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Tirumala Brahmotsavams without devotees from today
- The 9-day grand ritual of the hill shrine will have no Vahana sevas or any processions this time due to Covid restrictions
- Former priest Ramana Deekshithulu says the fest was conducted in the past as usual even at the time of natural calamities or even invasions
Tirupati: Tirumala Brahmotsavam is synonym with multitudes of pilgrims, glittering vahana sevas, colourful cultural and devotional events like Bhajans and chantings reverberating in the holy hills.
But it will be different this time. Due to Covid effect, TTD is going to conduct the nine-day- long religious celebrations in Ekantham from Saturday, September 19.
In other words, the Utsavam is confined to the shrine limited to TTD authorities and staff, priests and Jeeyangars concern with the conduct of the annual fete. There will be no procession of the deities atop decorated Vahanams in the open in Mada Streets around the shrine feasting the eyes of lakhs of devotees or cultural programmes by best troupes from across the country.
"Probably it may be the first time the Utsavam without devotees, disappointing every one. The Utsavam went on even during natural calamities like heavy rains, floods, famines, pandemic and even invasions in the region," said Tirumala temple former chief priest A V Ramana Deekshithulu whose family is associated as hereditary priests with the shrine for 36 generations.
The Covid restrictions affecting the important religious fete also hit hard other sections like shopkeepers, private transport operators, hoteliers and who could have made some money during Brahmotsavam with heavy congregation of people gathering daily to witness the religious events.
It also adversely impacted mutts, Hindu charitable institutions based on the hills hosting thousands of devotees from various states facilitating them to participate in the fete.
A 80-year-old mutt manager said that he had not heard of the Utsavam being held with no participation of devotees whom the God love most in the long Tirumala history.
The deserted look of once crowded mutts , shopping areas, taxi stands , cottages , pilgrim amenities complexes a tell picture of the grim situation due to Covid on the hill top temple town.
Temple sources said the daily Vahana sevas will be held in Kalyana Mandapam located in Sampangi prakaram in the shrine while other rituals preceding and following the Vahana seva like decoration of idols, sallimpu, sathumora and snapana thirumanjan will be at Ranganayakula Mandapam in the temple.
The Kalyana Mandapam will be readied daily with decoration in the morning and evenings for the idols which will be brought on flower-decked Tiruchi (palanquin) to the accompaniment of traditional music to Kalyanamandapam, nearby where the idols will be placed on the Vahanams. All the rituals like Divyaprabhanda Parayanam, Veda Parayanam, Harathi, Naivedyam will be observed. Jeeyar Swamjis will lead Sathumora after which Harathi will be performed again before the idols taken back to Rangabayakula Mandapam.
The daily Vahana seva, including rituals, will be over in 45 to 60 minute while normally in the Mada streets it takes two hours for completion.
Even the last day of the event Chakra Snanam marking the conclusion of the nine day Brahmotsavam which usually held in the holy Pushkarini, holy temple tank, will be held this time in the temple itself while another important fete Maharathotsavam wood chariot procession also stands cancelled.
In essences, the popular Brahmotsvam if the famed 2000 year old Sri Venkateswara temple will be held this time without any fanfare and limiting it limited number of temple authorities, staff, Archakas, Adhyapakas and Jeeyangar with no devotees the lovable ones of the God who become popular with huge devotees following World over.