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Sri Venkateswara Swami Brahmotsavam or Srivari Brahmotsavam is the most significant annual festival celebrated at the Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala-Tirupati and at numerous Venkateswara temples throughout the world. The word Brahmotsavam is a combination of two Sanskrit words — Brahma and Utsavam (festival). It is widely believed that Lord Brahma reportedly conducted the first festival. Brahma also means “grand” or “large”. According to the legend of Tirumala, Brahma descends to earth to conduct the festival. Sri Venkteswara Sahasranamastotra refers to Brahma performing the festival, signified by a small, empty wooden chariot (Brahmaratham) which moves ahead of the processions of the Venkateswara processional deity Malayappa. The first reference to festivals in the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple was in 966 CE, when the Pallava queen Samavai endowed land and ordered its revenue to celebrate festivals in the temple.
Brahmotsavam is held over nine days at the beginning of the Ashweeja masam, paralleling Navaratri. The evening before the first day, Ankurarpanam (the sowing of seeds to signify fertility and abundance) is performed. The main first-day activity is Dwajarohanam – the raising of the Garuda flag to signify the beginning of the festival. Religious activities during the festival include daily homas and processions on the walkway surrounding in and around the temple. The final day commemorates Venkateswara’s birth star. On the final day, Sudarshana Chakra is bathed in the temple tank with the devotees, a ritual called as Avabrutha / Chakra Snanam. The Chakra is then placed on a high platform, and the devotees walk under it and are blessed with its dripping water. The festival ends with Dhvajavarohanam, the lowering of the Garuda flag.
Navaratri – “Nava” means nine and “Ratri” means nights. According to the Shakta and Vaishnava Puranas, Navaratri theoretically falls twice or four times a year. Of these, the Sharada Navaratri near autumn equinox (September–October) is the most celebrated and the Vasanta Navaratri near spring equinox (March–April) is the next most significant to the culture of the Indian sub-continent. In all cases, Navaratri falls in the bright half of the Hindu luni-solar months. The celebrations vary by region, leaving much to the creativity and preferences of the Hindus worldwide. As part of Navaratri celebrations, Parvathi Devi is adorned with nine different Alankaram’s (dressed-up with silk clothes and jewelry) during the nine evenings.
|Date/Date||Vahana Seva & Devi Alankaram|
|During the 10 days of Brahmotsavam celebrations, Vahana seva will be performed to Lord Venkateswara every evening. Vahana seva includes taking the Lord in a procession in the evening on different types of vahanas (vehicles). Devotees who sponsor for Vahana seva on either one day or on multiple days will be honored by the priests and special blessings will be given during the Asthanam (gathering of devotees during Unjal seva) in the evening in the multi ceremonial pavilion (MCP).
Ubhayam: The Yajamani's (Seva sponsor) name will be read during Sankalpa for all the sevas performed during that particular day. He/She and his/her family are the Yajamani's (owners) for the whole day sevas that include Homam, Procession, Prasadam and Flowers. All the festivities are conducted in the same way as it has been conducted in Tirumala from a long time.
Ubhayam Sponsorship (1 day) - $ 251
|Friday, October 16||Ankurarpanam
The traditional ritual, Ankurarpanam or Beejavapanam is one of the most important rituals of the Vaikhanasa Agama which essentially is the Seed Sowing ritual performed on evening of first day of Brahmotsavam. This seed sowing ritual marks the conduct of the mega religious nine day event in a successful manner. The vessels known as “Palikas” are made using gold, silver, copper or mud for performing Ankurarpanam. The vessels are either 16/12/8 in number. They are placed at Yagnashala and seeds were sown in each vessel. The sprouting of the seeds depicts the grandeur in which the festival is being celebrated. The essence of this ritual is to make a sankalpa to celebrate a festival to receive the grace of the Lord. Sastras prescribe performing Ankurarpanan 9 days before the festival and is usually performed in the evening.
Parvathi Kalasa Sthapana
Parvathi devi is invoked with the Kalasa Sthapana ritual.
|Saturday, October 17||Procession & Dwaja Rohanam
Dwajarohanam is the flag-hoisting ceremony that is held on the first day by hoisting a flag (dhwajapatam) with a picture of Garuda (Mount of Vishnu) on the top of the Dwajasthambam of the Temple. The flag will be hoisted amid Vedic chanting. It is believed to be a symbolic significance of formal invitation to all the deities to attend the Brahmotsavam festival. Before flag-hoisting, the processional deities of the Temple, Malayappa by his consorts Sridevi, Bhudevi, will be taken in a procession along with Dwajapatam and Parivara devathas such as Anantha, Chakra, Garuda and Vishvaksena.
Bala Tripura Sundari Alankaram
Parvathi devi will adorn the Bala Tripura Sundari Alankaram this evening. Bala Tripurasundari, Kumarika ('the magnificent Goddess') or simply Bala ('child') is the daughter of the Hindu goddess Tripura Sundari, the consort of Lord Kameshwara. She was born from the Goddess and Sri Kameshwara.
|Sunday, October 18||Sesha Vahana Seva
On the third evening, the Lord is taken out in a procession around the temple on Sesha (Serpent God) as His vehicle. Adi Sesha is the seat on which Lord Sriman Narayana rests in his abode Sri Vaikunta
During the evening, Parvathi devi will be dressed as Gayatri Devi. Gayatri is the personified form of popular Gayatri Mantra, a hymn from Vedic texts. She is also known as Savitri and Vedamata (mother of vedas). Gayatri is often associated with Savitri, a solar deity in the vedas. Gayatri is the consort of Lord Brahma in Puranic concepts. Gayatri devi is the consort of Shiva, in his highest form of Sadasiva with five heads and ten hands.
|Monday, October 19||Hamsa Vahana Seva
On the fourth evening, the Lord is taken out in a procession around the temple on Hamsa (Swan)as His vehicle. Hamsa or Swan means pure. Hamsa is believed to have a high intellectual capability and can distinguish good from bad.
During the evening, Parvathi devi will be dressed as Meenakshi Devi from Madurai.
|Tuesday, October 20||Kalpavruksha Vahana Seva
On the fifth evening, Lord Sri Venkateswara is taken out in a procession around the temple decorated as Sarva Bhoopala on Kalpavruksha as His vehicle signifying that HE is the Lord of Lords and the giver of boons to His devotees and fulfills their wishes.
Parvathi devi will take the form of Annapurneshwari. Annapurna is the goddess of food and nourishment. Worship and offering of food is highly praised and therefore, the goddess Annapurna is regarded as a popular deity. She is an avatar (form) of Parvati.
|Wednesday, October 21||Garuda Vahana Seva
On the sixth evening, the Lord is taken out in a procession around the temple specially decorated with his main devotee and main vehicle Garuda - the king of birds as His vehicle. It is believed and said that it is highly meritorious and mukhya pradhanam to have darshan of the Lord seated on Garuda, the vahana of Lord Vishnu.
This evening alankaram to Parvathi devi is Kamakshi Alankaram. Goddess Kamakshi is the form of Parvati or the Universal Mother Goddess. The main abode of Kamakshi is Kanchipuram. Goddess Kamakshi is considered to be the representation of Shri Vidya - Shri Lalita Maha Tripurasundari who reigns supreme in Kanchi. The image of the goddess has been carved out of a Salagrama shila and the Meru in the temple is also made of Salagrama, believed to be consecrated by sage Durvasa, one of the renowned Shrividya upasakas. Kanchi is one of the most powerful pithas.
|Thursday, October 22||Hanumath Vahana Seva
On the seventh evening, the Lord is taken around the temple in a procession on Lord Hanuman as His vehicle. Lord Hanunam is the personification of the most devoted and self less service to the Lord is His avatar as Sri Rama in Treta yuga.
Saraswati is the Hindu goddess of knowledge, music, art, wisdom and learning. She is a part of the trinity (Tridevi) of Saraswati, Lakshmi and Parvati. All the three forms help the trinity of Brahma, Vishnu and Shiva to create, maintain and regenerate-recycle the Universe respectively. The earliest known mention of Saraswati as a Goddess is in the Rigveda. She has remained significant as a Goddess from the Vedic period through modern times of Hindu traditions.
|Friday, October 23||Gaja Vahana Seva
On the eight evening, the Lord is taken on a procession around the temple in Gaja (Elephant) or Airavatha as His vehicle. We find in Srimad Bhagavatham (Gajendra Moksham), the Lord instantly coming to the rescue of Gajendra and get his relieved from the clutches of a crocodile.
Vana Durga Alankaram
Parvathi devi is dressed up as Vana Durga this evening. Vana Durga is a manifestation of Parvathi Devi.
|Saturday, October 24||Swarna Ratha Vahana Seva
On the ninth day, Lord Venkateswara is taken in a procession along with His consorts seated on a fully decorated golden chariot pulled by the devotees with the chanting of Govinda Namasmarana. It is believed and said that those who witness the Lord seated on the chariot during Rathotsavam will NOT be reborn.
Mahishasura Mardhini Procession & Maha Kali Alankaram
Maha Kali as Mahishasura Mardhini (slayer of Mahishasura demon) is taken in an procession around the temple this evening. Maha Kali is another of Maa Durga. Maha Kali is one of the ten Mahavidyas. Kali's earliest appearance is that of a destroyer of evil forces. She is also seen as divine protector and the one who bestows moksha, or liberation. Kali is often portrayed standing or dancing on her consort, the Hindu god Shiva, who lies calm and prostrate beneath her.
|Sunday, October 25||Avabrutha / Chakra Snanam
In the morning of Vijaya Dashami, Avabrutha / Chakra Snanam is celebrated for Lord Venkateswara in the Pushkarni. After choornika utsavam (exfoliation with turmeric and sesame oil), abhishekam is performed to Utsava vigrahas in the Snapana mandapam in the middle of the Pushkarni. At that very moment, all the Devatas and Gods invited to the Brahmotsavam also take a dip in the Pushkarni. All the devotees who immerse themselves at the same moment in the Pushkarni will be rid of their past sins and will gain good health and abundant blessings of Sri Venkateswara.
Aswa Vahana Seva
On the tenth and final evening, the Lord is taken out around the temple in a procession on the Aswa (Horse) vahana. Aswa symbolizes the forthcoming Kalki avatar. Lord assumed the form of a horse head during the avatar as Hayagreeva.
Raja Rajeswari Alankaram
Raja Rajeswari is one of the most divine forms of Parvathi devi.