With the annual Brahmotsavam at the hill temple of Lord Venkateswara around the corner, ‘Tailor’ Mani is once again busy giving finishing touches to the exquisite curtains to be presented to the temple on the eve of the festival. As a custom, he has been rendering this service for the last several years.
He presents three large, well embroidered curtains to be hung at the three important thresholds in the inner-most prakaram (precinct) of the temple — Kulashekhara Padi, Ramulavari Meda and Bangaru Vakili.
Mani, who runs a tailoring shop in a busy bazaar area in Tirupati, also presents along with the curtains ‘Kuralams’ — decorative silk drapes which are hung from the ceiling above the main deity, and in the ‘Sayana Mandapam’, where the Lord is put to sleep daily after ‘Ekanta Seva’. In addition, he also presents a large curtain measuring 11 ft high and 35 ft wide for the Kalyanotsava Mandapam.
He has been offering these curtains and drapes to the Lord as a tradition, four times a year, each time coinciding with a major festival at the temple, namely, Ugadi, Anivari Asthanam, Brahmotsavam and Vaikuntha Ekadasi.
It takes more than two months each time, to stitch the sets. Besides huge measures of satin cloth, the other items used for the drapes and curtains (‘pardahs’) are beads, sequins, silk, woollen lace and imitation stones, most of which are procured from different parts of the State. A team led by Mani, works meticulously on the curtains out of a separate unit in his shop.
The speciality of this year’s ‘Kulashekhara Padi’ pardah is that it carries the image of Lord Venkateshwara giving Netra Darshanam.
As a gesture of honour, the temple authorities grant Mani the ‘Mahadwaram’ entry and receive the pardahs with reverence before decorating the designated areas with them.