Brahmotsavam is an annual festival at Tirumala Lord Venkateswara
Temple celebrated for nine days in the months of September and October.
The celebration attracts pilgrims and tourists from all parts of India
and across the world.
The Brahmotsavam festival is one of the most important and auspicious
functions in Tirupati. Popular stories trace the origin of this
celebration to Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this
festival to Sri Balaji at Tirupati. Brahma worshiped Sri Balaji on the
banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati as a way to give thanks for the
Lord’s protection of mankind. Hence, this utsava bears his name as
“Brahmotsavam,” which means “Brahma’s Utsavam.” In Tirumalai,
Brahmotsavam is celebrated in the month of October.
The Brahmotsava is performed over a nine-day period in the Tamil
month of Purattasi. On the evening before the start of the first day,
the rite of “Ankurarpana” (sowing of the seeds to signify fertility,
prosperity and abundance) is performed along with a festival for Sri
Vishvaksena (the leader of Narayana’s retinue who removes obstacles and
protects worship). On the first day, the main activity is the
“Dhvajarohana,” the hoisting of the Garuda flag at the Dhvajastambham.
This signifies the commencement of the Brahmotsava. It is believed that
Garuda goes to Devalokam and invites the Devas to attend the function.
During the days of the festival, the religious activities include daily
homas and processions for the utsava murti on different vahanas (chariots)
that can be seen in the temple. Every evening, the utsava vigrahas are
decorated with different alankarams. The concluding day is the Janma
Nakshatra (birth star) of Sri Balaji, which is celebrated in a grand way
with Avabhritha Utsava (special abhishekams for the utsava murti). In
Tirupati, the Sudarsana Chakra is bathed in the Pushkarini and all the
devotees bathe afterwards. In Aurora, a priest takes the Sudarsana
Chakra on his head and takes a holy bath near the Dhvajastambham.
Afterwards, the Chakra is placed on a high platform, so the devotees can
walk under it and be blessed with the water dripping down from the
Sudarsana. The celebration officially concludes with “Dhvajavarohanam,”
the lowering of the Garuda flag. The priests pay respects to Gods and
Sages with the chanting of Vedic mantras and see them off on their
return to the Devaloka.
The Brahmotsavam celebration provides a unique opportunity for all
devotees to participate in the festivities and utsavas and experience
the “Vaikuntha Anubhava” (heavenly enjoyment and feeling) and receive
the blessings of Sri Venkateswara Swami. Every year, millions of
devotees witness the processions,celebrations during the annual
Brahmotsavams of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumalai. Every day of
Brahmotsavam will be a feast for the eyes of the devotees who gather
there. On the first day the Garudadhwaja (flag with the emblem of a
black garuda) is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham. A
festive procession of Lord Venkateswara on the Pedda Seshavahana
proceeds around the four streets of the main temple for two hours until
midnight.Ankurarpana and Senadhipati Utsavam are celebrated on the day
preceding the first day of Brahmotsavam.
Observations during brahmotsavas: As incredibly as the swan which
separates the water content from milk, the reigning deity of the seven
hills, too, on Hamsavahan, relegates the paap and blesses the bhakta
based on his punya. As the powerful snake transforms itself as a vehicle
for the Lord during the Seshavahan and Chota Seshavahan in the
Brahmotsavam celebrations, the essence of the Sharanagati Tatva explains
the moral behind this utsav. The initial prayers offered at the
Dwajarohan utsav and Garudotsav is to pray for an unscathed living with
high moral values, while Garuda, requested by the Lord himself to stay
in the hills, guards the skies from anything untoward coming by.
Dwajaarohanam is a flag-hoisting festival that is held on the first
day by hoisting a flag (Garudadhwaja) with a picture of Garuda (vehicle
of Lord Maha Vishnu) on the top of the Dwajah Sthambham in front of the
sanctum santorum. It is said to be a symbolic significance of formal
invitation to all the deities to attend the Brahmotsavam festival. After
Dwajarohanam, The Chief Minister, Govt. of Andhra Pradesh symbolically
offers new silk clothes to the Lord as a mark of obeisance and thanks
giving to the Lord of the Universe in a procession. This was earlier
done on 5th day (Garuda Vahana) but due to heavy rush of devotees and
for CM security reasons, it has been changed to Dwajarohanam day
Pedda Sesha Vahanam
After the Dwajaarohanam the Lord is taken out in a procession in the
evening on Aadi Sesha the thousand headed Chief Serpent God as his
vehicle. Aadisesha is the seat on which Lord SriManNarayana rests in his
abode Sri Vaikunta. Tirumala hills the abode of Lord Venkateswara is
said to be the manifestation of Lord Aadisesha. Pedda Aadisesha vahanam
will be seven headed.
Chinna Sesha Vahanam
On the second day morning the Lord is taken out in a procession on
Vaasuki (Serpent God) as his vehicle. In Bhagavath Geetha Lord Sri
Krishna says He is Vaasuki among the serpents. Chinna Sesha Vahanam will
be five headed.
On the second day evening the Lord is again taken out in a procession
on Hamsa (Swan) as his vehicle. Hamsa or swan means ‘pure’. Hamsa is
believed to have a high intellectual capability and can distinguish good
On the third day morning the Lord is taken out in a procession on
Lion symbol as his vehicle. Lion is a symbol of royalty and power. Lord
assumed the form of half man and half lion in his Narasimha Avathara.
Lord Sri Krishna says in Bhagavath Geetha that he is the Lion among the
On the evening of the third day, the Lord is again taken out in
procession along with his concerts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in a palanquin
decorated with a canopy of pearls. Pearl is said to be a symbol of
purity and royalty.
Kalpa Vruksha Vahanam
On the fourth day of the festival the Lord is taken out in procession
in the morning on Kalpa Vruksha as his vehicle signifying that he is
the giver of boons to his devotees and fulfills their wishes.
Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam
On the fourth day evening the Lord is again taken out in procession
on a vehicle called as Sarva Bhoopala Vahanam signifying that He is the
Lord of Lords.
On the fifth day morning the Lord is taken out in procession
decorated in the attire of Mohini Avatharam (Ksheera Sagara Madhanam)
the one who has distributed the Divine Nectar.
On the fifth day evening the Lord Sri Venkateswara is taken out in
procession specially decorated, with his main devotee and chief vehicle
Garuda (Garukmantha) the king of birds as his vehicle. It is a unique
occasion when thousands gather together and would like to witness the
procession. It is believed and said that it is highly meritorious and
mukthi pradham to have darshan of the Lord seated on Garuda
On the sixth day morning the Lord is taken out in procession with
Lord Hanuman as his vehicle. Hanuman was the personification of the most
trusted and self less service to the Lord in his avathara as Sri Rama
in Treta Yuga. Undoubtedly Lord Hanuman was the greatest devotee of Lord
Rathotsavam / Gaja Vahanam
On the sixth day evening the Lord is taken out in procession on
Elephant (Gaja) or Airavatham as his vehicle. We find in Sri
Madbhagavatham (Gajendra Moksham) Lord instantly coming to the rescue of
Gajendra and get him relieved from the clutches of the Crocodile.
Surya Prabha Vahanam
On the seventh day morning the Lord Venkateswara is taken out in
procession with Sun God driving the Chariot. Purusha Sooktha describes
Sun as born from the eyes of Lord SrimanNarayana (Chaksho! Suryo
Ajayathah!). Sun is said to be an incarnation of Lord Maha Vishnu (Surya
Chandra Prabha Vahanam
On the seventh day evening the Lord is again taken out in procession
with Moon as symbol of his vehicle. Purusha Sooktha describes Moon as
"Chandrama Manaso Jaathaha" (Moon is born from the mind Lord Maha
Vishnu). Moon is the commander of mind and is a symbol of cool and
pleasantness. Both these rituals are symbolic significance that He is
the cause for day and night.
On the penultimate day (eighth day) morning the Lord Venkateswara is
taken out in procession along with his concerts seated on a fully
decorated Chariot pulled by the devotees with the chanting of Govinda
Nama Smarana. Tirumala will be flooded with devotes to witness this
occasion. It is believed and said that those who witness the Lord seated
on the Chariot during Rathostavam will not be reborn. Idols of Daruka
the charioteer of Lord Sri Krishna and four horses are placed before the
Lord on the chariot.
On the eighth day evening the Lord is again taken out in procession
with Aswa (Horse) as his vehicle symbolizing the forthcoming Kalki
Avathara. Lord Venkateswara used to ride on a horse during hunting of
wild animals. Lord assumed the form of Horse head during his avathara as
On the ninth day morning, last day of the Brahmostavam, special
abhishekam (Avabhrutha Snanam) is held for utsava moorthy of Lord
Venkateswara and his concerts Sri Devi and Bhoo Devi in the complex of
Lord Varaha Swamy temple on the banks of Swamy Pushkarini. Later, the
Sudarshana Chakra (Disc weapon of the Lord) is immersed in the waters of
Swamy Pushkarini. We find large number of devotes simultaneously taking
a dip in the Pushkarini waters at that time. It is believed and said
that one will get absolved from sins by taking a dip in Swamy Pushkarini
simultaneously along with the Sudarshana Chakra on this day.
On the ninth day evening the Garuda flag will be lowered as a mark of
completion of the Brahmostavam.