The annual Srivari Salakatla Brahmotsavam, a nine-day festival, commenced at the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala on Monday.
The festival, which is celebrated with much pomp and splendour at the hill-shrine every year, began with the Dwajarohanam (flag hoisting festival), where a flag with an image of Lord Garuda was hoisted atop the temple’s Dwajasthambam (flag pole), accompanied by the chanting of Vedic hymns, on September 30.
Following this, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Jaganmohan Reddy presented a pair of silk robes to Lord Venkateshwara on behalf of the state government, as is the custom, and later offered prayers to the deity at Tirumala.
A media centre was also inaugurated on Monday to screen videos of the Brahmotsavam proceedings to devotees across the globe real-time.
The festival will conclude on October 8. During the nine days, various rituals and processions will be carried out in and around the temple premises. Lakhs of devotees are expected to visit Tirumala every day until October 8.
Keeping in mind the footfall expected at the temple, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam (TTD), which is responsible for managing the hill-shrine, has tightened security at Tirumala. More than 1,400 CCTV cameras have been set up at vantage points to monitor the movement of devotees, especially along the routes leading to the shrine and places where devotees congregate.
Thousands of policemen, vigilance staff, Srivari Seva volunteers, scouts and guides and TTD staff have been deployed to provide security and assistance to people attending the Brahmotsavam.
Lending a spiritual look to the festivities, TTD officials have erected arches and huge cardboard cutouts of deities from Hindu mythology across Tirumala. Further, three statues of Lord Athi Varadar, following the recently concluded Athi Varadar festival, have been erected at a huge marriage hall at Tirumala.
Besides the rituals and processions, several workshops, cultural programmes, religious discourses and bhajans have been organised for devotees during the Brahmotsavam.
TTD officials will carry out the Garuda Vahana Seva on October 4, the fifth day of the festival, around 7 pm. About four lakh devotees are expected to visit Tirumala for the procession.