On April 4th 2009, Vairamudi Brahmostava will be celebrated at Melkote. This is an annual festival which gathers more than 2 lakh devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana. Thirunarayana Puram another name for Melkote adorns a festive grandeur on this day when the Lord adorns the legendary diamond studded crown, the Vaira Mudi.
It is believed that Lord Krishna Himself presented this crown to Cheluva Narayana. The Lord is taken in procession on the golden Garuda with His divine consorts Sridevi & Bhudevi, around the main streets of the city.
History of Vairamudi Brahmotsava
Vairamudi, the diamond crown was stolen from Sriman Narayana, when he was asleep at his abode in the Ksheera Sagara (Milky Ocean), by Virochana. Virochana was the kind of demons and the son of Bhakta Prahlada. Garuda was asked by the lord’s devotees to bring back the crown. Garuda went after Virochana to the neither world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown.
According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue gem on the crest while Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The gem turned into a stream, called the Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw Bala Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at Brindavana.
Garuda protected the Bala Krishna from the sun by placing his wings as the shade & placed the crown on his head. The local legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented Cheluva Narayana with this crown.
Lord Cheluva Narayana is the son of Acharya Ramanuja, who was at Melkote for 12 years. It is believed that Cheluva Narayana, was also worshipped by Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya.
Thirunarayan Puram now Melkote has the temple of Lord Narasimha which was consecrated by Prahlada. This has been a birth place for many Vaishanvite Acharyas. There is a research center for spiritual learning and Sanskrit Academy in the sylvan setting of Melkote.
Vairamudi Brahmotsava Celebrations
Large number of devotees throng Mandya district, on the previous night to witness the Procession of the Lord. The whole town of Mandya prepares for the event.
The preparation for the Brahmotsava starts well before 2 weeks. Actual celebrations take place for 13 days. Garudotsava is celebrated a day before the Brahmotsava at Melkote. The district administration of Mandhya makes rigorous arrangements for bringing the Vairamudi crown from Mandya treasury to the temple amidst stringent security measures.
It is believed that the crown must not be exposed to daylight. Hence it will be placed in a special casket. Under vigilance of Mandhya police it arrives at the boundaries of the town. It is from here taken upto the temple with honors in a special palanquin. It reaches the temple by evening.
The crown is placed in front of sanctum of Sri Acharya Ramanuja and the head priest places the Vaira Mudi and fits it to the statue of the Lord Cheluva Narayana. It is tradition that even the head priest should not look at the Vaira Mudi in naked eyes till it is fitted to the Lord. Hence the priest covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.
This takes place in the night and then the Lord and his consorts are traditionally decorated and procession continues to the dawn of the next day. The quiet town of Melukote comes to life with the grandeur and majesty of the procession. Rajamudi, another crown studded with precious stones is adorned on the Lord on the next day of the Brahmotsava.
During the 13 day celebration, Kalyanotsava, Nagavalli Mahotsava will be held in the Holy Kalyani, followed by Maharatotsava.
Vairamudi Brahmotsava is one of the most important festivals for Sri Vaishnavas. The others are the Garudotsava at Kancheepuram (Tamil Nadu), Kotharotsava at Srirangam and Brahmotsava at Tirupati(both the places are in Andhra Pradesh).
The Mandya District Administration makes elaborate arrangements for the annual festival, as this is one of the major religious events in South India. Special transport services are making in wake of the celebration to Mandya and Mysore by the Karnataka State Road Transport Corporation.
There are not many food outlets at Melukote, one should pack their food and water for this trip. The weather at this time of the year will be very hot. Do prepare for the huge crowd and commotion during the Vairamudi festival.