The Brahmotsavam is the most important and glittering festival in Tirumala Tirupati. This is the biggest festival and attracts a large number of pilgrims from far and near, especially on the days of Garudotsavam and Rathotsavam when the abode of the Lord transforms into a Kaliyuga Vaikunta. One can witness a sea of humanity enjoying the grand events on all the days of the festival. The entire area, the temple and the chariot are magnificiently decorated.
According to the Varaha Purana, Lord Brahma performed this festival for the first time in the monts of Asvayuja as per Salivahana calendar (September-October) when the Sun is in the Kanya Rasi. The present Brahmotsavam is celebrated for nine days continuously. It is believed that the festival originally commemorated the day Lord Venkateswara took on this avatar.
According to ‘Venkatachala Mahatmyam’, in the twenty-eighth Yuga before the presen Kaliyuga, Sri Venkateswara appeared before Brahma and other Gods and Rishis, Kings and Devotees on a Monday when the Srvana Nakshatram was ascendant. It was the Sukla Paksha Dwadasi of Kanya Masa as per Solar calendar (Bhadrapada Asvayuja months according to the Lunar calendar). It is also said that Lord Brahma worshipped the Lord Venkateswara on the banks of Swami Pushkarini. Hence this festival is called Brahmotsavam.
In preparation for this festival, the sanctum and the other places in the temple are cleaned and smeared with a rich paste of Sandalwood, Refined Camphor, Saffron and other fragrant materials in a ritual known as the ‘Koil Alwar Thirumanjanam’. During this period, Homas are performed and the Utsavamurthi or the processional deity is beautifully dressed up and specially decorated with several costly ornament. He is taken around the four main streets of the temple in procession on all days of this
Festival on different Vahanas or vehicles accompanied with Mangal Vadyas, Bhajans and so on, both in the morning and night. The deity is accorded all the traditional royal paraphernalia during the processions along the temple streets on some days with consorts and other days without them. The chariot believed to represent Lord Brahma’s chariot, leads the procession.
On the ninth and last day of the festival, on the day of Sravan Nakshathram, Chakra Snanam is held in the Swami Pushkarini. It is believed that Lord Brahma and the other Devas and all the devotees present there take a dip simultaneously in the sacred waters.
A second Brahmotsavam takes place whenever there is Adhika Masam and that happens every third year. The second Brahmotsavam is called Navaratri Brahmotsavam.
The ‘Sri Venkateswara Mahathmiyam’ states that the ancient Brahmotsavam was continued in Kaliyuga by Thondaiman Chakravarthy, a great devotee of the Lord.
The present-day Brahmotsavam is in accordance with the procedure described in the Bhavishyottara Purana, with the exception of a few items. As per the Purana, the Dhwaja Arohana takes place in the early morning. The Vahanas used on the different days of this festival remain the same as in olden days, but the Puranan mentions ‘Udyana Viharotsavam’ or pastime in the garden, a procession on the sevent evening on the Mangalgiri vahana, that is no longer held. Similarly, the ‘Pushpa Yagnam’ as per the Purana, is to be performed on the tenth day that is the day after the ‘Chakra Snanam’. Although this was renewed in the year 1980, it is not conducted on the specified day.
The Programme and Vahanas of the Deities during Brahmotsavam
||Pedda Sesha Vahanam
||Chinna Sesha Vahanam
||Muthyapu Pandiri Vahanam
||Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam
||Surya Prabha Vahanam
||Chandra Prabha Vahanam
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