May 14, 2017

Procession of Special Umbrellas to Tirupati from Chennai

If I say the procession of Chennai city, most of you would get reminded about 63 Nayanmars procession of Mylapore festival. But, this post from me is not about that festival. There is another procession which is conducted regularly every year in Chennai for the past two centuries. How many of you have heard about that? Let me discuss about this procession in this post.

Srivari Brahmotsavam is the most important annual festival celebrated in the internationally famous Tirumala Tirupati temple. This festival is conducted for nine days during the Ashvin month of Hindu calendar, which falls either in September or October. The Utsava images of Venkateshwara and his consorts are taken on different Vahanas on every day during this event. Thousand of people across the country gather to participate in this grand festival of Tirupati Balaji.

From the state of Tamil Nadu, only two holy things are being sent to Tirupati Balaji every year. One is the garland from Srivilliputhur and the other one is the set of holy umbrellas from Chennai.

Every year, two small and nine big sized special umbrellas are made in Kanchipuram and Chennai. Later, they are assembled in Chennai. During the Tirupati Brahmotsava time, all the eleven decorated umbrellas are sent to Tirupati. The procession starts at Chenna Keshava temple in Sowcarpet, Chennai with Poojas. Then, the procession of these holy umbrellas pass through various areas of North Chennai and finally reach Tirupati Devasthanam. 

It is believed that this procession started sometime in the beginning of the 19th century CE. For the past few years, the holy umbrellas are also accompanied by the idols of 10 Avatars and 12 Alwars. In addition, a piece of silk for Lord Venkateshwar is exhibited in a glass case in this procession. Hundreds of people participate in this grand procession every year. 

Happy travelling. 

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