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Friday, October 31, 2008


Special Articles with regard to Sri Vari Annual Brahmtosavam - 2008

Nearly seven lakh pilgrims watch Garudotsavam at Tirumala

They were everywhere .The pilgrims squatted on almost every inch of space in the 26 sq km land on Tirumala. All the galleries around Srivari Temple and the Mada streets were swelling with devotees.

The bare foot devotees with shaved heads, carrying all their belongings, braved the hot sun and intermittent showers but stood to ground either in the galleries or on the streets and the get a glimpse of their beloved deity .

A record seven lakh, unprecedented in the history of Tirumala Brahmotsvams, participated in the auspicious Garudotsavam festival on Sunday. They eagerly waited till early hours as the Sri Venkateswara atop Garuda vahanam; their favorite deity went around the sacred Mada streets.

While it took over 24 hours for all pilgrims to come to Tirumala, it took over eight hours till the 8 AM for them to leave on their return journey. “ We had heart and ortho experts readily available at Tirumala but thanks to Venkateswara’s there were only two injuries though we treated 10,000 pilgrims at the first aid centers on Sunday “ said Dr. Sharada, the chief medical officer of TTD.

Hundreds of sick and indigent pilgrims were rushed to safely and hospitals as the crush of huge crowds sent many reeling with suffocation and breathing problems. Special efforts were made to keep the entire populous areas clean and disease free. The health department roped in over 500 volunteers to keep the entire area clean and washed up every one hour’ says the chief medical officer of TTD, Dr.P.Sharada

Security beefed up:

Nearly five thousand security personnel kept vigil against crime and stampede besides the terrorist threats on religious shrines. Their concern was also on guarding the deity wearing antique jewelry worth thousands of crores of rupees for the special occasion. Equal number of scouts and guides and the Srivari seva volunteers worked tirelessly throughout the day and night providing water and also directing the pilgrims to the Mada street galleries, the darshan Q’s and Annadanam and Laddu Prasadam complex’s.

Unparalled crowds

The most significant event Garudotsavam had attracted not only the pilgrims from far but also the domestic population of neighboring Tamil Nadu besides Tirupati and surroundings towns and villages. The crowds had swollen unprecedently this year as the Garudotsavam coincided with the Peritasi Shanivaram, an important festival for Govinda devotees as per Tamil calendar.

The chanting of Govinda, Govinda on their lips broke the sound barrier in the Tirumala, emboldened them to beat the police hurdles, the pain of walking miles from Tamil Nadu, trekking the 3661 steps and Nine kms of the last mile connectivity with their beloved deity. Special cranes, police patrols, ambulances and medical first teams spread around Tirumala and ghat roads from Foothills to take care of all contingencies.

“This year the religious frenzy of Peritasi Shanivaram and pilgrimage of Brahmotsavam combined to make the event more boisterous and pitched” says the Executive Officer Sri. K V Ramanachari.

The entire Tirumala was specially decked up for Garudotsavam with flowers, illuminations “I have visited several religious shrines during the annual melas. It is unbelievable that the Tirumala is so clean even after several lakhs visiting daily “ said Sumeet Bhattacharya, a balaji devotee from Kharagpur, Kolkatta.

Flowers and Vegetable galore

Flowers were donated in tones by devotees from all over South India-Chennai, Bangalore , Salem etc . “Every day we have been receiving two tones of flowers for use in temple , guest hosues and flower shows” says Srinivasulu, the Superintendent of Garden Department of TTD.

The Sri Venkateswara Nitya Annadanam scheme has also been receiving donation of vegetables every day . “ On Garudotsavam day where in we served free meals to two lakhy persons we received almost 2O tones of vegetables “ says the CPRO Sri.Rampulla Reddy .

The Public Relations department of the TTD had roped in nearly 75 volunteers to provide information to the public and also the media personnel for the entire Brahmotsavam period “ We have set up a media centre with a dozen computers , scanner and fax for use of media from all over the country “ said Ravi, the PRO and incharge of the media centre.

The district collector Ravichandra was the happiest man as the crucial event had passed through smoothly. “ We have plans to develop roads and pilgrims amenities with the creation of Greater Tirupati spread over 225 sq,. Kms including SriKalahasti and Trichanur etc make the pilgrims visit to Tirumala and Tirupati comfortable and memorable “ he says .

The Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel which set up special plasma Televisions all around Mada streets and the galleries near the Srivari Temple to keep the pilgrims informed of the ongoing rituals inside the temple and the arrangements made in Tirumala for the Brahmotsavam.

It is the mission of SVBC to promote popular interest in devotional and spiritual literature and programs and during the Brahmotsavam we achieve our goal to imbibe peoples interest in righteousness conduct “ , says N Srinivasulu, a spokesman of the SVBC.


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