The Uriyadi festival was celebrated with fanfare and gusto on the occasion of Krishna Jayanti at Varahur, 30 km from Thanjavur, where Venkatesa Perumal temple is located. The festive fervour continued till the wee hours of Friday as the Gokulashtami festival of the temple culminated in Uriyadi Utsavam.
The festival started with Lord Krishna being taken out in Vennaithazhi Alankaram at 11 a.m. on Thursday. In the evening, the Lord was taken to the mandapam on the banks of the Kadungalar river.
By 11 p.m. the Lord was taken out in special alankaram for Uriyadi festival. Devotees did ankaprathakshanam and those who were to take part in the Uriyadi were in the garb of cowherds. Vazhujkkumaram on which a pot containing eatables like murukku, seedai and butter was tied remained ready adjacent to the temple for the devotees to take part in Uriyadi. Uriyadi means breaking the pot (uri) and taking the eatables inside it. One has to climb the Vazhukkumaram (slippery pole) and take it. They also use sticks to break the pot which is moved up and down using a pulley. Even as devotees compete with each other to break the pot, turmeric water will be sprayed on them by onlookers to make their job difficult. Braving the odds, the devotees have to break the pot .
Legend has it that Venkatesa Perumal of Varahur relieved the stomach pain of Narayana Theertha Swamigal, who was born in Andhra Pradesh and came all the way to Varahur to get rid of his stomach pain. He dreamt that a wild boar would take him to a place where his stomach pain would be cured. Accordingly, he followed the boar which stood before him after he woke up . It came to Varahur and disappeared.
Narayana Theerthar had darshan of Venkatesa Perumal at Varahur and got rid of his stomach pain. He stayed at Varahur and rendered the Krishna Leela Tharangini. It is said that Narayana Theerthar formulated the Uriyadi festival that was followed later.