Thousands witness Lord's procession in Tirumala
The annual ‘Ratha Saptami' festival, also known as ‘Surya Jayanthi', was on Thursday observed at the shrine of Lord Venkateswara amidst religious ecstasy.
Tens of thousands of devotees from different parts of the country took part in the festival that was ceremoniously carried out from dawn to dusk. As part of the festival, the processional deities of the Lord were carried out on seven different vahanams.
The day commenced with the conduct of ‘Surya Prabha' vahanam in the early hours of Thursday. After the completion of the daily temple formalities, the deity was mounted atop the dazzling Surya Prabha vahanam was taken around the mada streets in a grand procession.
Meanwhile several thousands of devotees congregated at the north-west corner of the hill temple hours in advance to catch a glimpse of the ‘first rays' of the sun falling on the feet of the deity mounted on the Surya Prabha vahanam. The devotees, who till then waited patiently chanting Govinda namams, went into roaring raptures the moment the rays of the sun touched the feet of the Lord.
The festival, also known as ‘mini Brahmotsavam' in the local parlance, concluded with the procession of ‘Chandra Prabha' vahanam in the night. In between, the Lord was also taken out on different vahanams like – Chinna Sesha, Garuda, Hanumantha, Kalpavriksha and Sarva bhoopala vahanams at regular intervals.
The temple management made elaborate arrangements for the grand conduct of the festival. There was a steep increase in the pilgrim crowd which started swelling since Wednesday afternoon, reached its zenith by the end of the day.
In connection with the festival the TTD had cancelled all the sevas being performed inside the hill temple.
Governor E.S.L. Narsimhan, who is at Tirumala as part of his three-day visit to the district also participated in the daylong festival.