Brahmotsavam Day 8: Swarna Rathotsavam & Ashwa Vahanam

Sri Malayappa Swami with Sri & Bhu Devis seated in the swarna ratham

As the Brahmotsavam festivities draw to a close, Sri Malayappa Swami seated with consorts Sri & Bhu devis on the swarna ratham (golden chariot). Thousands of faithful from all over India drag the golden chariot of the Lord in the streets of Lord Venkateswara’s temple precincts.

The devotees compete with each other in their enthusiasm, and people of all ages give a hand at pulling the divine chariot on this auspicious occasion. The puranas state that one who sees Lord Venkateswara with His consorts, seated on the chariot will be absolved of punar janma (rebirth)…

On the night of the eight day, Sri Malayappa Swami comes riding on the ashwa vahanam (horse vehicle). The horse is a royal steed, and the Lord in several incarnations rode horses (Sri Ramachandra and Kalki avataras notably). Holding the reins in one lotus hand, and gripping a whip in the other, the Lord mesmorizes crowds of the faithful, as He rides through the streets around the temple in Tirupathi…

Sri Malayappa Swami on the Ashwa vahanam

Tomorrow, the ninth day of the Brahmotsavam marks the end of the festivities. As an interesting aside, during years with an adhika maasa (extra month), also known as Purushottama maasa, Lord Venkateswara may celebrate two brahmotsavams. Last year (2007), Tirumala witnessed two such grand celebrations- in in mid September, and the other in October! Sri Venkateswara’s mercy is fathomless, but He is especially merciful during the extra month for which He is the presiding deity (Sri Purushottama).

ஓம் நமோ நாராயணாய!

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