Over 5000 devotees from 200 bhajan groups in Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Karnataka and Kerala would be participating in the Tirupathi Tirumala Padi Vizha (Steps Festival) to be held on April 15 and 16, when the devotees would trek their way through the hills to have dharshan of Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala.
According to a release from A.C. Narasimhan, general secretary of the Tirupathi Tirumala Steps Festival Trust, Arcot which is arranging the festival, the Padi Vizha would be preceded by the singing of devotional songs by the bhajan groups near the Balaji Bus Stand at the foot of the hills in Tirupathi at 4 p.m. on April 15. The festival could commence at Alipiri on the foot of the hills at 6 a.m. on April 16, with a nathaswaram concert by Arcot Sampath and party in the presence of Sri Chathurvedi Swamigal, president of Sri Ramanuja Mission Trust, Chennai and Sri Bharathi Muraleedara Swamigal of Sri Vidya Peedam, Katpadi.
Women devotees would adorn each step with saffron and turmeric and offer camphor ‘aarti’. The devotees would climb the steps leading to Tirumala, singing devotional songs all the way. The local traders of Tirupathi would be offering buttermilk to the devotees, while the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams would arrange lunch for them during their sacred journey.
On reaching Tirumala, a devotional singing programme would be held at the New Asthana Mandapam from 12 p.m. onwards before the devotees visit the temple for dharshan.