Tirupati: Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, turned a sea of humanity with hundreds of thousands devotees from across the country descending on the holy hills to witness Garuda vahanam held on the fifth day of the annual Brahmotsavams on Saturday.
As this year Brahmotsavam is being held in public after a gap of two years due to Covid pandemic, the pilgrim rush was much more than anticipated by the temple administration which fully geared for the smooth conduct of the Garuda seva, the major event of the Brahmotsavams.
The huge gathering of the devotees who reached the galleries several hours before the start of the procession, to sit in a vintage point were patiently waiting in the galleries to have a glimpse of their most favourite Vahana, Garuda, carrying his beloved Lord Malayappa.
Malayappa with all his paraphernalia including the row of elephants, horses and bulls, seated majestically on the golden Garuda, the celestial carrier of Lord Vishnu feasted the eyes of the devotees who in ecstasy ceaselessly chanted Govinda Govinda reverberating the skyline of the holy Seshachalam hills.
The two dozen cultural troupes from various states, the sonorous chanting of Divya Prabhanda, the Dravida Veda, mantras from Scriptures and the traditional music in the procession added more to the spiritual ambience. TTD for the first time made arrangements to enable more devotees to have a hassle-free darshan of the Vahana seva.
The Vahanam was stopped and moved around at select points for the devotees to have an eyeful of darshan of Malayappa who dazzled with array of jewels, including Lakshmi Haram, Makara Kanti which were adorn the deity only on Garuda seva during Brahmotsavam.
It may noted here that Garuda, the celestial carrier of Lord Vishnu, occupies a prime position in Vaishnavite cult, giving more significance to Garuda seva observed in all the temples in 108 Vaishna Divya Kshtrems, holy places including Tirumala, important among them after Srinrangam, attracting devotees from various states.
TTD also for the first time arranged refilling of the area at East Mada streets, cancelled Harati during Garuda vahanam and also allowed devotees waiting outside the galleries, at select gates to have darshan, enabling 50,000 more to witness Garuda seva which resulted in more than three lakh devotees had darshan of Malayappa’s Garuda vahana seva this year.
With the foolproof arrangements provided by TTD administration along with police, the five-hour long Garuda seva passed off peacefully and successfully.