Namperumal's First Procession of the Year
Exchanges Garland with Andal at Veli Andal Sannidhi
In the first procession of the year at the Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, following his month long break ( there was no procession during the entire month of Aani) on the occasion of Aadi28 Utsavam, Namperumal exchanged garland with Andal at the Veli Andal Sannidhi, the original Andal Temple at the Southern end of West Adayavalanjan in Srirangam. This first procession of the year in Aadi sets the celebratory tone for the festivities at the Srirangam temple for the rest of the year.
VELI ANDAL BHATTAR CARRYING NAMPERUMAL'S GARLAND TO ANDAL
This special event at the Veli Andal Sannidhi assumes even more significance as this was the location in Srirangam that Andal first came to from Srivilliputhur in her endeavour to meet with her favourite Lord and to be with him forever. This visit of Namperumal to the Veli Andal Sannidhi in Aadi is one of the two occasions in the year when he comes here to meet Andal, the other being during his return trip from Woraiyur in Panguni.
Earlier in the morning, Namperumal left for Amma Mandapam to honour Goddess Cauvery for her significant role in the development of the Srirangam temple leading to the peaceful and prosperous lives of the people in this historical temple town.
Goddess Cauvery’s Significance
The significance of Cauvery can be compared to the Vraja River which flows in Vaikuntam. Just as one who attains moksham has to enter Vaikuntam only after a bath in the Vraja, so too one who wishes to have darshan of Lord Ranganatha at Srirangam has to first bathe in the Cauvery before entering the temple.
River Cauvery is believed to be even more pious than the sacred Ganges and is so pure that she is said to make all other rivers pious as well. For was it not here that Lord Ranganatha desired to remain and make Srirangam his abode right on the banks of the Cauvery.
CAUVERY THAYAR SANNIDHI AT AMMA MANDAPAM
During this period, in Aadi, the water flow at the Cauvery is fast, touching the edges of the banks on both the sides. Belief is that those who bathe here with purity of thought will be relieved from all sins. The beautiful garlands that one sees every day around Lord Ranganatha are a result of the pure water from the Cauvery. Trees are seen all around the place, flowers bloom every day and the streets are clean thanks to the water from the Cauvery, who has encircled the Lord from all sides of Srirangam.
Sacred Water from the Cauvery
While there are several wells inside the Srirangam temple, the sacred water for the Lord and his Thirumanjanam is brought from the Cauvery (Coloroon), every single day. It is also Goddess Cauvery who has kept the farmers in the delta region of Tamil Nadu happy and prosperous all these years. It is around this time that the Cauvery is at its peak with water gushing across from the West flowing through the green belt of Tamil Nadu down East - Thiruvayaru, Thanjavur and Kumbakonam. It is for this significant contribution that Namperumal goes on a 6hour procession to Northern Banks of Cauvery at Amma Mandapam to shower gifts such as Garland, Thiru Mangalyam, Fruits and Saree on Goddess Cauvery in a thanks giving gesture.
Having exchanged garland with Andal late that evening, Namperumal bid adieu and returned to his sanctum at around 10pm bringing to end for another year the Aadi28 Festival.
Aadi28 Festival 2011 took place at Srirangam on Saturday 13th August.