Brahmotsavam festival is celebrated in several Lord Vishnu temples across the country. But what is it exactly? When did it begin? What is the history behind these celebrations? While Tirupati Brahmotsavam is celebrated in Sri Balaji Temple (Tirupati) and Sri Rangam Ranganatha Temple, the festival is also conducted widely across Sri Vaishnava temples in the southern part of India.
The origin of the festival
Brahmotsavam means a festival to commemorate an offering by Lord Bramha to Lord Vishnu. According to a legend, Lord Bramha performed a Brahmotsavam prayer for Lord Vishnu. And that's why you will find Shiva, Bramha, and Vishnu at the Suchidram Sthaumalaya Temple, where offerings are given daily.
If legends are revisited further, then the significance of the Brahmotsavam festival can be adequately understood. It's said that Lord Bramha once offered prayers to Lord Balaji over the catchment area of the highly auspicious and holy Pushkarini River. This was done to thank the deity for fortifying humankind. Since then, the festival's name has been derived from this practice and was first conducted by Lord Bramha at Tirupati Temple.
Tirupati Brahmotsavam 2023 Date and Celebration
The festival was declared to be celebrated in Ekantham, and only the devotees with Srivari Darshan tickets could participate in Tirumala celebrations. Announcements on 2023 celebrations are yet to be made by the state government. However, APSRTC has declared to sell 1000 'Sheeghra Darshan' tickets to the pilgrims visiting Tirumala for the Brahmotsavam festival recently. In addition, the RTC supervisors would be available at the Tirumala bus station to assist the devotees opting for 'Sheeghra Darshan".Given below is the schedule for Tirupati Brahmotsavam 2023:
19th September - Dwajarohanam
23rd September - Garuda seva
24th to 26th September -Sarvabhoopala Vahanam in place of Swarna Ratham (golden chariot) and Rathotsavam, respectively.
27th September -Chakra Snanam and Dwajavarohanam.
With the literal meaning of "Bramha's Festival," the Brahmotsavam festival is approached with great zeal and enthusiasm by people across the country. Held in October, the celebrations usually last over nine days. The first day is marked by the "Anurarpana" ritual carried along with the celebration of Sri Vishvaksena. This particular festival segment is significant to believers as it signifies prosperity, fertility, and abundance. You will see several vahanas (chariots) near temples and holy places where the deity is taken out in a procession that lasts nine days.
People celebrate by donating things to the poor, visiting temples to perform rituals, and offering prayers to the creation itself. These rituals are commonly known as Homes, and many fairs are put up near temples.
Here is a more summarised view of the exact ceremonies:
- Chakra Snanam is one of the first events held during the celebration. In this event, the idols of Malayappa, his two consorts, and the Sudarshan Chakra are carried out in a procession and bathed in the temple waters of the Varahaswamy Temple.
- Dwajarohanam is the hoisting of Vishnu's flag with a picture of Garuda (Vishnu's mount) over the temple cloisters. In most cases, the Chief Minister of Andhra Pradesh offers silk clothes to Lord Venkateswara.
- On the morning of the 6th day, Lord Venkateswara and Lord Hanuman are taken out in processions while people chant prayers and offer fruits and sweets to each other.
The importance of Srivari Brahmotsavam
Devotees hold the festival of Brahmotsavam quite dear and flock to Tirupati every year in droves. Of Tirupati Brahmotsavam and Srivari Brahmotsavam, the latter is a slightly better-known name and holds great significance. Celebrated at the Venkateswara temple in Tirumala, there is a vast feast lasting nearly a month. Falling on the Hindu calendar month of Asvina, it falls between September and October.
Sometimes there is an extra month on the lunar calendar. In these cases, there are two Brahmotsavams held – Navarathri and Salakatla. This happened twice, in 2015 and 2018, when devotees celebrated both. At the same time, the latter includes an event called Rathotsavam, the former exhibits a Swarna Rathotsavam (Golden chariot). Both events are held on the 9th day, followed by the lowering of Vishnu's flag hoisted on the first day.
Other ways people participate in the celebrations include intricate flower adornments to idols, electrical display stations, vast food parks, and fairs. With daily homes and large processions, you will also see various alankarams decorating the heroes.
Different times of celebration
What's interesting is the fact that the festival can be held more than once in a given year. While the Thirumala Temple conducts in the Tamil month of Purattasi. This starts on Navratri and ends on Vijayadashami. Brahmotsavams are also born a year thrice in Thirumala, namely, Kaisika Ekadashi, Mukkoti Dwadashi, and Rathasaptami. Sometimes it can even be conducted at the behest of devotees. Believe it or not, in 1551 AD, a total of 11 Brahmotsavams were held.
So, for this Srivari Brahmotsavam, how are you planning to travel? Be it any city in India, redBus will make your commute easier with great deals for whichever destination you want! Many APSRTC buses are available on redBus booking, and one can reach the Tirupati Brahmotsavam venue comfortably. You will also find a lot of seats on a bus to Tirupati if you book early, not to mention attractive discounts. So, what are you waiting for? Go to the redBus website or download the app to book your festive travels today!