Sunday, October 1, 2017

Srirangam Namperumal Vijayadasami Procession

When Lord Namperumal stood waiting at the entrance for 1 ½ hours for the sake of Puratasi Devotees 
The Lure of the Rs. 250 ticket Collection does it again at the Srirangam temple
September has been a great month financially at the Lord Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam. And the HR & CE authorities are sure to be delighted!!! 

However, the big marketing exercise in recent decades of darshan on a Puratasi Saturday took its toll on Lord Namperumal, the Utsava Processional deity at the Srirangam temple. Having picked up an unexpectedly huge collection of over Rs. 2 crores during the fortnight of the earlier non- existent festival of Cauvery Pushkaram (, the Rs. 250 counter at the temple saw a huge queue once again yesterday Saturday (Sept 30).

With the Vijayadasami day coinciding this year with the Puratasai 2nd Saturday, it was going to be a tall order for the temple authorities to manage the return of Namperumal from his annual trip to Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil ( and the big crowd that was witnessed through the day at the Ranganatha Swamy temple to have darshan of the Moolavar.

And clearly authorities showed where their priorities lay.

Four Hour Procession 
In the morning, Namperumal began his annual trip to Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil half hour early (as against the scheduled time of 630 am) to facilitate the Moolavar darshan (a big crowd had already gathered outside the Arya Bhattal Vaasal).

After his routine stop over at many places on the way including at the Srirangam Girls High School, Lord Namperumal reached Kaattu Azhagiya Singar Koil at 10 am. 
After the devotees had had darshan through the day till 5 pm, the Bhattars began the special alankara for the evening. 

An hour later, he rode out in a majestic princely posture atop the Golden Horse Vahana to destroy the negative evil forces at the ‘Vanni Maram’ with his arrows much to the delight of the devotees. 

Expanded Railway Station forces a change in processional route
Through the whole of the 20th Century, Lord Namperumal rode back on the Horse Vahana through the Srirangam Station. However with the recent expansion of the station into four platforms this annual route has now been blocked and the Lord had to make his way through the railway gate at the far Northern end of Srirangam. 

Wide Range of Flower Garland
By 7pm, Lord Namperumal was all set to enter the Saathara Veethi, the wholesale flower market of Srirangam/ Trichy. 

Usually the action in the street begins only at 11 pm but this was one day in the year when the Lord of Srirangam provides darshan to each of the flower vendors and the entire street was abuzz with expectation of a grand entry of the Lord on the Horse Vahana.
In a welcoming gesture to Lord Namperumal, they had decked up the entire street with a wide range of garlands comprising of different varieties of flowers that they use round the year for the various festivals of the Lord. It is the ‘Saathaanis’ that work tirelessly through the year to make relevant garland for the Lord and Thaayar.  

Every house had a special garland to showcase - the mix of flowers both in terms of the quantity and the variety, the shape and design of the garland - each had a distinctive feel to it. As the Lord passed each of the flower vendors, he was delighted to find a very different garland. 

Each of the residents savoured with devotion the presence of Lord Namperumal for over an hour last evening at their doorstep. 

A Long 90 minute wait for Namperumal
Just after 815 pm, Lord Namperumal made his way back into the temple through the Therku Vaasul. He had had a long day out – a four hour procession in the morning and now over a 2 hour trip from the Kaattu Azhagiya Singar temple and there was a Thirumanjanam to cool him down. However, he was in for a rude shock.
With crowd thronging the temple on the 2nd Saturday of Puratasi to have darshan of the Moolavar deity, Lord Namperumal had to wait patiently outside the Ranga Vilas Mandapam for an hour and a half. Unlike most other Divya Desams in Tamil Nadu, where the Lord is placed on stools during stopovers, in Srirangam, the Lord is carried continuously on their shoulders by the Sri Patham Thangis right till the time he is back at his abode.
Srirangam Temple Joint Commissioner Pon Jayaraman made his way to the entrance of ‘Therku Vaasal’ at around 9 pm to have a darshan of Namperumal and went back quietly as the Rs. 250 tickets continued to be issued near the Arya Bhattal Vaasal. It did not occur to him that it was not appropriate to make the Lord wait this long almost outside the temple!!!!

It was well after 9.30pm when the Moolavar darshan was closed for the day by which time Lord Namperumal had stood for well over an hour at the entrance of the temple awaiting the green signal to be allowed entry back into his abode. However, relief came to the Lord only at 945 pm.

The Vethals / Sri Patham Thangis had shown remarkable patience to shoulder the Lord for 90 minutes standing stationary in front of the Ranga Vilas Mandapam. 
Rarely in the history of the temple has Lord Namperumal been insulted thus being made to wait at the entrance of the temple. The temple Manian ( the time keeper of the temple activities/ festivals), who is now a Government employee, was helpless as he kept checking through the hour for updates from the Arya Bhattal Vaasal if the Moolavar darshan was closed for the evening. And it just seem a never ending exercise for he received a 'No' through till 9.30 pm. 

Many of the devotees who accompanied the Lord during the procession wondered as to why the Lord was made to stand in one place for this long, especially at the entrance of the temple.

The lure of Rs. 250 collections and boosting the kitty has now become far more important and it does seem okay to even make the Lord stand outside for over an hour. It almost seemed on the night that the Lord was 'seeking' permission to be allowed back to his abode but the authorities stood firm as the collections through Rs. 250 tickets reached unprecedented levels on the evening.

Finally he reached the Santanu Mandapam at 10.15 pm and the Thirumanjanam went on till well past midnight before Lord Namperumal went back to his abode at 2am!!!! What a long day and night for the Lord!!!

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