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Melukote Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple Festivals Details

Sri Vairamudi Brahmotsava

The traditional lore and the Puranic account give us an elaborate narration of ‘Vairamudi’ crown’s glory. The son of ‘Prahlada’, named ‘Virochana’ happened to be present at the Supreme abode of ‘Srimannarayana’. (This abode attainable through unmotivated service of the Lord) Spiteful ‘Virochana’ took away the crown of Supreme Lord who was having his Yogic rest and he descended to nether world. Divine eagle of the Supreme Lord, Garuda, witnessing this sudden occurrence, chased ‘Virochana’, fought him to win back the priceless head ornament of the Lord.

On his return flight, Garuda happened to observe the Supreme Lord’s incarnation of Sri Krishna playing cheerfully the flute amid cow-herd in ‘Brindavana’. Then the Marvelous crown was offered to Lord Sri Krishna. The Lord instead adorned the diamond studded crown on the head of his adorable deity ‘Sri Cheluvanarayana’. It was a great wonder that the crown perfectly fitted with head of the Supreme Deity. Vainateya (Garuda) having seen this magnificent sight, became so ecstatic that he carried the Deity on his shoulders in great joy. He roamed about and eventually ended up at “Narayanadri”. Even today ‘Vairamudi’ procession has Garuda carrying Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana on his shoulders. This festivity with its rich heritage has been celebrated in a grand way at the sacred place of ‘Melukote’. There are different epithets attached to this holy town at different ages. ‘Narayanadri’ ‘Yadavadri’ ‘Yadugiri’ ‘Yadushaila’ ‘Tirunarayanapura’ and ‘Melokte’ are some of its names.

‘Vairamudi Brahmotsava’ is traditionally an annual event of Melkote, celebrated for 10 days. On the fourth day of the event Coronation of ‘Vairamudi-kirita’ for Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana takes place. This ten day festivity usually occurs in ‘Meena maasa’ corresponding to March-April months.

The Ten-day grand festival ‘Brahmotsava’, on the tenth day has a ritual called “Avabhritha” usually observed at the conclusion of great sacrifices. It corresponds to “Avabhritha Snana” or great sanctification. “Avabhritha Snana” is conducted on the day having ‘Hasta nakshatra’ which is the Nakshatra of Lord Sri Tirunarayana Swamy (Sri Narayana Swamy Jayanti) ‘Brahmotsava’ will commence nine days prior to ‘Avabhritha’. During the festival, Homa, Havana, Vedic chanting, as well as Divyaprabandha Parayana (rendition), are all conducted.

The loveliness of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana in his ‘Vairamudi procession is a sight to behold. The glory, magnificence of the procession attracts people from all walks of life. People throng this place to witness grandeur of festivity from different corners of the country. In days of yore, this invaluable crown was in the custody of Mysore Palace and it was usually brought to Melukote with all royal honors during the event. In course of time the custody of ‘Vairamudi’, ‘Rajamudi’ ‘Krishnaraja Mudi’ got shifted to Mandya District Treasury. Presently the safeguard of all these invaluable ornaments lies with district treasury Mandya.

On the day of ‘Vairamudi Utsava,’ ‘Vairamudi’, ‘Rajamudi’ along with related jewelry and ornaments, will be brought to Melukote. There will be short stoppages for the vehicle carrying the treasure enroute to Melukote to receive honor and worship from villagers. At the entry of Melkote town ‘Vairamudi’ and ‘Rajamudi’ will be kept in a Golden palanquin and carried to the temple with due honors, which has been the tradition all these years.

The Vairamudi procession of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana usually commences at 9.00 PM in the evening, and will continue till 3.00 AM. The next morning, the deity of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana will be adorned with ‘Rajamudi’ for next seven days.

“Rajamudi” goes back to Mandya district treasury after the festival. During Rama incarnation of Lord Sri Narayana, the obstinacy of Kaikeyi not only halted Rama’s coronation but also made him go to woods. Lakshmana, who was an incarnate of the divine serpent Adishesha, followed Rama all the way. In Kaliyuga, Acharya Ramanuja, an incarnate of Lakshmana, having taken his divine descent, performed coronation for Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana, who is also called “Ramapriya” under ‘Pushya nakshatra’ in the month of ‘Meena’. ‘Ramapriya’ is one of the epithets of lord Sri Cheluvanarayana as this deity received worship from Sri Rama himself.

As part of ‘Vairamudi Brahmotsava’ other Utsavas like Kalyanotsava, Prahlaadaparipaalana,Rathotsava (Car Festival) Gajendramoksha, Teppotsava (Boat Festival) are conducted for Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana.

In order to facilitate the visiting devotees, the district administration, takes care of providing drinking water, hospital facility, police security and public transport.

This holy town is situated on small table land located in Nagamangala-Mysore route, and it is 8 Kms from Jakkanahalli, one of the stops in the said route. It is 35 Kms away from Mandya, from Mysore it is 51 Kms, 29 Kms from Nagamangala and 24 KMs from K.R. Pet taluk. It is well connected to these places by public transport.


The ‘Utsava’ starts from the eleventh day (Ekadashi) in Chaitra Month (May). Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayanaswamy’ is worshipped with ‘Vasanta’ (Sacred turmeric Water) for first two days. The actual beginning of ‘Utsava’ is observed through offering of spouted seeds (Ankurarpana), the next day i.e. third day. On the third day the two divine consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi are carried in two palanquins individually, with the palanquins covered with cloth. These two palanquins intercept the procession of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana, coming from palace garden. (Aramane Thota)

On full moon day, Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana with his two divine consorts Sridevi, Bhudevi adorned in white raiment, is carried to palace garden, there he is worshipped with ‘Vasanta’.

Another procession for the Lord is conducted on the same night called ‘Kodai Tirunal’. Prior to this, the procession of the Lord is carried to shrine of ‘Sri Nammalvar’.


This Utsava is celebrated from Vrishabha bahula Shravana (in the months of May-June) up to Revati or Ashvini Nakshatra. During this Utsava, Abhisheka will be performed for Lord Sri Chaluvanarayana in the noon everyday. Lord gets beautifully decorated and ornamented. Divyaprabandham is rendered. Songs of lullaby is also sung for the Lord, reclining on the mat made of young sprouts. The deity is made to recline in the sanctified Mantapa, This Utsava will be held for seven days at the Shrine of Sri Ramanujacharya in the temple. ‘Vahana’ procession will take place for the Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana, followed by Padiyetta (procession of the deity climbing up the steps in a particular style with song recital from Sri Areyar swamy).

Prathama Ekadashi

A five-day swing festival is celebrated for the Lord in the night. This Utsava starts from first Ekadashi (eleventh day) in the month of Ashadha(July-August). This is known as ‘Dodda uyyale utsava’ held at ‘Vahanamantapa’.

Sri Krishna Jayanathi: (Shravana maasa Rohini Nakshatra)
The birth of Krishna is celebrated with great devotion and fervor. This event usually comes in the month of August or September.

‘Abhisheka’ will be conducted for Lord Sri Krishna at night. Special worship is offered to Lord Sri Krishna, ‘Divyaprabandha-parayana’ is rendered that concludes with ‘shattrumurai’ (recitation of final songs of a given composition). A procession for Lord Sri Chaluvanarayana will take place to visit the shrine of Lord Sri Krishna.


This ‘Utsava’ is a celebration in the month of Ashadha (Aug) that starts under Mrugashira nakshatra and concludes with Pubba Nakshatra. ‘Divyaprabandha’ recital (Tamil Hymns) takes place during day and night at the shrine of goddess ‘Yadugiri’. Daily procession of ‘Yadugiri-tayar’ (Ammanvaru) in the Palanquin will be held in the evenings. Ammanavaru gets decorated with garlands in the evening worship. ‘Mangalarati’ will be performed to the Supreme goddess. (Mangalarati is a way of showing lighted lamps before the deity). On the day of Vardhanti goddess ‘Yadugiri or Kalyana tayar’ (Mother) will be installed on ‘Adishesha vahana’ and a procession will take place. It is followed by recital of Divyaprabandham (Tamil hymns of Alwars) before the deity. ‘Abhisheka’ is conducted for the Goddess. ‘Ammanavaru’ with Lord Sri Cheluvaraya is carried in golden palanquin in the night. Deities are installed at the shrine of ‘Ammanavaru’ which is called ‘Sherti Sevai’( Deities include ‘Sridevi’ and ‘Bhudevi’, Lord ‘Sri cheluvaraya’ ‘Sri Ramanujacharya’ ‘Sri Nammalavar’ and ‘Tirumangai Alwar). ‘Shaattumurai’ rendition of ‘Nammalvar’s ‘Tiruvaymozhi’ (composition of 1000 songs) and singing of ‘Taalaat’ (lullaby) are conducted. Deities remain installed there till next evening. Twelve concluding sessions of ‘Divyaprabandha’ recital will be held during the day. There-after Lord ‘Sri Cheluvanarayana’ returns to his original shrine.


‘Pavitrotsava’ is observed in the month of ‘Bhadrapada’ (September) for seven days commencing from eleventh day (Ekadashi) of lunar fortnight. The Lord is decorated with ‘Pavitra’ (Sacred wreath made of silken threads). ‘Vahana’ procession for Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ will be conducted. (‘Vahana’ is a vehicle for the lord in the shapes of divine eagle, serpent, swan, elephant, horse etc.) Palanquin procession of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvanarayana’ in the nights stop at the shrine of Sri Ramanuja and special worship will be offered there. Worship at Yagashala (altar for sacrificial fire adjacent to ‘Sri Ramanuja’ shrine) is observed.

At ‘Navaranga-mantapa’ of the Lord, near the pillar of ‘Raja Wodeyar’ a great post will be erected and offered worship during these seven days. Lord Srimannayarana is invoked (in Bimba) and a circular diagram is drawn, surrounding the ‘Mandala’, four gateways are established in order to represent symbolically four Vedas namely Rigveda, Yajurveda, Samaveda and Atharvaveda. Invoking pertinent deities therein, special worship will be conducted, and on the concluding day, ‘Visarjana’(removal of the arrangement) takes place. Vedic chanting is rendered for all seven days. This ‘Utsava’ is observed to expiate all ‘Doshas’ (shortcomings) that might have crept in during observances of rituals, festivities throughout the year.

Navarathri Utsava

It is a well known festival celebrated in the month of Ashwayuja (Oct-Nov) starting from ‘Prathama’ (first day in lunar fortnight) to ‘Dashami’ (Tenth day). Ammanavaru or ‘Yadugiri tayar’ will be carried in a palanquin, followed by a procession of the deity on ‘Sheshavahana’ (Divine Serpent Vehicle). ‘Divyaprabandha Shaattumurai’ will be rendered (reciting final songs from a given composition of Tamil hymns of Tamil saints called ‘Alwars’) at the shrine of ‘Sri Vedantadeshika’ “Navarathri Mantapa” (Sri Kanthirava Narasaraja wodeyar Mantapa). Thereafter, the deity is carried back to the main temple. During the festival in the evening worship, “Jalige” (a small silken bag containing olden silver coins denoting wealth) will be kept at the holy feet of Lord ‘Sri Thirunarayana, followed by at the feet of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana and at the feet of Supreme goddess “Ammanavaru” (Yadugiri). ‘Tirtha’ and ‘Prasada’ will be distributed. ‘Ayudhapuja’ is celebrated with great fervor on the ninth day popularly known as “Mahanavami”. The concluding day, the tenth day of the festival known as ‘Vijaya Dashami’ will be exuberantly conducted.

The processional deity Lord Sri Cheluvaraya will be given a decoration of royal prince. The deity is installed on a horse (Kudure-vahana) for a town ride. On the deity’s return from ‘Parvate- mantapa’ (a pillared pavilion at the outskirts of ‘Melkote’ town), Sri Lord Sri Cheluvaraya meets His divine consort ‘Ammanavaru’ on her Sheshavahana at Hebbagilu (another entry gate in the town). Both the supreme deities are carried facing each other on the main thoroughfare of the town. ‘Puranotsava’ is conducted at the shrine of ‘Ammanavaru’ for all ten days. ‘Puranotsava’ is the rendering of mythological account “Yadugiri Mahatmya” (Melkote) from ‘Naradiya Purana”.

The final session of reading of ‘Yadugiri Mahtmya’ will be held at the shrine of ‘Ammanavaru’, followed by procession of Lord Sri Cheluvaraya on ‘Sheshavahana’.

Krittikotsava (Kartikadipa)

This ‘Utsava’ is celebrated in the month of Kartika (Nov) on full moon day. Earthen Light lamps are decoratively arranged at ‘Yaagashaala’ (a place adjacent to shrine of ‘Sri Ramanujacharya’, wherein fire rituals are performed in the fire-pit, I,e ‘Yagakunda’).

The entire temple illumined with lighted earthen lamps offers an esthetic ambience. ‘Ghatarati’ with a wick anointed with ghee is held and shown before Lord Sri Tiruvanayana Swamy, Lord Sri Cheluvaraya and ‘Sri Ammanavaru’ accompanied with Vedic chanting. A procession takes place at inner (Prakaras) corridors of the temple. After offering of worship at four points (Chatussthaana- ‘Brindavana mantapa,’ Sri ‘Sudarshana alwar sannidhi’, ‘Taayaar sannnidhi’ (Ammanavaru) and ‘Sri Ramanujcharya sannidhi’ ) a large lighted lamp will be installed at the top of ‘Garuda-gamba’ (A mono pillar situated in front of the temple). A bundle of cloth smeared with oil is burnt and making rounds with it before the Lord is called ‘Karagu’, this is said to take away all ‘Drishti’ fallen on the Lord. This procedure is followed by procession of Lord Sri Cheuvaraya in his ‘Mantapavahana’. Oil anointment for the Lord will be symbolically observed. There will not be any outside procession for Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ till the commencement ‘Kotharotsava’.

Kaishika Dvadashi

On ‘Kaishika Dvadashi’ (Twelfth day in the bright fortnight), early in the morning, Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ gets decorated in his ten incarnations and Mangalarti (Lamp light shown before the deity) will be offered at this juncture. A special honor is bestowed upon ‘Sri Bhattar’ on this occasion and ‘Kaishika Purana’ will be read.

Uttana Dvadashi: (Kartika Shuddha Dvadashi)
On this occasion, Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ will be taken on a procession in ‘Pushpa Bindavana’ to ‘Brindavana Mantapa,’ and special worship is offered to ‘Sri Tulasi’.

Dhanurmasa: Dhanur-sankramana

‘Dhanurmasa’ starts from 16th December. It is a holy month in Hindu calendar. Its significance is notable in all Hindu temples. According to the lore, Tamil saint and devotee-incarnate of Lord Sri Krishna, namely ‘Sri Andal or Godadevi’ observed a vow in the month of “Margali” (Dec- Jan).

Early morning worship is offered to Lord ‘Tirunarayana’, Lord Sri Cheluvaraya and to other deities, recital of ‘Tiruppavai’ (a composition of ‘Sri Andal’ containing 30 verses in Tamil), ‘Gadyatraya’ (Triad of prose-poetry of Sri Ramanuja in Sanskrit), are conducted in morning. In the nights ‘Nalayira Divyaprabandha-Parayana’ rendition will take place. (Nalayira- Divyaprabandha- 4000 devotional songs of Tamil saints called Alwars)

On the fifth day of ‘Dhanurmaasa’ (December 19 or 20), there is a celebration called “Nurutada utsava”, on this special occasion, ‘Abhisheka’ is conducted for divine consorts ‘Sridevi’ and ‘Bhudevi’.

The Lord is offered with a sweet delicacy called “Sakkare Pongal” in silver pots.

Mukkoti Dvadashi

‘Mukkoti Dvadashi’ (twelfth day of this month) will be celebrated traditionally, wherein lord ‘Sri Triunarayana Swamy’ is decorated with golden armor. This Program will take place once in a year. Before this day, the eleventh day popular as ‘Vaikuntha Ekadashi’ is celebrated with devotion, special worships are performed.

Kotharotsava (Tiruvaymozhi and Adhyayana Mahotsava)

In order to celebrate significance of “Tiruvaymozhi” (a composition of high poetic value of 1000 songs) of saint Nammalvar, this ‘Utsava’ is conducted. Traditionally the start of this ‘Utsava’ coincides with 3rd or 4th of January. The actual program of processions for deities begin from 4th of January. Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ will be taken in a procession to ‘Sri Vedantadeshika’ shrine, near by the main temple. Deities of “Alwars” twelve in numbers are carried to ‘Sri Vedantadeshika’ shrine to be installed at the high pillared pavilion (Mantapa) to the front of Shrine’s sanctum sanctorum. Worship is offered to all deities there.

Next program of this ‘Utsava’ begins with “Vedavinnappam” (a command given out to start Vedic chanting). In the precincts of outer pillared pavilion of ‘Vedanta Deshika’ shrine, Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’s’ procession will take place. The deity is offered special worshipful service (Tiruvaradhana) at four corners of the said pavilion. Facing southern direction, assistant priests carry sacred sandals of the Lord on their head.

Now a graceful call issues forth for deities ‘Vishwaksena’, ‘Nammalvar’ and ‘Tirumangai-alwar’, and these are brought before the Lord, deities are honored with head bands called “Parivattam”, and garlands. And they are given the divinely touch of sacred sandals of the Lord.

The lord proceeds further facing eastern direction, here the three foremost of Alwars ‘Poigai’, ‘Peyar’ and ‘Pudattar’ will receive honor due for them as before. Next will be the turn of ‘Tirumalisaippiran’, ‘Bhattarapiran’ (Periyalwar) to receive their honors. Lord now proceeds towards north wherein ‘Kulashekhara alwar’ (a king by birth) and ‘Tondaradippudi’ (a brahmin by birth) are given their honor in the same manner. The next turn will be honors for ‘Tiruppanan’ ( a harijana) and ‘Madhurakavi’ (a saint) followed by honors given to ‘Tirukkacchi Nambi’ and ‘Nathamuni’. The procession of Lord ‘Sri cheluvarya’ will now move to eastern direction, there great Sri Ramanujacharya and his bosom disciple ‘Sri Kurattalvar’ will receive their honors. Following this, a graceful command will be issued to ‘Srivaishnava’ gathering over there to start rendering a song from the composition of ‘Nammalvar”. This program is followed by rendition of poem by Sri Areyar Swamy (who sings before the deity on given occasions, in melodious ragas, with a long decorated cap on his head, a small pair of cymbals in his hand). Offering of ‘Naivedya’ (a pure delicacy prepared for god) followed by distribution of ‘Thirtha’ (fragment holy water) and ‘Prasada’ (remnant food offered to god) among the devotees will conclude the program at this shrine.

Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ will return to temple in a procession with a special gesture of ascending steps inside the temple (Padiyetta). Special poojas (worship) are performed at night, where deities of ‘Alwars’ (Saints) and Acharyas(Traditional Preceptors) will be seated by the side of Lord Sri Cheluvaraya Swamy. This is actual concept of the eternally blissful abode of Srimannaryana, i.e., Vaikuntha. It is an aesthetically moving situation for the devoted.

The fourth day of ‘Utsava’ in the menu has its own significance. The greatest of saints ‘Nammalvar has devoted a song to the deity of ‘Tirunarayanapuram’ (Melukote) ‘Sri Tirunarayana swamy’ with a beginning word ‘Orunayagam’ means “the sole lord of entire cosmos”, On this occasion this song will be rendered with great devotion by ‘Goshti’ (gathering of those who render the songs in great melody) and the purport of which will be explained by ‘Sri Areyar Swamy’.

Similar programs will continue to take place at the temple for all ten days of this ‘Utsava’. The tenth day will see a program known as “Paramapada Utsava” observed at night. “Paramapada” means the highest abode; it is the abode of the Supreme Lord ‘Srimannarayana’. ‘Srivaishnava’ traditional accounts reverentially proclaim that the holy feet of the Supreme Being ‘Srimannaryana’ is the only abode to be sought and pursued by his devotees.

On this pious occasion, Lord ‘Sri Cheluvarayaswamy’ will be seated in “Navaranga Mantapa” and ‘Alwars’ and ‘Acharyas’ are seated on both sides of the Lord. As the traditional account of ‘Srivaishnavism’ says ‘Nammalvar’ was the only saint who visited the highest abode of Lord with his earthly body and later returned to this world’. This celebration is an enactment of that wonderful episode. Deity of ‘Nammalvar’ with all due honors (with silver umbrella) will be carried by ‘Paricharakas’ to the holy feet of Lord Sri Cheluvanarayana swamy. The whole atmosphere will be filled with ‘Divyaprabandha’ recital rendered with great devotion.


‘Sankranti’ traditionally called as ‘Uttarayana Punyakala’ (auspicious time of Sun’s journey northwards) is celebrated at the temple. ‘Abhisheka’ (sacred ablution) will be conducted for Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya Swamy’, ‘Ammanavaru’ (Yadugiri Tayar) and for ‘Alwars’ and ‘Acharyas’ in the morning. In the evening floral service is offered in front of the house of ‘Yatiraja dasa’ (belonged to fourth swamya of sthanika, one among “Aimbuttiruvar”. Swamya Sthanika, there are four heads who look after internal temple affairs; “Aimbattiruvar” means “52 people” who were said to have followed ‘Sri Ramanujacharya’ and they were given various responsibilities in the institution of temple).

The procession of lord will move to ‘Sankrati Mantapa’ i.e., ‘Sri Vedanta Deshika’s shrine. Joisaru (temple astrologer) will read out “Sankranti Phala” (regarding forthcoming effects brought about by ‘Sankranti’ for the year ahead). On its way back to temple, procession of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya Swamy’ shortly stops at ‘Gandamale Mantapa’ to receive floral service. (Gandamale house belongs to fourth head ‘swamya’). The procession will move in to temple, the deity receives special worship. ‘Sri Areyar Swamy’ will render description of spring season (Vasanta) in ‘Vasanta Raga’ before the deity of Lord ‘Tirunarayana.’. ‘Naivedya’ (Nivedana) is offered to the deity sponsored by fourth head of sthanikas.

‘Sri Areyar swamy’ receives his honor followed by honor for all the four heads of ‘sthanikas’. The day’s program concludes with ‘Mahamangalarti’ for the Lord and other routine rituals.

Angamani or Kanoo or Tavarumane (Bride’s home) Utsava

On this occasion, two divine consorts ‘Sridevi’ and ‘Bhudevi’ (Ubhayanacchiyar) will get ‘Abhisheka’, performed by first sthanika. A procession of consort – duet will reach sacred ‘Kalyani’ tank, a special worship is offered to ‘Sri Kalyani’, followed by ‘Alankara’ ‘Tiruvaradhana’.

All four heads of ‘Sthanikas’ receive honor. First swamya gets ‘Arulppadu’ (graceful command from the Lord). Procession will return to temple. The divine consort-duet ‘Sridevi’ and ‘Bhudevi’ visit their mother’s house, a procession enacting the episode will take place at night. Two divine consorts are decorated in traditional ‘Srivaishnava’ attire, in ‘Madisharu’ (a particular way of wearing a sari by ‘Srivaishnva’ ladies) ‘Talemudi’ (setting plait of hair in a particular style). The procession of divine consort-duet would visit ‘Angamani Mantapa’ (Sajje hatti) which is located diagonally opposite to the main temple.

At ‘Angamani Mantapa’, two divine consorts will receive gifts of fruits, vegetables and other substances offered by honorable couple belonging to first sthanika family (Tiruvanantapuradavaru). Similar offering by “Sajjehatti” family will follow. The entire program is known as “Madilu Tumbuvudu” in local parlance (Kannada) which denotes giving of gifts in plenty when a bride visits her home.

While the procession of two divine consorts proceeds to ‘Angamani Mantapa’, washer-men roll out cloths on the path treaded by procession. This is called “Nademudi Haasu”. Betel – leaf and Betel nuts are offered to deities on their way to the said ‘Mantapa’.

Special poojas are conducted at ‘Angamani Mantapa’ ( a pillared pavilion) followed by gesture of honor to all four ‘sthanikas’, and ‘Arulppadu’ is issued forth (graceful command) to ‘Tiruvanantapuradavaru’.

Now the procession of divine consorts moves in the town streets, and returns to temple. This makes their journey a bit long. The belated return of divine consorts from their ‘Tavarumane’ makes Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ a bit annoyed. He swiftly moves out of temple on his horse, only to get intercepted by a rabbit’s movement in the way, at ‘Parvate Mantapa’ (located at the outskirts of the town). (A rabbit coming in the way is considered a bad omen) Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ hence returns back to his temple. There will be festive mood in around the town, particularly in two houses, where all varieties of fruits, vegetables, flowers and the like are arranged to be offered to divine consorts at night. The gesture of offering and gifting of fruits, flowers is called ‘Angamani’. This festival signifies “post-harvest celebration, as the surrounding villagers come forward to part ways with their agricultural produce to the god. The next day program is known by name “Allum-tallum chirappu sevai” in Tamil Parlance. (It means “grabbing-pushing of food”; it is the thieving or seizing of food placed before the god by a starving man, he is pushed away by the guards).

Two mounds of boiled rice (Annam) and other delicacies will be arranged before Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana’ a man belonging to family of ‘Tondanuru Nambi’, will arrive at food congregation, to grab it with his both hands. People who stand guard there, would splash his back with a preparation of sweet pumpkin. He would then run helter–skelter. This episode will be enacted in the next evening of ‘Angamani Utsava’.


This is a grand celebration in commemoration of Bhagavad Ramanuja’s consecration and installation of the deity of Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana’ nearly 1000 years ago. The town got resurrected to its past glory and sanctity. This ‘Utsava’ is celebrated under ‘Punarvasu’ Nakshatra in ‘Makara’ month (January or February). On this special occasion, morning ‘Abhisheka’ is conducted for ‘Bhagavad- Ramanuja’ A procession of ‘Bhagavad-Ramanuja’ goes to ‘Sri Kalyani’ tank, recitation of ‘Gadyatraya’ (triad of swansongs of Sri Ramanujacharya) will take place at the sacred tank.

The procession will return from ‘Kalyani’ in a wonderful dignity and grandeur. It stops at ‘Sri Vangipura Nambi’s’ house to receive floral service offered by the family. ‘Mahamangalarti’ will be performed before the beautiful deity of ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ at the temple and his holiness is proffered all honors. According to traditional lore, ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ himself had offered and performed worship to Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana’, after retrieving the idol from an ant-hill; the anthill was made to cave in with pouring of milk. This is a special occasion with its significance etched in the pages of history.

Rathasaptami: (Magha saptami) (Jan- Feb)

This is said to be an auspicious occasion, when sun actually starts his northward journey in his chariot yoked with seven stupendous white horses, according to Hindu mythology. The celebration of “Utsava” corresponds to this occurrence as Lord Vishnu in ‘Archa-murti’ form of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’, who is the controller of Universe, will be seated magnificently in ‘Suryamandala Vahana’ (A Vehicle in the shape of a huge Disc).

The procession of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ being seated majestically in ‘Suryamandala’ will commence in the morning. First sight of ‘Sun’ by Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ occurs at ‘Nanjeeyar’ shrine, which is located at a main corner (Nanjeeyar- one of the great preceptors in ‘Sri Vaishnava tradition). In recent years “Janapadamela’ (diverse folk troupes from across the state) accompanies the procession of the Lord.

Delhi Utsava:(Kumbha Jyeshtha)

‘Acharya Ramanuja’, when his holiness consecrated Melukote, (Tirunarayanapuram) he happened to install the main deity of the place called Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana’. A processional deity was found missing, ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ by his facility of transcendence, came to know that Lord ‘Sri.Cheluvaraya’ was in possession of a Delhi sultanate’s daughter- princess. He made a trip to Delhi, and located his adorable ‘Murty’. ‘Sri Ramanuja’ in all love and affection called the deity ‘sampathkumara’ as a father fondly calls his beloved son. Alas! Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ came trotting towards ‘Acharya’ to nestle in his lap. In commemoration and reverence this incidence has for this place, this ‘Utsava’ will be conducted by name ‘Delhi Utsava’. A palanquin procession of the Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ will be held; morning ‘Abhisheka’ for the deity is performed. The procession visits Sri Vedanta Deshika’s shrine. This ‘Utsava’ comes in the months of February or March just before ‘Vairamudi’ celebration.


This boat festival will be conducted in the month of March . After rituals, marking commencement of ‘Plavotsava’, the second and third day will see ‘Teppotsava’ conducted. There is a ‘Teppakola Mantapa’ dedicated for this purpose. (In recent years, for want of renovation and essential cleanliness, the place has been abandoned). Procession of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’ together with ‘Bhagavad Ramanuja’ will visit ‘Sri Kalyani’ tank. There follows similar program on third day, ‘Lord Sri Cheluvaraya Swamy’ enters the boat once the temple’s ‘Joyisaru’ reads out the auspicious time ( ‘Teppa’ -a square pillared structure made of wood supported by a deck of empty cans (drums).

Sri Krishna Raja Mudi:

Melkote is popular for its ‘mudis’, thanks to royal patronage of Mysore ‘Wodeyars’. This ‘Utsava’ or festival will be conducted in ‘Ashadha maasa’ of Hindu calendar, corresponding to July month. This is called ‘Chikka jatre’ as it follows ways of ‘Vairamudi’ celebration. This ‘Jatre’ or festivity was started by ‘Sri Krishnaraja Wodayar’. On birth day of ‘Sri Krishnaraja Wodayar’(Ashadha bahula dvitiya) ‘abhisheka’ will be performed for Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana Swamy,’ ‘Sri Cheluvaraya swamy’, ‘Sri Ammanavaru’. ‘Kalyanotsava’ will be performed in the evening, for Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya’. It will be conducted from ‘Uttarashadha nakshatra’ to ‘Rohini nakshatra’ in the month of ‘Ashadha’. It is similar to ‘Vairamudi’ celebration. On the fourth day of ‘Utsava’ Lord Sri.Cheluvarayaswamy adorns ‘Krishnarajamudi’.

‘Rajamudi Jatre’ or Ashtatirthotsava:

(usually comes under kartika shuddha dashami)
As said earlier, Melukote temple conducts ‘Mudi- utsavas’ as its unique tradition. This ‘Utsava’ will be celebrated for ten days. This ‘Jatre’ came in to celebration with the initiative of ‘Sri Raja Wodayar’. On the fourth day ‘Rajamudi’ crown adorns the head of Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya swamy’. ‘Vahanotsavas’ are conducted at night. ‘Sri Raja Wodayar’ has gifted invaluable ornaments to temple, like ‘Gandabherunda padaka’ (dollar), ‘Padmapitha’ ‘sixteen jewels’ and as part of celebration, arranged for the conductance of ‘Ashtatirthotsava’. Sri shathakopa(sacred sandals of the Lord) is taken in a small palanquin to visit each holy Thirtha (pond) and ‘Sthalapurana’ is read out. (Sthalapurana – A description containing information of the sage, sanctity, and other details of a particualar place found in main puranas)

‘Ashtatirthotsava’ or ‘Tottilamadavu Jatre’ in local tongue is a popular fair. The sacred sandals (Sri Shatakopam) will be carried in a palanquin to visit sacred ponds situated in and around Melukote. The procession begins with visit to ‘Sri Kalyani’ tank followed by other sacred ponds. (Sri Veda Pushkarani, Sri Darbha thirtha, Sri Yadava thirtha, Sri Palasha thirtha, Sri Padma thirtha, Sri Maitreya tirtha, Sri Narayana tirtha and ‘Sri Vaikunta ganga’, a small brook streaming to form a small cascade. This spot is popular among visiting people as “Tottilamaduvu”. This ‘Utsava’ will be a dawn to dusk affair, where people from surrounding towns and villages come and participate, following the procession. This festivity is getting popular in recent times as the crowd has been increasing every year.

Acharya Ramanuja Tirunakshtra

:(Chaitra-Aridra) (Birth event celebration)
‘Acharya Ramanuja’, who appeared in eleventh century A.D with his divine descent (Avatara), has been a great humanitarian saint philosopher. He not only composed philosophical works of tremendous value but also participated in society to propagate the wonderful path of surrender and devotion to reach god accessible to one and all without social discrimination. He postulated the school of philosophy called ‘Visistadvaita’. His holiness has been responsible for construction of ‘Srivaishnava’ temples, its set up, administration, participation of society in temple festivities, making god verily personal to all. Hence ‘Acharya Ramanuja‘ or Bhagavad Ramanuja’s birth event has been celebrated in all grandeur and concern. It is a significant annual event in not only Melukote temple but all over.

The festive mood will be imbibed with devotion. A ten day ‘Utsava’ will be conducted in commemoration of this ‘Great Acharya of Sri Vaishnava’ tradition. This event usually comes to be celebrated in the month of April-May. ‘Vahana utsavas’ or processions of ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ will be conducted on all ten days in the morning. ‘Abhisheka’ for the beautiful deity of ‘Bhagavad Ramanuja’ will be performed in the after-noon.

Four thousand hymns of saints namely ‘Alvars’ will be rendered by “Goshti” ( a congregation of learned, devout ‘Sri vaishnavas’ who are all well versed in four thousand songs) before the deity in sessions. ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ will have a grand procession in ‘Vairamudi ’ (It is a different crown meant for ‘Acharya’) on the sixth night. ‘Rathotsaava’ will be conducted on the ninth day. In the evening ‘Utsava’ ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ visits ‘Sri Yadugiri Yathiraja Matham’. The grand finale will be observed duly and in a thorough manner, on the tenth day. Twelve ‘Tiruvaradhanas’ ( an important procedure in the worship) followed by ‘Abhisheka’ ( a detailed manner of offering ablution), a special gesture of honor from Lord ‘Sri Tirunarayana swamy’, and one of the final sessions of ‘Divyaprabandha’ recitation, distribution of ‘Thirtha’ (holy water) and ‘Prasada’ ( delicacy offered to the deity) are part of the program in day session.

‘Acharya Ramanuja’ will be anointed with a rich aromatic sandal paste, dotted with rich saffron, and procession of the magnificent deity in a palanquin visits ‘Sitaraya’ a small shrine near ‘Sri Kalyani’ tank in the evening. The procession on its return journey makes visit to Shrine of ‘Sri Vedanta deshika’ and ‘Sri Manavalamamuni’ shrine.

Another episode of high order will be enacted in the night where Lord ‘Sri Cheluvaraya swamy’ presents himself in his ten incarnations, (Dashavatara utsava) revealed to great ‘Acharya Ramanuja’. The procession will complete its round outside the temple and journeys back to temple. ‘Mahamangalarati’ will be performed, deities are taken to their original shrines.

Next day sees an ‘utsava’ called ‘Gandhapudi’ which will be held at “Sitaranya”. On this day morning ‘Abhisheka’ is conducted for ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ as part of ‘Mudaliyandan tirunakshatra’ ( Mudaliyandan was one of the principal disciples of ‘Bhgavad Ramanuja’ ‘Divyaprabandha Parayana’ will take place.

“Biksha Kainkaryam”- ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ was an ascetic supreme and as the tenets of ‘Sanatana Dharma’ prescribe, a mendicant or an ascetic has to fetch his food “by begging” it is called ‘Biksha yachana’. Following the tradition ‘Acharya Ramanuja’ will be offered his ‘Biksha’ in the form of service, offering of delicacies on special occasions during this ‘utsava’. Four sthanikas (swamya) will offer ‘Biksha’ to the Deity of ‘Sri Ramanuja’.

There are other festivities of great importance and significance at the temple of Melukote. Birth events of ‘Sri Nammalvar’, ‘Tirumangailvar’, ‘Sri Vedanta deshika’, ‘Sri Jeeyar’, ‘Sri Pillailokacharya’, as well as of other ‘Alwars’, ‘Acharyas’ are celebrated.

Melukote Sri Cheluvanarayana Swamy Temple Festivals Details

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