Saturday, March 28, 2009

Kaarthika Laksha Deepotsava

Sorry this is coming out so very late! Photos coming up shortly!

Here are pics taken on the occasion of Kaarthika Laksha Deepotsava at Sringeri. It is held on the evening of kaarthika poornima when a lakh of oil lamps are lit all over the temple premisis, on the banks of tunga river and on the side walks of the main bharathi street leading up to the 'malahanikareshwar betta', the hillock on which the samadhi of the great sage vibhandaka muni is located. All the devotees who are visiting the sringeri temples can take part in the deepotsava by receiving 5 oil lamps and kumkuma-arishina to worship the river tunga and then set the lit lamps sail over the waters of tunga river. It is a grand sight to see thousands of lamps sailing on the waters under the moon-lit sky! A very huge rangoli is done by the devotees in front of the temples and coloured powders are filled in and lamps are lit all around it.

H.H. Sri Bharathi Theertha Swamiji, after finishing the evening Sri Chandramouleeshwara Pooja, goes to the Malahaanikareshwara Betta around 10 pm. There H.H. performs the pooja and takes part in the Dindi Utsava when the deities are taken round the temple premises and H.H. makes pradakshinaas round the temple along with the deities, facing the idols and moving backwards to show respect to the gods. A special ceremony is then held at the garuda kambha where a big silk screen is erected, that is soaked in oil and tied up on a frame. The archaka after the pooja to the pillar climbs up a huge ladder and sets the screen on fire signifying the fire of jnaana burning away our ajnaanaa! Then the soot is applied on the forehead as 'rakshe' or protection to oneself.

After this H.H. along with the deities goes in a procession by foot on the main Bharathi Street to the accompaniment of Naadaswara. Devotees line up on either side of the path, on top of the houses to have Guru darshan. Many devotees bring in offerings to the Lord and to H.H. and receive His blessings. The whole street is decorated with mango leaves, flowers and coloured lights in addition to the three-tier oil lamps lit on either sides. The procession slowly enters the temple premises and sri Gurugalu goes to the Sharadambe temple, worships the Devi and the Devi is taken out in Dindi Utsava. Then Sri Gurugalu goes to the banks of Tunga river where Teppotsava is held.

The Deities are taken inside the decorated and readied Teppa - a modified boat. H.H. also enters the boat with the archaks and several assistants accomapnying sri Gurugalu. They are taken round to the accompaniment of naadaswara and other vadyas. Sky is lit up with fire works and it is a grand sight to see oil lamps lit up everywhere and colourful flowered lights flying in the sky at 12 midnight ! H.H. is taken to the other bank where a small temporary resting structure has been built for H.H. to sit and watch the proceedings. After several rounds the boat returns and once again the deities are taken out in procession and returned to the respective temples. Sri Gurugalu also retires to His abode.

Next year do not miss the Laksha Deepotsava on Karthika Poornima night. Mark it on your calenders and enjoy the Bhooloka Swarga !