27th March 2015 that is Panguni Vishakam was the first day of ‘Pallava utsavam’ at Kanchi Varadaraja Perumal koil. On 26th evening ankurarpanam took place heralding the start of the seven-day festival. The festival is so called because ‘pallava’-newly born mango leaves are offered daily to Perumal during this festival.
The festival starts at about 10.30a.m. when Pranatharthiharan and Varadan with ubhaya nachimars descend Atthigiri and come to the famed hundred pillar-mandapam to listen to ‘Hasthigiri Mahatmyam’, the glory of Hasthigiri.
Prantharthihara is the nitya tirumanjanamurthi and He is brought in a palanquin followed by Varadaraja Perumal. They are placed in the mandapam on which is a beautiful wooden mandapam has been placed. Varadaraja Perumal and His Consorts stand together and infront of Them is Pranathathihara Varadan. Tirumanjanam was performed to all the divyamangalamurthis who enthralled everyone present with Their holy bath and different flower garlands and Tulasi crowns and garlands. After Tirumanjanam Perumal Theertham and Sri Sathari were given to everyone present and was followed by prasadam. The curtains were drawn and preparations started for the next event – the reading of Sri Hasthigiri Mahatmyam.
The swami who reads the sthala-puranam is brought with honours from his tirumaaligai(house). He stands infront of Varadan and reads the puranam in sanskrit followed by Tamil explanation. Brahmadeva wanted to see Sriman Narayana and prayed at Pushkaram and Naimisharanyam. A divine voice asked him to perform an asvamedha yaagam in Satyavrathakshetram. Brahma did so and Perumal emerged from the yagyam as Varadaraja. The first day’s reading ended with the levelling of ground and installation of Kanchi mahakshetram .
After this flowers and saffron paste, sandal-paste, rose-water etc. were lovingly applied or offered. He wore a crown of jasmines with red flowers peeping in the middle. At the end of the ceremony Perumal was covered with a jasmine-flower shawl and crushed tender mango leaves were sprinkled. Then sayanam took place.
At about 5.30 in the evening as nadhaswaram players play the bhoopala ragam bhattar swamis opened seven screens one after the other. The last screen was transparent and Perumal’s darshan through the veil was magnificient. Tiruvaradhanai took place after this and theertham, srisathari, prasada viniyogam happened. Menwhile a beautifully decorated ‘poo ther’ was brought to the mandapam and Pranatharthira Perumal travelled to kanadi-arai’ in it. After this Varadan and ubhaya nachimars went in purappadu on sannidhi street and returned to aasthanam.
The following are the photos taken during the Utsavam:
Photos: Sri Tirumundi Krishnan, Sri Thoopullkulamanievr, Write – up: Smt Vyjayanthi Rajan