Religious fervour pervaded the temple town of Srirangam as thousands of devotees worshipped ‘Namperumal’ at the Sri Renganathaswamy Temple on the occasion of ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ on Sunday.
Clad in gem-studded armour ‘Rathnangi’ the processional deity ‘Namperumal’ exited the sanctum sanctorum in ‘Simha Gadhi’ in the early hours. The processional deity was taken through the Raja Mahendran Tiruchutru, Kulasekaran Chutru before reaching the ‘Vraja Nadhi Mandapam decked with flowers, a few metres before the ‘Paramapadha Vaasal’.
Krishna Yajur Veda hymns besides those from other Vedas were recited by pandits at the ‘Vraja Nadhi Mandapam’ where the processional deity remained for nearly 30 minutes before proceeding towards the ‘Paramapadha Vaasal’ which was opened for the deity to pass through.
At the stroke of 5 a.m., the processional deity exited the ‘Paramapada Vaasal’ with a huge stream of devotees chanting ‘Govinda’ and ‘Renga’ surging behind the idol and passing through the ‘Paramapada Vaasal’.
The opening of the ‘Paramapada Vaasal’ on the ‘Vaikunta Ekadasi’ day is the highlight of the 21-day Vaikunta Ekadasi festival at the Srirangam temple, the foremost of the 108 ‘Divya Desams’ also known as ‘Bhooloka Vaikuntam’.
The processional deity was thereafter taken to ‘Thirumamani Asthana Mandapam’ where Arayar Sevai was performed. A large number of devotees patiently waited for several hours outside the temple from the early hours braving the chill weather and offered worship to Namperumal all through the day.
Srirangam Temple Jeer Sri Ranganarayana Jeer, AIADMK Rajya Sabha member S. R. Balasubramanian, Tourism Minister Vellamandi Natarajan, Backward Classes and Minorities Welfare Minister S. Valarmathi, Collector K. S. Palanisamy, Chairman, Board of Trustees of the temple Venu Srinivasan, trustees of the temple and senior Hindu Religious and Charitable Endowments Department officials participated in the festival.
The temple complex and its vicinity was brought under enhanced security cover with around 4,500 police personnel deployed for bandobust duty and to regulate vehicular movements in Srirangam town.
Barricades were installed at various points in the temple town to regulate movement of devotees and vehicles with teams of police personnel deployed inside and outside the temple complex. Announcements were constantly made by the police through the public address system. Several LED and LCD television sets were installed in the temple complex to enable devotees to view the happenings. Special buses were operated by the Tamil Nadu State Transport Corporation to Srirangam.