The sacred hill shrine of Lord Venkateswara on Sunday witnessed a sea of humanity on the eve of the annual Rathasapthami festival, which was observed amidst great pomp and gaiety. The town wore a festive look and was full with the pilgrim crowd.

Lakhs of devotees from every nook and cranny of the country participated in the mega religious pageantry, which is regarded as mini-Brahmotsavams by the devout with the deity being taken out on as many as seven different ‘vahanams’ on a single day around the mada streets encircling the hill shrine.

Scores of bhajan troops tagged along the processions was a cynosure to the eyes of the congregated devotees who remained confined to their seats till the end of the festival in the night. The religious fiesta took off to a spectacular start at the break of dawn with the procession of the ‘Suryaprabha Vahanam’.

The processional deity of Lord Malayappa Swamy adorned with rare jewels mounted atop the golden ‘Suryaprabha Vahanam’ was taken out in a grand procession as early as 5.30 a.m. A gargantuan gathering of tens of thousands of devotees who had assembled at the north-west corner of the temple complex went into raptures at the very sight of the first rays of the Sun falling at the feet of the deity mounted atop the dazzling vahanam.

Besides, the TTD management various mutts and charitable organisations conducted ‘annadanam’ all through out the day adding more piety to the spiritual event.

The air was charged with the chanting of ‘Govinda-Govinda’ by the assembled devout who at the sight of every procession rose from their seats and offered Harathi from their respective positions. Every inch of available space was occupied by the swarming public.

Meanwhile, all the parking lots were full to their capacity and the vehicles were rather parked along side of the thorough fares of the temple town eventually leading to traffic commotion at frequent intervals.

Finally, the spiritual carnival concluded with the grand procession of ‘Chandraprabha vahanam’ in the night.

Idols taken out in a processions

Tirupati Staff Reporter: The TTD-run temples in Tirupati observed ‘Rathasapthami’ in a grand manner on Sunday.

The event was observed at the temples of Sri Govindaraja Swami, Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru (Tiruchanur) and Sri Kalyana Venkateswara (Srinivasa Mangapuram). Similar to Tirumala hills, the specialty of the day here is the idols were carried in a colourful procession around the respective temples on seven celestial carriers from dawn to dusk.

At Sri Govindaraja temple, the day started with the procession of Chakrathalwar at 3.30 a.m. to Kapila Theertham for a celestial bath. Starting with Surya Prabha, the deity of Govindaraja was later taken on Hamsa, Hanumantha, Pedda Sesha, Muthyapu Pandiri, Sarvabhoopala and Garuda vahanams.

At Tiruchanur, the idol of the Goddess was taken out in a procession on Ashwa Vahanam (horse) at Suryanarayana shrine. At Srinivasa Mangapuram, the fete was conducted for the first time, which drew crowds from nearby villages.