Srivari Brahmotsavam is an annual festival celebrated at Tirumala Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati city of Andhra Pradesh, dedicated to Lord Vishnu, known as ‘Lord Venkateswara’,also named as ‘Lord Balaji’ as the chief presiding deity. Srivari Brahmotsavam is celebrated annually with great grand manner during the months of September – October for nine days in Tirumala.It was said that Lord Brahma, the God of creation, was the origin of this Brahmotsavam (Brahma’s Utsavam).
Lord Brahma was believed to be worshipped Lord Sri Venkateswara on the banks of sacred temple tank (Pushkarani) of Tirumala and thanked Him for the protection of humankind. And hence for this reason, this festival holds the name of Lord Brahma and is considered as a sacred purifying ceremony to honor Lord Brahma. Lord Brahma was revered in Sri Venkateswara Sahasranama stotram, one of the Hindu religious scripture which emphasize the importance of Lord Vishnu.
Lord Brahma was honored by the activity of carried on a small empty chariot called “Brahma Ratham”, which will be processioned twice in a day during the Brahmotsavam festival of Tirumala. During the ‘Brahmotsavams’ of Tirumala Venkateswara temple, Lakhs of devotees visits the temple to get the blessings of Lord Sri Balaji. And the fulfillment and josh experience experienced by the devotees is termed as ‘Vaikunth Anubhav’.
This festival is celebrated during the Sun is transiting in Kanyaa (Virgo) raasi in the zodiac, that generally coincides with Navarathri festival of Aaswayuja maasam (Telugu Month) as per Lunar calendar. Annual festival at Tirumala known as Saalakatla Brahmotsavam or Vaarshika Brahmotsavam will be held (after transit of Sun into Kanyaa raasi) for nine days with the 9th day coinciding with Sravana Nakshathra. Sravana Nakshathra is parameter for conclusion of Brahmotsavam.
Once in every three years when an extra month (Adhika Masa) comes according to Panchanga,Two Brahmotsavams will be performed. One in the month of Nija Bhadrapada (Telugu Month) and the other in the month of Aswayuja (Telugu Month) [during September and October respectively]. In normal course Srivari Brahmotsavam is performed in the month of Aswayuja only. Thus the Tirumala Sri Venkateswara temple celebrates Brahmotsavam twice in a year depending on the occurrence of Adhika masa.
Adhika masa is an additional month in the Hindu Lunar calendar and exists once in three years.This is taken into consideration only by the calendars that follows Lunar based calculations. Whenever, the year contains Adhika masa, Tirumala celebrates both the Brahmotsavams, Salakatla Brahmotsavam festival and Navaratri Brahmotsavam festival. Otherwise, the Tirumala temple celebrates only the Navaratri Brahmotsavam festival in a grand manner. The two Brahmotsavam festivals of Tirumala Sri Venkateswara temple are named as ‘Srivari Salakatla Brahmotsavam’ and ‘Srivari Navaratri Brahmotsavam’.
Events of Tirumala Brahmotsavam festival are as follows
- First Day – Morning: Dwajarohanam Evening: Pedda Sesha Vahanam
- Second Day – Morning: Chinna Sesha Vahanam Evening: Hamsa Vahanam
- Third Day – Morning: Simha Vahanam Evening: Mutyapu Pandiri Vahanam
- Fourth Day – Morning: Kalpavriksha Vahanam Evening: Sarvabhoopala Vahanam
- Fifth Day – Morning: Mohini Avatharam Evening: Garuda Vahanam
- Sixth Day – Morning: Hanumantha Vahanam Evening: Swarnarathotsavam & Gajavahanam
- Seventh Day – Morning: Suryaprabha Vahanam Evening: Chandraprabha Vahanam
- Eighth Day – Morning: Rathotsavam Evening: Ashwa Vahanam
- Ninth Day – Morning: Chakra Snanam & Pallaki Utsavam Evening: Golden Tiruchi Utsavam & Dwajavarohanam
Description of Brahmotsavam Festival Processions
1. First Day
It is a flag hoisting ceremony which will be conducted in the morning session. The flag will be adorned with the emblem of Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu.
Pedda Sesha Vahanam
In the evening the beautiful procession of Lord Venkateswara is brought around the temple. The name of the Vahanam (vehicle) on which the Lord is carried is known as Pedda Sesha Vahanam, which will be in the shape of Adisesha(the thousand-headed serpent,a vahan of Lord Vishnu).
2. Second Day
Chinna Sesha Vahanam
The procession of Lord Venkateswara is brought around the temple in Chinna Sesha Vahanam (Small Adisesha vahan) in the shape of Adisesha, which can be observed in the morning.
The second night will be sparkle with Unjal Seva (Swinging ceremony) which take place at Uyala mandapam of Venkateswara temple. After the Unjal Seva, a remarkable procession will take place, where Lord Venkateswara will be housed on Hamsa Vahanam (a swan shaped vehicle).
3. Third Day
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Simha Vahanam, a lion shaped vehicle, will be carried around, which can be noticed in the morning. Simha Vahanam is used in this procession, as it represents authority.
Mutyapu Pandiri Vahanam
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Mutyapu Pandiri Vahanam, which is adorned with Pearls, can be observed in the evening.
4. Fourth Day
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Kalpavriksha Vahanam, a wish-fulfilling divine tree, will be discerned in the morning.
After the completion of Unjal Seva (swinging ceremony) in the evening, the procession of Lord Venkateswara on Sarvabhoopala Vahanam takes place. The Sarvabhoopala Vahanam signifies all the Kings on the earth.
5. Fifth Day
The fifth morning of the festival starts with the grand celebration of Lord Venkateswara as Mohini, the only female avatar of Lord Vishnu. The procession of beautiful idol of Mohini is carried on a palanquin, accompanied by Lord Krishna.
Garuda Vahanam is considered to be the more sacred Vahanam among all other Vahanams. After the completion of Unjal Seva (swinging ceremony) in the evening, the procession of Lord Venkateswara takes place in a grand manner where Lord is decorated with some sacred garlands with His main devotee and chief vehicle ‘Garuda‘(the king of birds) as his vehicle.It is believed by the devotees that this ‘Garuda Sevai‘ is highly meritable to have darshan of the Lord Vishnu seated on Garuda.
6. Sixth Day
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Hanumantha Vahanam, the mount of Lord Vishnu,and also the Chief Devotee Lord Hanuman, can be observed. Spring festival is also observed on the same day.
Swarnarathotsavam & Gajavahanam
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Swarnarathotsavam, the golden chariot is observed in the evening. And tonight, the procession of Lord on Gajavahanam, the elephant shaped vehicle, is also observed.
7. Seventh Day
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Suryaprabha Vahanam, the Sun shaped vehicle, carried around the temple in the morning, can be perceived.
After the completion of Unjal Seva (swinging ceremony) in the evening, the procession of Lord Venkateswara on Chandraprabha Vahanam, and the Moon shaped Vehicle, is admired.
8. Eighth Day
The procession of Lord Venkateswara on Rathotsavam, a huge decorated chariot, is carried around the temple in the morning. The chariot can be carried even by the devotees who wish to carry the sacred Vahanam.
After the completion of Unjal Seva (swinging ceremony) in the evening, the procession of Lord Venkateswara on Ashwa Vahanam, and the horse shaped Vehicle, can be observed.
9. Ninth Day
Chakra Snanam & Pallaki Utsavam
on the final day, the Chakra Snanam & Pallaki Utsavam is held. In the temple tank (Pushkarani), the Sudarshana chakra of Lord Venkateswara is immersed by the temple priests and the devotees will take a holy dip in the temple tank and worship the Lord. This process is known as Chakra Snanam.
Golden Tiruchi Utsavam & Dwajavarohanam
The Brahmotsavam festival of Tirumala concludes with the event of Dwajavarohanam, the flag will be lowered. And mantras are chanted to pay obeisance to God. And the sandals and sacred Prasadam are distributed to the devotees.
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