Sunday, July 25, 2010

Chaitramasa Festival- Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple

Continuing my post on Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple I would like to take you through few glimpses of the Chaitra masa Festival held this March  which I was fortunate enough to attend..

 The Aaratt ( festival) is  for  8 days and it starts with the flag hoisting ceremony. Every temple has a dwajasthambha but in this temple a flag pole,( stem of an arecanut tree) is erected on the  first day and a flag with Garuda as the emblem is hoisted reciting Vedas.On all days there is  Seeveli (Procession carrying the deity on elephant accompanied by percussion instruments)  in the morning and evening and the temple gets crowded  with devotees.. Mahaprasad(Feast) is served to the devotees and it is known as samaradhana. Samaradhana  means all are considered equal here and every body sits together and partakes the Mahaprasad provided by the temple. The food is served on banana leaves and devotees sit on the floor for this. Enthusiastic youngsters vie with each other to serve food as they feel it is equal to serving the  God Himself. The process starts with a kadina (fire cracker) and ends with the same. The whole process is completed with in half an hour and it is really a sight to see this samaradhana as more than ten thousand people are fed in this short period.

There are Yagnas for the welfare of the humanity and for peace These are conducted in the afternoons and evenings. The Lord Venkatachalapathy is taken around the temple in his golden palanquin.There are also vahana poojas i.e the deity is  worshipped on different mounts like Hanuman, Aswa (Horse), Aadisesha,( serpent God) Surya( Sun ) and Chandra ,( Moon) Airavata the elephant)  Garuda (The Eagle).etc.

From fourth day onwards the Lord starts visiting the house holds of His devotees and blesses them..He is taken   around the temple streets and devotees welcome Him with fruits, flowers and various offerings they can afford. The grand procession carrying the deity comprises of priests, people carrying torches and lights, symbolic arms for protection, flag bearers , group of people playing on the drums-  Pancha Vadyam and the majestic elephant in the lead.   The seventh day is called as Nayattu  ( Mrigaya,- royal hunt)and God ,Goddess and the Chakra are brought in Aswa, Surya and Chandra Vahanas. The Lord visits the nearby Udyaneshwara temple where  Nayattu takes place.The Visits go on till the  eighth day .

The last day thousands converge in this temple and seek the Lord's blessings. Avabrata snanam (abhishekam) is performed for  the main deity of Venkatachlapathy .  After that the Utsava Moorthy and the Sudarshana Chakra of the deity leave for the temple pond in  a grand procession .Then deity  is taken around in a decorated float and then the Chakra is  given a Holy bath by the priest.  The deity is kept in the mandapam there till the evening and  after that the  Samaradhana takes place. In the evening the deity comes out in a palanquin goes around the pond with the accompaniment of Seeveli and reaches the  temple . Fire works  are a part of this evening ritual.  After that the Garuda vahana pooja takes place. The deity sitting atop the Garuda, blesses all his devotees and special aarti know as Khamba aarti is offered to the God. This Pooja goes on  till 2-3 a.m the next day. By around  6 clock in the  morning the flag is brought down which marks the culmination of the aaratt.

There are two aaratts in a year in this temple , one in March- April and the other one in November- December. The Gowda Saraswath Community scattered around the world try to come back to their roots to participate in this grand occasion which is a socio -religious affair .In fact many marriages get finalised during these eight days and it is really a treat to see boys and girls of marriageable age come decked up with new attractive attires of various hues and colours.
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I would like to acknowledge  S. Krishna Kumar Pai, Kochi for his photographs on float festival and the Holy bath. As seeing is believing I have a few photographs for your viewing


37 comments:

SG said...

Thanks for the beautiful description of Chaitra masa festival. Every time we visit India, we go upto Guruvayoor, but never been to Kochi. Next, Kochi is a must on our visit.

HaRy!! said...

chaitra massa festival arumaya soninga...fotos elam superngo...10k ppl ah... OMG!

chitra said...

SG
Thanks for the comment. Except for the festival days these temples are not crowded.One can worship God here in peace.

chitra said...

Hary
Nanri. Great coordination and team work goes into handling this 10k.

Insignia said...

the festival looks colorful with all the elephant and the flags...Food looks yummy. Thanks for sharing.

Mridula said...

Lovely collection Chitra.

sm said...

beautiful narration

chitra said...

Insignia
Thanks a lot for the comment.I participated in the feast. Sitting among so many people I felt so happy.

chitra said...

Mridula,thanks for the comment.

chitra said...

sm
thanks a lot.

....Petty Witter said...

Beautifuuly written, I felt myself there. 8 days, now that is what I call a wonderful festival. Do the number of days signify anything?

Anonymous said...

fantastic writings. Keep writing. Keep sharing.

R. Ramesh said...

lemme repeat appu msg: fantastic writings. Keep writing. Keep sharing.

Arti said...

I got to learn so much about the Aarath and everything else too.. Very Wonderfully described :)

lostworld said...

If I ever go to a famous temple soon, I'm surely gonna think of you :) You make pilgrimages / festicals all seem magical. Really. Thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for that excellent description on Chaitra masa festival. Even though I am a Keralite I have never heard of Kochi Tirumala Devaswom temple.

You made it so magical. I will try to visit next time I go on vacation. Thank you dear...

When u are free, please feel free to visit my blog too. I dwell on fiction though...

Sushma Mallya said...

Lovely write up chitra..

chitra said...

PW
I am afraid, I do not exactly know the answer for your query. In most of the Hindu temples it is followed as a norm. In a few temples it is for 10 days. I have asked a few elderly people and waiting for an answer.As soon as I have I would let you know.

chitra said...

Apu
Thanks a lot for the appreciation.

chitra said...

Ramesh
Thanks,thanks and thanks

chitra said...

Arti,
I think we have a lot to learn from each other.Thanks.

chitra said...

lostworld
Would you remember me, if you go to a temple?. I think I have done some punyam. God bless you dear.Let all good things happen in your life.

chitra said...

Hi stranger
Welcome to my blog.This temple is an ancient temple and Kochi has many other monuments which I have already written .Don't miss all this when you visit Kochi, See you.

chitra said...

Sushma
Thanks for the comment.

Babli said...

Wonderful description about Chaitra maas festival. The pictures are absolutely marvellous. One of your best post.

Martina said...

Hi Chitra, thanks for visiting me! Your blog is lovely and you have a nice style of writing. India is such a faszinating country - colorful, spicy and spiritual. One day, i want to go there myself. Meanwhile - it's nice to visit your and Artis blog!

chitra said...

Babli
Thanks Babli. Long time since I saw any post from you...Waiting for it.

chitra said...

Martina
Welcome to my blog . Happy to see you here.Shall be in touch.

anupama said...

Dear Chitra,
Good Evening!
I have not heard about this temple before.Beautiful photographs and the festival and the rituals have been explained well.Real good work,dear!
Keep informing about more temples and the details.
If you can watch Amrita channel from 6.30 pm -7 p.m.Sandhya deepam programme is too good.
Wishing you a lovely night,
Sasneham,
Anu

chitra said...

Anu
Thanks dear for the comment. This temple is our community temple in my home town. I don't have Amrita channel:(. I have seen episodes of the same one. It is indeed a nice prog.

R. Ramesh said...

:)

Martina said...

Hi Chitra, i follow you now as well! Thank you for bringing the colours of india into my life :)

R. Ramesh said...

thanks again buddy:)

subu.ps said...

hello chithra
Great work. So this temple encyclopedia is growing up !!
All the best and continue with your good work!!

subu

chitra said...

Subu
Thanks for the encouraging words.

Arc said...

Gosh.. so many memories flooding as I saw the slideshow.. thanks for the pics and the write-up.. it is almost a decade since I left kochi, but I could never take it out of my heart..

chitra said...

Arc
I am happy to see that my post made you nostalgic.Nice to know that you are from Kochi. God bless you.

Do visit when you find time.