Friday, December 08, 2006

Wedding of the Century

the eagerly awaited marriage of lord srinivasa with goddess padmavati took place in mumbai at the mmrda grounds,bandra-kurla complex, on saturday 2nd and sunday 3rd december. 6 lakhs devotees,70 priests from Tirumala,1800 volunteers,12 performers from chennai for the naadaswaram troupe,rs 50,000 worth of jasmines,kanakambarams & tulsi leaves,6 lakh laddoos and a budget of 2.5 crores says it all. it was a marriage made in heaven. a celestial wedding attended by all the gods and goddesses and devatas and even rishis in attendance. a wedding that cannot be missed.

the vigrahas(idols) of lord srinivasa,sridevi and bhoodevi were brought from a senior archaka's(priest) home in tirumala. a practice which began in the 1700s by the mystic composer annamacharya(1408-1503 ad) of taking the deities outside tirumala for the kalyana utsavam and which was discontinued after his death was restarted by ttd(tirumala tirupati devasthanam) some time ago. this was an extraordinary event. the wedding ceremony took a little more than 2 hours and had all the trappings of a typical sri vaishnavite marriage.

huge digital screens two of them were placed in two corners to make the marriage visible from all parts of the enclosure and outside for those who could not gain entry. Elaborate arrangements were made for smooth conduction of the ceremony by sies (south indian education society) mumbai. the wedding and other poojas on both the days went off without a hitch. among the vast congregation one could see many iyengar mamas and mamis clad in panchakaccha veshtis and kancheepuram silk saris respectively and the mamas with the vaishnavite mark prominent on their foreheads.

the ceremony began with vishvaksena(commander-in-chief of lord vishnu )aaradhana,followed by punyavachanam,the purification of the area where the marriage was to be conducted .followed by 'ankurapanam' when the 33 crores devatas were invited from the heavens to witness this awesome spectacle. and bless the couple and the people at large who had come to witness this unique function. a short 'sankalpa'(resolution) was done where the gathering was asked to recite a prayer for peace and prosperity,particularly in mumbai. the whole area reverberated with the chanting of the mantra as recited by the 'brihaspati'(main priest and repeated by the congregation. then the actual wedding began.

the invocation to the lord of fire,'agniprathista' was done. after that,goddess padmavati's father lord aakashaganga gifted 'nutanavastram'( new clothes) to the groom. after wearing the new clothes the groom arrived at the mandapa. the groom(lord srinivasa) gifted bright orange & silk saris to the blushing brides(sridevi and bhoodevi). however the brides and groom were not permitted to see each other yet. till the goddess was handed over to her husband by the father .when the 'kanyadaanam' was completed,the 'rakshabandanam' for the priest,lord srinivasa and the goddesses were done. and then the 'maangalyadharanam' took place when the sacred 'mangalasutra'(taali) was symbolically tied on goddesses sridevi and bhoodevi. and before the actual tying,the 'taali' was shown to all devotees for their blessings. and then the 'mangalaaarti' to the newly wed couple was performed to protect them from evil eyes.the ambience resonated with the chanting of "govinda, govinda", the ceremonial music and the singing of annamacharya's compositions. and one of the priests danced with joy chanting "govinda, govinda".

on sunday the 3rd december,the programme started at about 5.45 pm and lasted till 8.15 pm.about 3 lakhs devotees came to watch the celestial wedding.this was the second time that such a wedding was performed outside south india on such a massive scale(the first was on saturday the 2nd december). a rare and once- in- a- lifetime event indeed. the sponsors had made excellent sitting and security arrangements. the utsavamoorthies of the lord and his consorts-sridevi and bhoodevi were placed on platforms on the dais.the programme started with one compere speaking in tamil and another compere translating the same in hindi .interspersed with annamacharya's kirtans,the wedding was conducted as prescribed by the vedas.

both hh jayendra saraswati of the kanchi kamokoti mutt and hh sri andavan swamy of srirangam were present to witness the wedding of the century.


maya said...

Sounded like an amazing event, G! Did you get to be among those seated in the front? Your photos looked pretty close up. thesheer scale of the undertaking is amazing. You know, I did not know what "brihaspati" really meant other than the sarcastic use of the term. I guess I've just earned the title for myself :)

Anonymous said...

What a wonderful event to witness - I envy you!

gs said...

hi maya
the function was really out of the world. we were sitting quite close to the dais. the chief priest is referred to as 'brihaspati' in sanskrit. 'brihaspati' in tamil,saracastically speaking, refers to one who thinks he/she knows everything as you have rightly commented.

hello lotus reads
it was an unforgettable event and permanently etched in my mind.we were very lucky to get good seats.

Anonymous said...