New Delhi, March 22: Thousands of devotees of Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Balaji, had a rare personal audience with the holy idols of the God along with his consorts Laxmi (Sridevi) and Padmavati (Bhudevi) here on Friday.
The Utsava Murthis, or the processional idols were brought here for celestial "Kalyana Mahotsavam"; the symbolic wedding of the God Sri Venkateswara from Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh, that was performed here on Purnamasi (the full moon day). The invaluable idols are made of five metals and embedded with precious stones. "Traditionally, devotees come to see the Lord. But this time the Lord has come to meet his devotees Himself. Actually, there are a lot of old-aged people who cannot make it to Tirupati so these idols have been brought here especially for them," said P.Sheshadri, the chief priest of Tirumala temple.
"Due to big arrangements this time, it was a convenience for devotees to come here. The same ceremony, as was performed in the national capital today, has been held at 40 places in the past four years," P.Sheshadri said.
Organised at the grounds of Sri Venkateswara College near Dhaula Kuan, the main "Kalayana Mahotsava" ceremony was performed from 4:30 to 8:30 in the evening. It had started with "Thomala Seva" and "Archana" rituals performed for two hours in the morning. hirty priests had escorted the sacred idols from Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh after a two-day road journey to Delhi in a special bus. These idols will reach back to their original abode on Monday night (March 24).
"Kalayana Mahotsavam is performed daily for about three hours in Tirupati. It was for the third time such a ceremony had been organized in Delhi. The previous two occasions were in 2006 and 2007," said another priest after the ceremony.
It was a sea of people all around at the venue, where most of the devotees were transfixed to find their deity in the national capital.
"It is like the Lord has arrived to meet us personally. I have attended this ceremony on the previous two occasions. This time I came along with my family and everyone is delighted to have the holy sight of the Lord Venkateswara," said R. Satyanarayana, a Delhi Development Authority employee at the function.
The ceremony will be performed next in Tamil Nadu at Kumbakonam on March 30 and at Chennai on April 6.
Various distinguished personalities including politicians like Cabinet minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Lok Sabha member and Telugu Desam Party leader K.Yerran Naidu, Mayor of Delhi, Bharatiya Janata Party leader Arti Mehra, and many others attended the religious ceremony. By Sandeep Datta