|Sri Ranganathar Temple in Srirangam .tripadvisor.co.|
|Sri Ranganathar Temple in Srirangam zeenews.com|
|Closed Paramapada vasal, sei Ranganathar temple, Srirangam divyadesam.com|
|God Vishnu emerging thru Swarga Vaasal, Srirangam, TN.knramesh - blogger|
The main venue of the temple premises is the Arjuna Mandapam and every day during festivities, Namperumal is brought to the Mandapam in Simha gait (Lion Walk). So are the idols of Azhwars and Acharyas from their respective sannidhis/shrines. The Arjuna Mandapam has a shrine of Thulukka Nachiyar (a Muslim princess, a devotee of Sri Vishnu) from where betel leaves and nuts are sent to the Lord.
|Ariyar Sevai, Srirangam temple. arangham.com|
Among interesting and traditional rituals associated with Ekadasi at this temple, the Araiyar Sevai is an inspiring one, bringing out the essence of devotion. Bhakti and Saranagathi (utter surrender to the lotus feet of the lord). It is done by hereditary Araiyars who chant hymns during morning for ten days (Pagal Paththu) before the decorated Utchavar idol. Each day the Emperumal idol will have special, eye-catching alangaram (decoration). On the 10th day, the lord blesses the devotees in Mohini Avataram wearing fine ornaments and white silk. This Alankaram draws thousands of devotees to see the lord to get blessed on this annual event.
On Ekadasi day, in the early morning, around 3 to 4 am Utsavar Namperumal will bless the devotees in an armor of diamonds (rathnaangi) after emergeing from the sanctum/garbagriha. Adorned with the Pandian Kondai and a garland containing tiny parrots, the lord has a dazzling appearance. Soon the Arya Bhatal doors are closed and the Araiyars begin to recite the first verse of Nammazhwar's Tiruvaimozhi.
From the sanctum Utchavar idol (procession(al) idol is carried on the Prathakshana path (clock-wise) called Rajamahendran circle amidst the recitation of holy verses of Pillai Perumal Iyengar. Now, the most important event is to take place that is as soon as the Namperumal's procession reaches the Paramapada Vasal (gate to the God's abode) and its doors are flung open. Now Sri Vishnu emerges through the gate in a decorated palanquin blessing a select group of devotees and the common people for their health, wealth and peace of mind. This gate (to the Heaven) is opened once in a year, only on the Vaikuntha Ekadashi day and rest of the year is closed. The belief has been that whoever goes through the Paramapada Vasal will reach vaikuntham (get salvation). Observing a rigorous fasting on the Vaikunta Ekadasi day is a must for all devotees and it is equal to fasting on the other 23 Ekadashis falling throughout the year.
According to Padma Purana,it was the female energy of God Vishnu who saved the lord by slaying demon Muran and protected the 'Devas'. As this incident took place on the eleventh day of lunar month during the sun's journey in the Dhanu Rash, Sri Vishnu, as a token of his appreciation, named her as 'Ekadashi' and gave her the the boon '' that those who worship 'Ekadashi' on the day of her victory over Muran (the evil force) would reach 'Vaikuntham' (His abode; meaning ''Salvation'').
Later, the devotees are allowed to go inside the temple to pray to the Moolavar and then come out through the Paramapada Vasal (the northern gate) and pray to the Utchavar idol. It is just one way walk across the gate. At many Vishnu Temples across India, the temple administrators make a door kind of structure (depicting Paramapada Vasal ) on this Ekadashi day for devotees to walk through.
The lord is then taken to the Tirumamani Mandapam, just the way he was blessing the devotees in the Arjuna Mandapam for ten days. And from now on he will be in this Mandapa at night (Erapathu) and listen to the chanting of Thiruvaimozhi along with Azhwars and Acharyas. This is the reason why he is called Kaveri theera rasika!
Yet another feature is during the Vaikunta Ekadasi festivities - 20 days Moolavar Ranganathar (main deity) in the garbagriha is nicely decorated with an armor of expensive pearls - 'Muthangi' People throng the temple to receive blessings from Azhagiya Manavalan ( the charismatic Bridegroom whose aura isall-pervading. If you stand before him in supplication in all your humility he will never fail you and help you go past the Maya around you.
At Srirangam the Ekadashi festivities follow the following schedule that may vary every year:
Dec. 27, 2019: Vaikuntha Ekadashi celebrations begin, First day of Pagal pathhu.
Jan, 05, 2020: Pagal Pathu 10th day; Mohini Alangaram (decoration).Jan. 06, 2010: Opening of Paramapada vasal at early morning 4.45 am. Beginning of Erapaathu on the same day Ist day. Moolavar Muthangi Seva ( up to 7th night; also Namperumal Kaithala seva same night). Namazhawar Mohini Avatharam).
Jan, 13, 2020: Erapathu- 8th day. Thirumangaimannan Vedupari - Namperumal Horse (kuthirai) vahanam.
Jan.15, 2020: 10th day of Erapathu. Therthavari,
Jan 16, 2020: 11th day, one of the twelve saints in Sri Vaishnavism poet 'Namazhvar'' attaining salvation (Moksham).