Tirumala, a hill town in the district of Chittor, Andhra Pradesh, India, situated 26 km north to Tirupati, houses the Brahmostsavam festival every year, in the month of September and October for9 days. This is one of the most famous festivals of the state and attracts tourists and pilgrims in huge number from different parts of the country. International tourists also flock in the festival to be a part of the total event.
History of the festival
According to the popular stories, Hindu Lord Brahma, worshipped and started this celebration on the banks of the holi pond or pushkarini as a way to give thanks to ShriBalaji for protecting the mankind. From that time this festival bears the name Brahmotsavam that means Brahma’s Utsavamand is celebrated vigorously at the same place of the Tirumalai.
The celebration and the rituals
This festival is held in the Tamil month of Purattasi. On the day before the start of the festival Ankurpana along with a celebration for Sri Vishvaksena in performed. From the very next day the festival starts with Dwajaarohanam that means hosting the flag. A flag with a picture of Garuda is hosted at the Dwajahstambh. This is believed to be as a formal invitation to all the deities of devaloka to attend the festival. On this very day the CM of the state offers silk cloth to the lord as a symbol of thanks and obeisance.
After the Dwajaarohanam, the lord is taken out in a procession carried on the chariot of AadiSesha, a thousand headed serpent that is believed to serve as a seat to the lord at his time of rest. On the morning of the second day, the lord is taken out on Vaasuki, a five headed serpent god, and followed by a huge procession. On the third day evening, the lord is carried out in a procession with the other two deities the Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in a pearl decorated palanquin, which is believed to be a symbol of purity and royality.
On the fourth day morning, Kalpavrikshabahanam is performed that is the lord is carried in a procession on the kalpavriksha. On the evening, he is carried on the SarvaBhoopalaVahanam. The fifth day starts with taking out the lord, dressed as the MohiniAvataram, the lady who distributed the amrita originated by the Samudramanthanam. In the evening, the lord is taken out on Garuda. This procession is especially famous, as a sight of the lord sitting on garuda is believed to be highly auspicious.
The sixth day starts with taking the lord out in a procession on Hanumana, the greatest devotee of the lord in the Sri Rama avatar. In the evening he is taken out on Gajavahanam. On the morning of the seventh day, the lord venkateswara is taken out on a chariot driven by Sun God, in the evening he is taken out on a chariot driven by the Moon god. On the 8th day morning the lord is taken out with his concert on a specially decorated chariot which is pulled by the devotees, and a single sight of this scene is believed to end the cycle of death and rebirth. In the evening the lord is taken out on Aswavahanam. On the ninth day morning, the end of the festival is marked by the Chakra Snanam and Dwajaavarohanam in the evening.