Details of Ekanta Seva in Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy

Ekanta Seva

Ekanta Seva is the last seva performed to Lord Venkateswara before closing the temple for that particular day. Bhoga Srinivasa idol is laid on a gold Vuyyala (Swing) in the mukhamantapam using silver chains. Milk, fruits, almonds are offered to the Lord and performed chandanam is placed at the feet of the main deity after removing the kavacham covering the feet. Chandanam is also placed on the chest of Bhoga Srinivasa, Alamelumangai (on the chest of main deity). Since it is believed that Lord Brahma comes to perform prayers to the Lord after the temple doors are closed every night, chandanam, water and puja material is left for his usage. Water filled in silver cups are also kept for being consecrated by Lord Brahma and the same is distributed as 'thirtha' (holy/sacred water) to all pilgrims on the next day.

Tarikonda Venkamamba's harati in a plate inlaid with one of the dasavatarams (10 Avatars of Lord Vishnu) along with pearls bought by Venkamamba's descendent is waved to the Lord. During the entire ceremony, descendants of Tallapaka poets sing Tallapaka sankirtanam. In the Dhanurmasa (Marga masa), the idol of Lord Krishna is put to sleep in the vuyyala instead of Bhoga Srinivasa.

This last ritual is in the night. This is called ekantha seva. This is also known as Rathri pooja as it is done in the night. This pavalimpu seva is an arjitha seva. It lasts for 45 minutes. During this ritual the garlands adorning the moolavar are removed. 'The gaddam bottu i.e. the 'Sripada renu' on the chin is removed and fresh one put. The gold kavacha for the feet is also removed. The priest performs Sripada seva viz. at the feet of Dhruvabera, two full tablets of sandal paste are taken and after covering the bare feet with a vastra, the two tablets are placed on the two feet over the cloth. A tablet is placed on Alamelmanga on Dhruvabera's chest (Vakshasthala Lakshmi). In the meantime the sayana mantapa is ready for the deity. A silver cot will be brought in and suspended from silver chains from the roof in the sayana mantapa. The floor will be covered with Rangavalli design with rice powder. A velvet bed is laid on the cot. The sanctum is cleaned as the Kantakabera is removed from the Jeevasthana. Now milk is offered to the Kantakabera in a silver pot. The 2 queens of Krishnadevaraya (Chinna devi and Tirumala devi) are gifted each a gold cup (374 tulas) for offering milk during this seva. One another large silver plate with cashewnuts, almonds, dried grapes, clarified butter, fruits, sugar candy & tambula (50 betel leaves, nut, coconut gratings, cloves, cardamom and Japatri) is also offered. Then the Kantakabera is laid on the cot with its head to the south, sayana sukta is recited. Half a tablet of chandana is placed on the chest of the sayanabera. Meantime at the Bangaru Vakili, Mukhaveena will be played. Then a descendant of Tallapaka Annamacharya will sing some songs. Aarti is offered to the Kantakabera with Dasavathara aarti plate i.e. each day the aarti plate will have one avatara of the Lord engraved in it. Simultaneously the puja articles will get ready for Brahmaradhana in the night. Another half tablet of chandana paste will also be kept there and 5 vattils (cups) will be filled with water from Akasaganga and other fragrant articles. Then the priest goes to the sanctum to put out all the lights. Previously the Brahma-akhanda lamp was kept lighted as that light lit by the creator while conservating the shrine. It is said that every day this lamp used to consume not less than 17 kg of clarified butter. But nowadays all the lights are put out in order to avoid fire hazard. The Bangaru Vakili is closed and bolted with archakas key followed by Jiyar's and administrator's keys. The temple authorities scale the door lock. On Varalakshmi Vrata day alone after Ekantaseva a few more rituals are observed. Later the archakas go to Potu (kitchen) and Thirumanjanam is done to Potu Thayar. She is adorned with a new vastra and naivedya is offered to her with preparations made out of Bengal gram. With that the curtain is drawn for the day on the daily worship rituals in the temple. Quite often the rush is so much in the temple town that even within 15 minutess of closing the doors and depositing the keys in the matha, steps for opening it for the next day's suprabhata seva start. The deity is not given the luxury and comfort of a long sleep. He is ever at the beck and call of his sincere devotees. 'Edukondalavada', 'Apadbandhava', 'Vaddikasulavada', 'Sankataharaka', 'Venkataramana', 'Narayana', 'Govinda' - the devotees cry & call for his grace.

This exercise is done everyday, either as an arjita seva (paid service with public allowed to view) or in ekanta (without any public presence) based on the pilgrim rush on that day. Each ticket allows entry for one person and 2 small laddus are awarded as prasadam along with the mixture of milk, almonds from the seva. The duration of the seva is 30 mins

The exact date of start of the seva is unknown while records exists of Krishnadeva Raya's wives - Chinnaji Devi and Tirumala Devi presenting golden cups to offer milk to Lord in 1513 A.D.[1] cost of this seva is 200rs/person

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