Wednesday turned out to be enchanting for devotees when goddess Padmavathi rode the palanquin and elephant, considered the favourite among her celestial carriers.
‘Pallaki Utsavam’ was performed in the morning as part of the ‘Kartheeka Brahmotsavams’ at the Tiruchanur temple, when the goddess came out for a pleasure ride on a palanquin in the guise of ‘Godha Devi’ or ‘Andal’, the poetess who won the heart of Lord Ranganatha with her scholarly work ‘Tiruppavai’.
Apart from the rare diamond-studded jewels and the eye-catching silk costumes, what made the deity stand apart today was Andal’s slanting front-tuft, which has come to be known for ages as the traditional ‘Andal Kondai’ in Tamil. A golden parrot was also adorned to the deity, as a pet parrot is known to perch on Andal’s shoulder.
Sandal bath (Snapana Tirumanjanam) was given to the deity in the afternoon and ‘Vasanthotsavam’ was performed in the evening.
‘Gaja Vahana Seva’
In the evening, ‘Gaja Vahana Seva’ was performed when the deity was seated on a golden elephant.
Elephant plays an important role in the Goddess’ paraphernalia right from the start of the nine-day fete, marked by hoisting of flag carrying the tusker’s image. Sri Vaishnavite scholar Vedanta Desika mentions in a verse in his ‘Sri Sthuthi’ that the Goddess got her first celestial bath from elephants, after her birth in the milky ocean, which explains how endeared elephants are to Her.
Reviving an age-old tradition, the ‘Lakshmi Haram’ (a long necklace made of gold coins) adorned to the Tirumala main deity was brought down in a procession to Tiruchanur to be used for the grand event.