Beginning from Vaikunta Ekadasi,the following nine days are observed as ‘Ira-Pathu Utsavam’. Following this that is Day-11 is ‘Iyarpa Satrumurai’. With this the utsavam comes to a conclusion. In Kanchipuram this ten day period goes by the name ‘Adhyayana utsavam’. Veda Adhyayanam is of prime importance during this period. Complete Veda Parayanam is done during this period. At a later period of time Tiruvaymozhi of Nammazhwar being at par with the Vedas also came to be sung these ten days. Dravida Veda Sagaram is the name accorded to it. At a later period the divya sukthis of other azhwars also became part of the Festival.
At Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal temple this is how a typical day of ‘Adhyayana Utsavam’ goes. Varadan who descends the Atthigiri Hill on Vaikunta Ekadasi day after witnessing the first day of Adhyayana Utsavam stays in Kanadi-Arai’ for the period. At about 7.30 a.m. Vedha Parayanam begins and depending on the day’s coverage extends till early noon or late afternoon on some days. It is amazing to hear the notes of The Vedic chanting filling the air with auspiciousness. The synchronisation is possible only due to systematic practise and concentration.
In the evening at about 6.00 p.m. Varadan and His Consorts go upto Tiruvadi-koil on Sannidhi Street followed by Veda Parayana goshti. At Tiruvadi koil Divya Prabhandha goshti joins and leads the Procession. At the 4-pillared Mandapam ‘Pathi- ulathal’ takes place after Perumal hears azhwar pasurams. After doing two rounds followed faithfully by Swami Desikan, He moves to the 4-pillared mandapam. Veda Parayana swamis stand in neat rows. All the azhwars and acharyas are stationed infront of Perumal. 4 swamis are given poorna-kumbams and excerpts from The MahaNarayana Upanishads and pertinent stotras of The Geetha, Alavandar and Swami Desikan ‘s slokas are chanted. The Poorna kumbam is taken to the aradhakar swami one swami after the other and he touches Perumal’s Tiruvadis with the water from the kumbam. After this maryadhai (garland and Sri Sathari) are ofered to azhwars and acharyas according to their seniority. Nammazhwar is accompanied by Madurakaviazhwar and Nathamuni. The Mudhal Azhwars stand as a Threesome. Each azhwar and acharya is announced loudly before being offered Maryadhai. Once this is over the Divya Prabhandha goshti recite slowly and clearly ‘Kanninum Siruthambu’ of Madurakaviazhwar the chanting of which several times by Nathamunigal restored the lost prabhandhams. Again Madurakaviazhwar sang only about his acharya Nammazhwar and joined the Azhwar category. The goshti then chant the Tiruvaymozhi Thanians and the first pasuram of the day’s Tiruvaymozhi.
There is excitement as kids and adults take the privilege of carrying azhwars to the yaga salai mandapam. Perumal comes via Garudan sannidhi with Nammazhwar and after ‘pathi-ulathal’ stations Himself in the Kili-Mandapam to listen to His favourite Tiruvaymozhi. 100 pasurams are chanted every day. On the ninth day we have Nammazhwar moksham followed by Iyarppa sattrumurai.
The following are the photos taken during the Utsavam:
Courtesy: Sri Elangadu Ranganatha Chakravarthy & Write- up: Smt Vyjayanthi Rajan