The Brahmotsavam is a Hindu festival and is the most important temple festival celebrated in the holy town of Tirupati - Balaji. The festival is celebrated annually in the month of September and October depending on the moon. The festival is a nine day long event. The festival is grand every third year and is called Navratri Brahmotsavam. The entire hilltop resounds with Sanskrit mantras (sacred chants) and the music of bells, drums, cymbals, flutes, and temple horns. The perfumes of camphor, sandalwood, incense, jasmine, rose, and marigold fills the air.
It is belived that the festival was started by the Lord Brahma. He worshiped lord Balaji on the banks of the river Pushkarini in Tirupati in order to thank him for the saving the mankind. Hence the festival is named ‘Brahmotsavam’ which means Brahma’s Utsav.
Day 1 - Pedda Seshavahana
The festival starts with the Dhwajarohana that is hoisting the Garudadhwaja (flag which has an emblem of a black eagle) near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham which is followed by a spectacular procession of Lord Venkateshwara on a chariot known as Pedda Seshavahana is taken around the four streets of the main temple. The procession is carried out at ten in the night and continues till midnight. The procession lasts for the first two days of the festival.
Day 2 - Chinna Seshavahana
The second day of the festival starts with a huge procession in the morning. The idol of the lord is taken out on the streets but this time on Chinna Seshavahana. After the procession the lord is worshipped through out the day and in the night the deities are taken to Uyala Mandapam for the Unjal Seva (swinging).
Day 3 – Simhavahana
The deities are carried around on the streets on Simhavahana - a vehicle which has a Lion`s emblem on it. The lion’s emblem denotes the command and authority. After the procession the deities are taken again for the Unjal Seva which is followed by an exciting ride on Mutayalapandiri Vahana in the night which is the symbol of purity.
Day 4 - Kalpavriksha Vahana
The deities are carried out in a Kalpavriksha Vahana in the morning. The vehicle shaped like a tree which signifies that the Lord grants boons and fulfils the wishes of his devotees. Kalpavriksha is name of a tree which is belived to grant boon and fulfill all the wishes. In the night, after the Unjal Seva, the deities are carried in a Sarvabhoopala Vahana. Sarvabhoopala means `all the kings of Mother Earth`.
Day 5 - Garuda Vahana
A majority of pilgrims visit the temple on fifth day day. In the morning the Mohini Avatarotsavam is celebrated to memorialize the Lord`s incarnation as Mohini. The Lord is dressed like Mohini and is taken out in a procession in a Pallaki (palanquin).After the Unjal Seva in the night, the Lord along with other deities are seated on Garuda Vahana.
Day 6 - Gaja Vahana
In the morning of the sixth day, the deities of the temple are carried out on a beautifully-decorated Hanumad Vahana. Instead of the Unjal Seva, the Vasantotsavam is celebrated on the sixth day. In the night the Lord is taken out in a procession seated on a Gaja Vahana.
Day 7 - Suryaprabha Vahana
On the seventh day, in the morning the lord is escalated on the Suryaprabha Vahana (sun chariot) whereas during the night the lord is taken out on Chandraprabha Vahana after Unjal Seva.
Day 8 – Rathotsavam
On the eight day the Lord is taken on a procession seated on a chariot which is also known as Rathotsavam. The idols of Daruka, (the charioteer of Lord Sri Krishna) and the four horses are placed before the decorated idols of the Lord and his consorts. The devotees pull the chariot. After the Unjal Seva in the night, the deities are taken in the Aswa (horse) Vahana. It is believed that all those who witness the Rathotsavam will not be reborn.
Day 9 - Chakrasnana Mahotsavam
On the last day the Pallaki Seva and Chakrasnana Mahotsavam is conducted in the morning whereas Dhwajavarohanam is performed in the evening. All the images that were taken out in the procession are smeared with oil, turmeric powder and other auspicious ingredients and Abhishekam is performed. Sudarsan Chakram is also given a bath in the Swami Pushkarini. The Garuda flag which was hoisted on the first day to mark the onset of the festival is lowered symbolizing the end of the nine day festival.
There also good numbers of budget as well as luxury Hotels in Tirupati located near the balaji temple provides all the comforts and luxuries at best price tags. The travelers can also avail Tirupati Tour Packages which include a stay at one of the finest hotels in tirupati, platter of meals and a cab service to commute with in the precincts of the region.
Updated on October 2008