Vasantothsavam - Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru
Vasantothsavam of Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru is an annual festival celebrated with great festive zeal and strict agreement with Agama principles in the Tiruchanur temple.
It is a three-day event celebrated in the month of Vaisakha particularly to end with the Full Moon Day (Purnima Day) of Vaisakha month in the lunar calendar.
At the end of the three day festival on the Purnima day, Goddess Padmavathi is taken around the Tiruchanur on the holy streets around the temple in a Golden Chariot while all the people of village and teams of devotees from distant places witness the event with utmost devotion.
VASANTA - SEASON OF SPRING ; UTSAVA - FESTIVAL.
So Vasantothsavam means the Festival of Spring. In the lunar calendar the first two months CHAITRA and VAISAKHA together are called VASANTA Season and according to Solar calendar while the Sun is in Aries or Mesha sign of the zodiac.
During the season one can see the freshness of breezes, the twitters of birds, the hummings of honey bees, the green shades of the trees, plants and creepers and the beautiful hues of thousands of species of flowers attract all the beings and fill a feel of vigour and happiness in the entire world. Hence this season is a season of festivity to all.
Worshipping the Gods and Goddesses during this season will result in the peace and pleasures and fulfilment of all desired objects of all the devotees. Hence in every temple of traditional systems, the Vasantothsavam is performed.
Particularly in the Vaishnava Tradition Vasantothsavam has a lot of significance. As in all the popular Vaishnava temples, it is very grandly celebrated as an annual event in the Tiruchanur temple also.
The three-day Salakatla Vasantothsavam in the famous shrine of Goddess Padmavathi Devi is performed with a great feel of devotion by the Archaka swamis and devotes in Tiruchanur.
After early morning rituals to the Goddess Padmavathi in the main temple, the Utsava Vigraha of Sri Padmavathi Ammavaru is brought to the adjacent Friday Garden of Ammavaru temple.
The processional deity of Goddess was gracefully seated on a special platform and Snapana Tirumanjanam has been performed with aromatic in the prescribed hours in Friday Gardens amidst the chanting of Vedic hymns by temple priests and the Mangala Vadyams or the auspicious instruments are played by the musicians.
Snapana Tirumanjana (Sacred Bath) is the main and important ritual of this festival.
During the festival, The Sun enters into Zodiac sign Aries, shines brightly which causes diseases to all living creatures due to overheating.
It is strongly believed that by performing the special bath with aromatic ingredients to “Universal Mother” Goddess Padmavathi, She will shower Her benign blessings on humanity and save the world creatures from all seasonal diseases caused due to high temperatures.
Vasantothsavam hence is described as “Soothing festival from Scorching Heat”.
The Snapana Tirumanjana is specially offered during Vasantotsava to give a soothing feel and freshness to the deities who will have a hectic schedule of sevas throughout the year. Snapana Tirumanjana is mainly the process of Holy Bathing to Padmavathi Ammavaru.
The fete began with Kalasa Sthapana, followed by Kalasaradhana, Vishvaksena Puja, then followed Snapanam Tirumanjanam with various ingredients including milk, honey, coconut, sandal and turmeric amidst Chaturveda Parayanam. This involves a series of activities such as brushing, bathing, dressing etc. As in our daily life.
To detail the events further, after taking permission from Goddess, Viswaksena Aradhana, Punyahavachanam are performed. Ghrita, Arghya, Padya, Achamaniya, are also rendered. Later the celestial bath with Ksheera (milk), Dadhi (curd), Madhu (honey), Narikelam (coconuts), Haritrodakam (turmeric) and Gandhdakam (sandal paste) is being offered. This is known as Panchamta Snanam.
After the Panchamrta Snana the Sudhodaka snana with camphor, sandal paste and other fragrant items is offered. After the Snapana Tirumanjanam the holy waters of Abhisheka are collected in a vessel and sprinkled on the heads of all the priests, officers and devotees who participate in this event.
It is believed that the holy waters thus sprinkled on the heads will free the Jivas from the snares of worldly attachments and removes all obstacles in human life. It bestows upon all the devotees for the fulfilment of all worldly desires too.
The first and foremost upacharam happens to be
- Dantadhavanam (brushing the teeth),
- Jihwa Nirlekhana (tongue cleaning),
- Gandusha (mouth washing),
- Mukha Prakshalana (cleaning the face),
- Plota vastra Samarpana (cleaning with towel), and
- finally offered Abhyangana Snanam (Bathing besmearing all holy dravyams) with Ushnodakam (head bath with warm water).
The entire process will be performed while the vedic pundits are chanting Taittiriya Upanishad, Purusha Suktam, Sri Prasna Samhita. The auspicious instruments are sounded time to time. The musicians sing Annamayya Kirtans in praise of the Goddess. In the procession on Swarna ratha all the devotees participate and particularly the women devotees pull the Golden Chariot during this festival aspiring for their Saubhagya in their lives.
During this festival arjitha sevas including Kalyanotsavam, Unjal Seva are cancelled on these three days.
Do visit to this temple on these three days and have the benign blessings of Ammavaru.