Thousands of devotees offered worship to Namperumal at Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple on the occasion of Vaikunta Ekadasi on Monday.

Rituals associated with the festival were performed and the holy doors of ‘Paramapadha Vasal’ were opened, marking the significance of the 20-day festival.

Clad in gem-studded armour, ‘Ratnangi,’ the processional deity of the temple, Namperumal, exited the ‘Paramapadha Vasal’ amidst milling devotees at 4.45 a.m. in Viruchiga lagnam.

At 3.45 a.m., Namperumal, adorned with precious jewellery (‘Ratnangi’), was taken from the sanctum sanctorum in procession ‘Thanga Tholukkiniyaan’ in a movement known as ‘Simhagathi’ - on the lines of the exit of a lion emerging from its den.

Veda parayanam

After customary honours for the Srirangam ‘stalasthars,’ the deity was taken through the Raja Mahendran Tiruchutru, Kulasekaran Chutru before reaching the Vraja Nadhi Mandapam where ‘Veda parayanam’ was recited.

Important verses forming the abstract of the Rig, Yajur, Sama and Atharvana Vedas were recited by pandits, which was followed by the recital of Sukla Yajus and Ekayana Sahai by archakas. All these rituals signify the preliminary arrangements (such as taking holy dip in the Vraja river and sporting holy ornaments) for entering ‘Swargavasal.’

Seconds after the completion of the rituals at the mandapam, the ‘Paramapadha Vasal’ was thrown open, allowing the procession to emerge through it. Namperumal then reached the Thirumamani Asthana Mandapam, where ‘Arayar Sevai’ was performed.

Heavy security arrangements by police were made and regulation of devotees avoided overcrowding at the ‘Paramapadha Vasal.’

The 20-day festival is divided in to two major parts - Pagal paththu and Irapaththu - each spread over a period of 10 days. The Vaikunta Ekadasi festival marks the first day of Irapaththu. The presiding deity of Lord Ranganathar was adorned with ‘muthangi’ (coat of pearls) and thousands of devotees offered worship from 7 a.m. till evening. The ‘Paramapada Vasal’ remained open up to 10 p.m.

M.S.M. Anandan, Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowment Minister, P. Dhanabal, Commissioner of HR and CE, Seshasayee, Chairman of Board of Trustees of the temple, and S. Kalyani, Joint Commissioner and Executive Officer of temple were present.

Shailesh Kumar Yadav, Commissioner of Police, and S. Selvakumar, Deputy Commissioner of Police, Law and Order, supervised the security arrangements.