Ashwa Vaahanam (horse).

Day 9

Pallakki Utsavam around the four Mada Streets early in the morning. This is followed by Snapana Thirumanjanam and Chakrasnanam Mahotsavam at Sri Varahaswami Temple. This auspicious occasion is fixed for Shravana Nakshatram. Lord Malayappa Swami and His consorts are anointed with oil, turmeric powder and other holy items and Abhishekam is performed. The Sudarshana Chakram or Chakrattaalwar is given a holy dip in the Swami Pushkarini. To lakhs of devotees, it is a rare moment of great spiritual fulfillment. Many devotees, irrespective of religion, caste or creed, take the sacred dip along with the Lord. Another interesting ritual takes place after Archana. Brahma is glorified for the smooth conduct of the festivities and is honored. The Gods and Rishis, who are believed to have assembled to witness the Brahmotsavam, are seen off to Devalokam. This ritual is known as Devatodwasanam.

In the evening, the Garuda flag is lowered. This concluding ritual is Dwaja Avarohanwn.