Festive and Auspicious Days
The annual Festival
The night before the day of Mesha Sankramana the Temple gatway and entrance are decorated with ornamental arches. Uthsavanga, Ankura, Aropana (offering sprouted grains to the deity) Uthsava Bali (ceremonial circumambulation of the idol) take place.
The Temple flag is hoisted on Mesha Sankramana. That begins the proceedings of the annual festival, an eight –day-long celebration on a grand scale. The flag gets hoisted in the presence of the festival procession party. The priest of Kodamanithaya deity connected with the Temple and the Temple officials. After the flag has been hoisted there is another round of Darshana Bali with the presiding Deity and the Kodamanithaya deity facing each other. Then the midday worship is solemnized. The deity is then placed in front of the heap of rice (Palla), the Palla Pooja is performed and large number of devotees are fed santarpana) At 7.30 in the evening the Bali repeats; Asthavadana (a series of eight aural services offered to the deity) is performed in the Vasantha Mantapa. After the Bali terminates in the sanctum the evening Pooja and Santharpana take place. Finally the customary nightly Bali is taken out.
From the day of flag –hoisting to the day of the day Rathothsava (car festival –the ceremonial pulling by devotees of the car bearing the deity) I.e. all the seven days, the festival of the presiding deity is celebrated with Bali punctually at 7.30 in the evening. Various kinds of drums and blowing instruments accompany the Bali and there are many rounds each characterized by the playing of particular instruments. After the Kshetrapala pooja prasada is distributed to all. The deity is taken round the shrine first in the silver car and then in the palanquin along the Temple Yard. The palanquin round is a specially of the annual festival of this Temple, during which various services in the form of ritual of Veda, Oral and instrumental music, dance and Yakashagana are performed by scholars and artists from far and near. Their number determines the number of rounds which keeps increasing year by year. Every day the Ashthavadhana service I offered to the deity in the Vasantha Mantap. After the termination of the Bali the nightly Mahapooja is performed.
This is the first day of the solar year. Because the temple follows the solar colander this is the first day of the year for the Temple too. On the day of Mesha Sankramana, the day of the spring equinox, after the evening Pooja a special ritual is observed. The new almanac along with rice, a coconut, a mirror and ornaments is placed on the plate and worshipped. At dawn the auspicious presence of this plate is ritually visited first thing after the Yugadi Bali. It is believed to be a most happy omen that ensures happiness and prosperity for the whole year So is it prayed After the nightly Bali the new almanac is read out and analyzed with a view to taking stock of what the planetary positions and movements hold for the year.
On the third day, after the nightly Bali inside the shrine, the deity, seated in the smaller chariot called chandramandala, is taken in a procession to Jalakadakatte, a spot half a kilometer to the east of the Temple. This is a convention. On the way, the deity is worshipped on the platforms or spots decorated with arches and wreaths by the devotees. Since the procession is taken eastwards it is called Moodusavari.
Festival of the Silver Chariot (Rajatha Rathothsava)
This takes place on the fifth day. The deity is seated in the silver chariot drawn in the car street by devotees. Various art troupes participate in this procession with their performances.
This is the reverse of the eastward procession and takes place on the sixth day. After the midday Mahapooja on that day a special Bhoga Seva is offered to Brhama.
After the Mahapooja at 10.00 in the morning of the seventh day the Bali set off. After the customary Pumpata and Udku (musical instruments played by percussion) rounds the deity is taken into the car street. The grand Rathothsava (Chariot festival) follows. This popularly referred to in the local dialects the festival of the bigger chariot (Dodda Theru–Brahma Ratha). After the ascendance of the deity to the chariot the Ratha Hoovina Pooja (worship with flowers) is offered and the chariot is drawn by devotees up to the specific place near the shanbogh-house in the car street, worshipped there and returns. The deity is then brought down from the chariot and worshipped at the designated spots specially made up for the occasion. The deity, after this, is brought into the Temple premises for the next round of circumambulation, along the outer yard, characterized by the beating of drums all beaten together and to a single rhythm (called the Chende round after the name of the musical instrument played by percussion). Prasada is distributed; the processional idol (Bali Murthi) is worshipped and dinner is served. In the evening there is the usual Bali marked by the silver chariot round and the palanquin round offered as service. As per the convention the Radha Krishna characters of all four Yakshagana troupes take part in the palanquin round. After the termination of the Bali inside the shrine Mahapooja is performed, food served and the devotee retire for the day then follows a unique kind of Bali called the Bhutha Bali. It is unique in that only a selected few (the selection being determined by convention) can participate in it unlike in all other Bali on all other days which are open to all devotees. Other are prohibited to participate. The Prasada distributed after this Bali an exclusive privilege of the personnel of the Temple. The deity is then reposed in bed of flowers offered as gift by devotees and the door closed. (Shayana-Kavata Bhandana).
The ceremonial Immersion (Avabhritha)
The door of the sanctum is opened (Kavatodhaghatana) at 6.30 in the morning on the eighth day and deity is offered the sixteen served worship (Shodashopachara Pooja) which lasts about two hours. Witnessing this unique worship is rare and holy privilege. The flowers offered by the devotees the previous day and which made up the bed for the deity are distributed as Prasada. The service of Thulabhara (weighing in the balance) is offered next. Midday Mahapooja and dinner follow. At 6.00 pm the Bali sets and the deity is taken in palanquin to Yekkaru (Thangadi) 2 km away from the Temple. Festival celebrations follow while returning the deity receives worship at designated spots. Near the Negaragundi platform the deity meets with the Kodamanithaya is Shibaroor. The deity is brought in a grand procession to the car street. The nightly Rathosthsava takes place with the deity borne in the flower decked big chariot (Brahma Ratha) drawn in the car street. Then the deity is brought down from the big chariot, taken in the Chandra Mandala (smaller Chariot, to the lake of immersion at ajar and the ritual immersion in the Nandini is solemnized. On returning the deity and the devotees are treated to Agni-keli (a fire sport characterized by the throwing of burning torches by two large groups at each other) and show of fireworks. Having been worshipped in specific spots (Katte Pooja) the deity, led by the Kodamanithaya, is taken in a palanquin into the Temple for a shower round the outer yard. Thus the celebrations last the whole night from 6.00 to 6.00. Finally the Temple flag is lowered.
On all these days of the annual festival religion-cultural programs are held. Scholars and artists of national and even of international fame participate in these.
Starting on the first day of the bright fortnight of Vaishaka (the spring-month), the Vasantha Pooja is performed throughout the month. Rites such as Bali and special worship in the Vasantha Mantapa take place. The large quantities of flowers and fruits offered and sanctified customarily are distributed among devotees. Devotees may offer the spring pooja as service too.
The Bhoga Service:
On Vrishabha Sankramana Chamundi and the deities of her family are propitiated with the Bhoga Service (a service characterized by feasting).
attanaje (The Tenth day of the second solar month)
On this day of the Vrishabha Month the last festival of the year is celebrated with an Uthsava Bali. The tour of the six Yakshagana troupes terminates on this day. On the following day the service performance by these troupes on the six podiums set up for the occasion in the car street constitutes the grand finale of the tour for the year after which the troupes withdraw for the year.
On the fifth day of the bright fortnight of Shravana (The fifth loner month) Nagara Panachami is celebrated in two Naga shrines of the Temple. On behalf of the devotees and of the Temple special oblations and worship (called Thambila) are ritually offered.
The whole of the Simha month (August-September fortnights) has been considered holy in the Temple. On the Tuesday and Friday of the month the throng of devotees is more than on other days on any of these Fridays the number of flower–worship (Hoovina Pooja) vowed and offered as service easily across 6000.
The Solar Rigupakarma
Upakarma (The ceremony of wearing a new holy thread) is observed in the Temple in the Shravana Nakshathra (An asterism on the moon’s path) of the Simha month under the stewardship of the Chief Priest of the Temple.
Sri Krishna Janmasthami
On the eighth day of the dark fortnight of the Simha month Krishna Janmasthami is celebrated on a grand scale. Mosarakuduke (the ceremonial folk sport of fetching down the earthen pot filled with curd and hung on top of a pole smeared with oil) is celebrated in the premises of the Gopalakrishna Katte (platform) in the evening of the following day. This is followed by a Yakshagana performance during the night.
The festival of the spike of corn
In the Hastha Nakshathra accruing in the bright fortnight of the Bhadrapada month this unique festival of celebration prosperity and well-being is observed. Sharply at sunrise a bundle of spikes of corn is worshipped and sanctified in the shrine. The villagers take these spikes home in a ceremonial procession accompanied with the playing of pipes, horns and drums. At home they worship them once again and tie them on the lintels of doors and on the granary. At midday large numbers of people drawn from all over the district are treated a new to a new rice feast.
Sri Ganesh Chathurthi
This falls on the fourth day of the bright fortnight of the Bhadrapada month. A fire sacrifice for lord Ganesha and a special worship at his shrine are performed in connection with this auspicious day in order to propitiate the National Deity who is also looked upon as the remover of hindrances and bestowed of success.
The Autmnal Navarathri (Shravanarathri)
On the first day of the bright fortnight of the Ashwini month starts the nine day long Navarathri festival. At midday a fire sacrifice for goddess chandika is offered as a vowed service; in the evening nine Ranga Poojas and devotional recital bracketing the span of the nine Poojas punctuate this celebration. The recital is a regular feature of all the nine days.
On the fifth day of Navarathri a chandika fire sacrifice is performed a midday on behalf of the Temple at night the Suvasini Pooja is solemnized.
This is the ninth and the last day of the Navarathri. The Mother is propitiated with Kadabu (rice cake cylindrical or globular in shape) a single Rangapooja is offered on this day what with a majority of the people of the area bringing their own arathi (a burning lamp of thick cotton threads dipped in oil and placed on a platter) and the single Pooja spanning a full three hours. After the Pooja terminates the racial that constituted the highlight of the past nine days of celebration. The ritual offering of Kadabu is the special feature of the proceedings of the day and also of the whole festival.
Cultural performances like classical music, Bharatha Natya and Yakshagana play take place on all the nine days.
This day is observed as Madhwa Jayanthi (the Birthday of the great preceptor Madhwacharya). As part of the religious programmers debates and talks by scholars on philosophical spiritual matters are held.
The fourteenth day of the dark fortnight of the Ashwin month is celebrated in the Temple in a unique for. In connection with this festive day oil is distributed among the poor in society in order to enable them to have the oil bath, a customary ritual observed on the day of Naraka Chathuradashi.
Deepavali – Bali Padya:
On the following new moon day Deepavali is observed with ritual: at midday, chandika Havana by the members of the family of the priests of the Temple and at night, Uthsava Bali which is a resumption after the Bali was withdrawn for the year on the tenth day of the Vrishabha month (This effectively means that the circuit of the ceremonial Bali ends towards the onset of the rainy season and resumes well after the rains are over) the next day is Bali Padya.
Form the first of the fortnight of the Karthika Month to the twelfth, called the Uththana Dvadasi, Thulasi Pooja is observed every day after the Mahapooja at night. In the evening of Dvadasi a special ritual called Kshirabdhi (The Ocean of milk) is observed.
This falls on the fifth day of the dark fortnight of the Karthika month. Uthsava Bali of the idol takes place and the idol is kept and worshipped in an arbor overhung with vegetables, fruits and flowers and designed by the members of the priestly family with the cooperation of devotees from far and near.
The Bhajana (recital of devotional songs) that commences on the day of Deepavali (the first Karthika) terminates on the twenty-fourth of the month after 24 days of uninterrupted Bhajana service at the evenings. This valediction (Mangalothsava) is a grand occasion what with many Bhajana troupes from all over the district participating in it.
The Setting out of the Yakshagana Troupes:
A day will be fixed after the Deepothsava for the debut of the Yakshagana shows of the year. On that day the six troupes of the Temple (popularly and conventionally called the Dashavathara Melas) will each put up their first performance on the five grand podiums made for the occasion in the premises of the Temple. The tour proper for the year starts on the next day to end on the tenth Vaishaka.
Starting on Dhanu Sankramana the midday Mahapooja is held at 7.00 in the morning for period of a month. i,e. spanning the entire Dhanu Month. Food (Santharpana) is served during this month immediately after the Mahapooja in the morning.
The full moon day of the Magha month is the auspicious day Nandini flowed as a stream. The memory of the event is celebrated with the offering of special milk Payasa (a kind of sweet pudding) to the Mother as a token of the earth’s gratitude for the blessing received.
In the evening a Yakshagana narrative Thala Maddale (the oral rendering of a Yakshagana narrative with the verses of the narrative sung to the accompaniment of the musical instruments of percussion and explicated by artists each playing a role) is performed by senior artists.
This literally means the worship in the zodiacal sign. The nine planets are worshipped on the eve of the sun’s transition (sankramana) from Aquarius (Kumbha) to Pisces (Meena).
The Navagrahadhana (worship of the nine planets) is ritually solemnized in the morning with Bhajana. At noon the processional idol is placed before the huge quantity of rice heaped (pyramidically or conically) on a bed (popularly called Palla) of coconut leaves and worshipped. It is a convention that the rice thus sanctified is served to devotees as Prasada (a gratuity as blessing). In the evening a host of rituals are observed the greater Ranga Pooja (the larger version of the usual Ranga Pooja, larger both in terms of paraphernalia required and of the duration of performance), Uthsava Bali and the round the clock Bhajana, a specialty of the day. At sunrise the next morning the Bhajana is rounded off with its Brahmarpana followed by the Mangala Pooja.
Abhisheka with Coconut Water
The slayer of Arunasura, Bhramari, was a horrifying forms the gods and the sages like Jabli despaired to see her. In order to tranquil and propitiate her they got the Kalpavriksha brought down to earth and offered her a ritual salutation with the water of its tender coconuts. Pleased the Devi resumed her pleasant form. As such, tender coconut Abhisheka (ablution) is a special service in the Temple. Drinking the water of a tender coconut in the temple premises is prohibited.
Special service at the shrine
These include tender coconut water ablution, Chandika Yaga, Thrikala Pooja, Silver chariot festival, Golden–Palanquin festival, Brahmarathothsava etc. apart from these there are other services like Swayamvara Pooja, Graha Shanthi (a rite to propitiate the nine heavenly bodies), Durga Homa, various kinds of fire sacrifice and Mrithyunjaya Homa. These are belter known as Prayschitha sacrifice and worships (rituals of atonement).
The Temple makes provision and arrangements for the devotee to have the occasional and ordained Theerthasnana believed to redeem him from his sins and misfortunates.