The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD), which manages the affairs of the Lord Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, is gearing up to host the annual Brahmotsavam from September 30.
The Srivari Salakatla Brahmotsavam is a nine-day festival which is celebrated every year at the temple. This year, the festival will be held from September 30 to October 8 at the Sri Swamyvari temple in Tirumala.
The TTD has already conducted a rehearsal of the annual festival on September 14. With TTD tightening security and working around the clock to ensure a hassle-free darshan for devotees this year, here is all that you need to know about the event.
What is Brahmotsavam?
Brahmotsavam is a combination of two Sanskrit words — Brahma meaning great and Utsavam meaning Festival. It is an annual festival which is celebrated at Tirupati.
How long is the festival for?
The Srivari Salakatla Brahmotsavam, which will be held for nine days, will be celebrated from September 30 to October 8 this year.
What are the important dates for this year?
September 24 Koil Alwar Tirumanjanam
Koil Alwar Tirumanjanam is a purification ceremony of the sanctum santorum by devotees to the hill-shrine.
September 29 Ankurarpanam
Ankurarpanam is a ritual which is conducted a day before the Brahmotsavam as a prelude to the nine-day festival. During this ritual, an idol of Vishwaksena, the commander of Lord Venkateswara’s domain is taken in a procession around the madas streets (streets surrounding the shrine) at Tirumala.
September 30 Dwajarohanam
The Brahmotsavam festival will commence with the Dwajarohanam, the flag hoisting festival, where a flag with the image of Garuda (eagle, Lord Vishnu’s mount) will be hoisted atop the Dwajasthambam (flag pole) in the temple.
As per custom, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister Y S Jagan Mohan Reddy will be presenting two silk vastrams (robes) to the deity on behalf of the State government on September 30.
October 4 Garuda Vahana Seva
The Garuda Sevai is a sacred procession of Lord Venkateswara where the deity is mounted on a gold idol of Garuda and taken around the mada streets with much fanfare and prayer. This year, the Garuda Sevai will be carried out at 7 pm.
October 5 Golden Chariot
During this ritual, the idols of Lord Venkateswara and his consorts will be placed in a golden chariot and taken in a procession around the temple in the evening. Devotees often queue up on the streets to catch a glimpse of the deities and offer prayers.
October 7 Rathotsavam
Rathotsavam (procession) is a ritual where the deity Lord Venkateswara will be placed on various vahanas (vehicles) and taken around the Tirupati temple.
October 8 Chakra Snanam and Dwaja Avaraohanam
Chakra Snanam is the last day of the nine-day festival where the idols of the deity are offered special prayers, following which they are dipped in the waters of Swamy Pushkarini, a pond which is situated at the Tirumala temple.
How to reach the temple?
Tirupati accessible through road, rail or air, from where Tirumala can be reached by road or foot.
How to reach by road?
Direct buses to Tirumala are available from Tirupati, Chennai, Bangalore and Vellore. Pilgrims can also opt for cab and bus services offered by private transport aggregators. The Andhra Pradesh State Road Transport Corporation (APSRTC) has announced that the transport corporation will be undertaking more than 2000 trips a day to transport devotees to and from the temple.
On October 4, close to 3000 trips will be undertaken to help devotees witness the Garuda Vahana Seva.
Road transport is barred from entering the ghat section between 12 am to 3 am everyday.
TTD also has an automobile clinic which offers assistance to vehicles in case of a breakdown.
Is Tirupati accessible by rail?
There are trains available from every major city in India to Tirupati everyday. Once passengers travelling by train reach Tirupati, they can reach Tirumala by bus, taxi or foot.
How to reach the temple by air?
Pilgrims can take a flight to Renigunta which is the nearest airport to Tirupati. From there, once can take a bus or cab to Tirumala.
Can one reach the temple by foot?
Many pilgrims reach the temple foot. The TTD has provided two stone footpaths (sopanamargas) to Tirumala. One path is 11 km long and leads from Alipiri to Tirumala, while the second sopanamarga is 6 km long and leads from Chandragiri to Tirumala. Well-maintained rest houses, canteens, toilets, drinking water, medical aid and security are provided to travellers along the two footpaths.
What facilities are available for the Brahmotsavam?
TTD has announced that the temple management will be providing free transportation, food and water services to pilgrims visiting the temple for the Brahmotsavam. However, it is to be noted that no plastic items will be served or are permitted to be carried to the Tirupati temple.
Further, over 35 LED screens will be set up at vantage points along the mada streets and other places in Tirumala and Tirupati to enable devotees to view the rituals during the festival. TTD has also created a provision to facilitate the parking of 8500 vehicles at the hill-shrine, with additional parking lots at Alipiri, where one of the stone footpaths to Tirumala begins.
How about security?
In a bid to prevent any untoward incidents during the Brahmotsavam, officials have announced that the town will be kept under strict surveillance for nine days, with over 1400 CCTV cameras, 1000 vigilance staff and 4000 policemen expected to oversee security arrangements at Tirumala.
Officials from TTD have announced that over 3500 Srivari Seva volunteers, 1500 scouts and guides and 200 additional TTD staff will be pressed into service to provide assistance during the festival. They will oversee security and assist pilgrims with queries.