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 every day.
If legends are revisited further, then the significance of the Brahmotsavam festival can be properly 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 in order to thank the deity for fortifying humankind. Since then, the name of the festival is derived from this practice and was first conducted by Lord Bramha at Tirupati Temple.
Tirupati Brahmotsavam 2021 Date and Celebration
The nine-day annual festival of Tirupati Brahmotsavam is set to start in September 2021. Last year, in 2020, due to the COVID-19 outbreak, the festival was declared to be celebrated in Ekantham and only the devotees with Srivari Darshan tickets were able to participate in Tirumala celebrations. Announcements on 2021 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 Brahmotsavam festival recently. The RTC supervisors would be available at the Tirumala bus station to assist the devotees opting for ‘Sheeghra Darshan”.Given below is the schedule of Tirupati Brahmotsavam 2021:
19th September - Dwajarohanam
23rd September - Garuda seva
24th to 26th September -Sarvabhoopala Vahanam in place of Swarna Ratham (golden chariot), Rathotsavam respectively in view of COVID.
27th September -Chakra Snanam and Dwajavarohanam.
With the literal meaning of “Bramha’s Festival,” the Brahmotsavam festival is approached with great zeal and gusto by people across the country. Held in October, the celebrations usually last over nine days. The first day is marked by the “Anurarpana” ritual that’s held along with the celebration of Sri Vishvaksena. This particular segment of the festival is very important 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 over the entire nine days.
People celebrate by donating things to the poor and visiting temples to perform rituals and offer prayers to the creation itself. These rituals are commonly known as Homas, and many fairs are put up as well near temples.
Here is a more summarised view of the exact ceremonies:
- Chakra Snanam is one of the first events that are 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 that has 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 huge feast that lasts for 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 in 2018, where devotees celebrated both. While the latter includes an event called Rathotsavam, the former exhibits a Swarna Rathotsavam (Golden chariot). Both of these events are held on the 9th day, followed by the lowering of Vishnu’s flag that was hoisted on the first day.
Other ways by which people take part in the celebrations would be intricate flower adornments to idols, electrical display stations, vast food parks, and fairs. With daily homas and large processions, you will see various alankarams decorating the idols as well.
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 it in the Tamil month of Purattasi. This starts on Navratri and ends on Vijayadashami. Brahmotsavams are also conducted thrice in a year 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 the year 1551 AD, there were a total of 11 Brahmotsavams held.
So, for this Srivari Brahmotsavam, how are you planning to travel? Be it any city in India, redBus is sure to make your commute easier with great deals for whichever destination you want! 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!
NOTE: In light of the recent Coronavirus pandemic, we at redBus would like to urge you to take all necessary precautions when you travel and follow every instruction provided by your local government. If you're not planning on traveling, practice social distancing and stay indoors to help slow down the spread of COVID-19 or the Coronavirus disease and prevent it from spreading any further. Stay safe!