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Updated: January 5, 2012 10:21 IST

Thousands witness Vaikunta Ekadasi festival

Special Correspondent
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Namperumal attired in ratnangi on the occasion of ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ festival in srirangam on Thursday. Photo: M. Srinath
The Hindu Namperumal attired in ratnangi on the occasion of ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ festival in srirangam on Thursday. Photo: M. Srinath

Thousands of devotees witnessed the 'Vaikunta Ekadasi' festival at the Srirangam Sri Ranganathaswamy temple on Thursday and offered worship to Namperumal, the processional idol, during its procession from the sanctum sanctorum to the 1,000 pillar mandapam.

The 20-day festival is divided in to 'Pagal Paththu' and 'Raapaththu' each spread over ten days. The highlight is the 'Vaikunta Ekadasi' as it marks the opening of the holy 'Paramapada Vasal' at this shrine, popularly known as 'Boologa Vaikuntam.’

Every religious ritual was carried out in accordance with the 'lagnam'. The idol Namperumal, left the sanctum sanctorum at 3.30 am in the Virichiga lagnam. The 'Paramapada vasal' was opened at 4.30 am allowing in a sea of humanity into the temple, considered a purification ritual.

Hour- long holy procession

The festival marks the commencement of the Raapaththu and the devotees witnessed the hour-long procession with religious fervor, repeatedly glorifying 'Ranga' even while surging behind the idol.

Decorated with a gem-studded 'angi' (armour), the idol of Namperumal was taken in the 'Simhagadhi' denoting the courage of a lion as depicted in the 'Tholukkiniyan', a hymn of praise. The deity was taken through the Rajamahendran thiruchutru, Kulasekaran tiruchitru before reaching the Vrija Nadhi mandapam, a few meters ahead of the Paramapada vasal.

At the Vrija Nadhi Mandapam, vedic scholars and pandits recited the Vedas, marking the Lord's preparation to bless the devotees with salvation (Paramapadam) and eternal happiness. The other important rituals included the Namperumal idol entering tirukottagai.

The idol of Namperummal was then placed at the 1,000 pillar mandapam where thousands of devotees will be able to offer worship all through the day. The 'Araiyar sevai' was marked with the recital of ‘Uyarvara’ paasuram, Abhinayam, Viyagyanam Tiruvaimozhi.

While the 'Paramapada Vasal' remains open up to 10 p.m., devotees are allowed to worship the Lord Ranganathar in the 'Muthangi' (gem armour) sevai from 7 am to 6 pm.

Devotee-friendly arrangements

S. Jayaraman, Joint Commissioner of the temple, said that the special gallery, set up this year near the Sri Dhanvanthiri shrine in front of the Paramapada vasal, benefited the elederly among the devotees.

About 500 passes were distributed to the senior citizens who witnessed Namperumal idol entering the Paramapada vasal from the gallery. The setting up of closed circuit television sets at the temple, relaying the holy procession and other rituals, allowed devoyees to witness the festival and reduced the crowd particularly near the 1,000 pillar mandapam.

Other arrangements also proved to be devotee-friendly. P. Dhanabal, Additional Commissioner of Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department, said that the innovative steps taken this year would benefit the devotees.

Barring some confusion over identifying VVIPs, the arrangements for regulating the queues and other civic facilities were adequate. Confusion breifly prevailed in allowing the VVIPs, VIPs and other pass-holders at the entrance to the 'Vrija Nadhi Mandapam', which is almost the mid point of the route. A senior police official clarified that the deployment of police personnel and officials from outside the Tiruchi region resulted in confusion in identifying the regional VIPs.

E.Ma. Masanamuthu, Commissioner of Police, swiftly defused the situation allowing smooth passage of the procession between 'Mahendran Tiruchutru' and 'Paramapadavasal',

The coverage of Vaikunda Ekadesi Festival was superb. Only through these articles I could understand the various phenomena of the temples. These information is so precious this should be retained. It was so sad to note that some of the Rulers like Alaudin Kilji plundered the Temple. How sadistic these people were when they looted the historic monuments and religious places. I was also overwhelmed to note the heroic feat of Vallaye who tried her level best to save the Namperuam Vigraham. I bow down to these people and we have to live a life in humility and humbles in deference to those who laid down their lives in heroic deeds. Thanks once again.

from:  vmswamiranjani
Posted on: Jan 11, 2012 at 16:10 IST

It was excellent to read my beloved newspaper with Sri Velukkudi Swamy CD and to have a darshan of namperumal purppadu, thayar and moolvar sevai on auspicious day of Vaikunta ekadasi. Very much thanks for such a valuable CD with hard copies. I will keep that CD and hard copy of edition forever!

from:  Prabhakar K S
Posted on: Jan 8, 2012 at 20:00 IST

your coverage on this is superb. In your print edition you have carried a photograph of devotees passing through paramapadha vasal. It also shows policemen regulating the devotees. But the cops are wearing their caps or hats. As per Hindu customs nobody is allowed to wear any head gear in side the temple premises. Because it is believed that Lord is the supreme one and nobody can wear a cap or even a king his 'Kreetam' which is the symbol of this authority. Even today cops remove their caps when they see a dead body as a mark of reverance for the departed soul and they also remove their cap when they enter the witness box to depose as a mark of respect to the judge. In my younger days, I have seen cops without caps inside the temple premises. But today all the cops wear caps inside the temple be it parthasarathy temple or kapaleeswarar temple.
Will the Chief of Police of the state sensitise policemen about this.

from:  S Chellappa Venkatapathy
Posted on: Jan 6, 2012 at 09:50 IST

It is truly a "divya darsanam ..Feels like Heaven in Earth...!

from:  Balaji
Posted on: Jan 5, 2012 at 22:26 IST

We were really thrilled and excited beyond words listening to Sh Velukkudi Swamiji's discourse(in his characteristic 'bronze'tone)the history and the significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi utsavam at Srirangam. Long live 'The Hindu' and its noble endeavours like this.May the blessings of Sri Renganathar be showered on all your similar ventures.We remain grateful to 'The Hindu' for ever.

from:  R.S.Ramanujam
Posted on: Jan 5, 2012 at 20:39 IST

Thanks a ton for the nice and detailed coverage of the festival, along with the discourse of Sri.Velukudi Krishnan Sir.

from:  priya
Posted on: Jan 5, 2012 at 19:28 IST

its a nice darashan of the LORD IN THE MORNING sitting in Dubai; Hare Krishna

from:  raman.s
Posted on: Jan 5, 2012 at 10:55 IST
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