The nine-day annual ‘Brahmotsavam’ festival of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala, near here, began with religious fervour and traditional zeal on Monday evening.

Marking the commencement of the mega festival, the high priests, amid chanting of vedic hymns, hoisted the traditional ’Garuda Flag’ atop the sacred golden ‘Dwajasthambham’ in front of the sanctum sanctorum.

The Brahmotsavam is celebrated at the hill shrine since last one thousand years, temple sources said.

Before offering a pair of new silk clothes to the hill temple on behalf of the government, Andhra Pradesh Chief Minister K Rosiah also participated in the flag hoisting ceremony.

Tight security has been put in place for the festival, which attract over a million devotees from all over the country and abroad, the temple sources said.