Saturday, 12 December 2020

Vaikunda Ekadasi festival (2020-21) at Srirangam Ranganathar temple, T.N and temple restrictions due to Covid-19

Hindu  festival  Ekadasi.  mpanchang.com

Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy temple, Tamil Nadu. indiatoday.in

The sprawling  Sri Ranganatha Swamy  temple (dedicated to God Vishnu), the largest functioning Hindu temple in the world at Srirangm, Tamil Nadu, South India is getting ready for the ensuing   Vaikunda Ekadasi festival that begins on the 14th of December, 2020. The huge temple  is the first among  all glorified in the 6th-century Vaishnavite canon Naalayira Dhivya Prabhandham   and here  the festival is celebrated on a grand scale with religious fervor as it is believed to be the  most revered sacred center of  Sri Vaishnavism. But, this year, it is not going to be a grand event as we are still in the middle of Covid- 19 Pandemic that originated in China, a communist country that has  been known to bully India and  presently, their war threats are snubbed then there by effective military maneuvers by the present  govt. led by  the PM  Sri Modiji. 

This year, to be cautious, the  Trichy district administration is following  a  token system and online booking to allow darshan for the Vaikunda Ekadasi festival at Srirangam, though the Covid-19 is still active here and there in this part of the state. The proposal includes issuing passes of different colors each allowing darshan for a one-hour time slot. The token and pass system, it is said, will minimize  the footfall of devotees on the vast temple premises.  As for senior citizens above 65 and those who had major surgery in the recent past are not allowed inside the temple. Yet another restriction is limited admission into the temple and  no devotees are allowed into the temple after 8 pm. Besides, .screening and hand sanitation are must at the  temple entrance, besides proper social distancing. Not to take any chances during the festival time,  floors and temple corridors will be'' frequently sanitized,”  according to an official.

According to the  Hindu calendar, Ekadashi is the eleventh lunar day of the two lunar phases - Shukla Paksa and the Krishna Paksa. There fore  there are two Ekadashi days in a Hindu calendar month. For most Hindu devotees,  worship Lord Vishnu on the day of Ekadashi is  very important.  On the Ekadashi, devotees undertake  a strict fast or ''vratham''  and break their fast on the next day only after sunrise. Devotees can choose to observe vrat/vratham  without water or with only water or with only fruits. It  is considered  a sacred religious act to get rid of malefic planetary influences, blessed with happiness and ultimately attain salvation / Moksha (no rebirth on the earth to go through the cycles of pains and pleasure. 

Sri Ranganatha swamy temple, Srirangam, TN. Pinrest com.

Arayars at Srirangam Ranganathar temple. arayasamajam.blogspot.co

Above image: The Arayar sevai is a distinct unique upacharam or a sort of offering with devotion  to God  Vishnu and is performed in three Vaishanava temples in Tamilnadu -  Srirangam, Azhvar thirunagar and Sri Villiputhur.  It is also performed in the Melkote Thiru Narayana temple in Karnataka.  Tradition has been that it is performed by a specific family or famalies  who hold the hereditary rights to this offering. The Arayar through music and hand gestures expounds the meaning of the Tamil devotional  hymns  on Vishnu composed in chaste  Tamil by the 12 Azhwars-saints (who lived in various periods between the 7-8 centuries) .............................................

The 22 day-long annual festival will  come to an end on January 4, with Namazhwar Motcham , according to the HR & CE. The most auspicious event involving the opening of Paramapata vasal /Sorgavasal  (gate of Heaven)  will be on 25th of December, 2020. Arayar Sevai (a Tamil performing art form, focused  on the ritual singing and enactment of the hymns of the  Naalayira Dhivya Prabhandham )   and various alangarams ( floral decoration ) of the main deity in the sanctum. normally would draw a large crowd as the tradition has been around for centuries. But, this year, the excitement and devotion aspect will be on a lower level in view of Covid - 19 Pandemic. 

Sri Ranganathaswamy temple won the UNESCO Asia Pacific Award of Merit  in 2017 for cultural heritage conservation. 

The proposed schedule of events at Srirangam during the festival days  Dec. 2020  to Jan 04. 2021 is as follows:

First half of the Ekadasi  Festival:

2020 December 14 Thirunedunthandagam

2020 December 15 Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - ''Pagalpatthu'' 1day

2020 December 16  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 2 day

2020 December 17 Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 3 day

2020 December 18  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 4day

2020 December 19  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 5 day

2020 December 20  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 6 day

2020 December 21  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 7 day

2020 December 22  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 8 day

2020 December 23  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 9 day

2020 December 24  Mohini Alankaram

Sri Nampeumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Pagalpatthu 10 day

Second half of the festival:

2020 December 25  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival -'' Irappatthu'' (night) 1 day

Vaikunda Ekadasi - Sorga Vasal Opening (4.45 AM);  Moolavar Muthangi seva, Namperumal Rathnangi seva

2020 December 26  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 2 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva

2020 December 27  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 3 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva

2020 December 28  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 4 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva

2020 December 29  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 5 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva

2020 December 30  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 6 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva

2020 December 31  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 7 day

Moolavar Muthangi seva, Namperumal Kaithala seva, Nammalwar Mohini Alankaran

2021 January 1  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 8 day

Thirumangaimannan Vedupari - Namperumal Horse vahanam

2021January 2  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 9 day

2021 January 3  Sri Namperumal - Vaikunda Ekadasi Festival - Irappatthu (night) 10 day

Theerthavari  2021 January 4 Nammalwar Moksham 11th day

(From https://www.srirangam.co.in/vaikunda_ekadasi_festival.php)

http://timesofindia.indiatimes.com/articleshow/79524578.

https://www.tamilnadutourism.com/blog/srirangam-vaikuntha-ekadashi-2019-202