Ten days long Brahmotsavam, famous as Rath ka Mela, began in Vrindavan’s Rangji Mandir on Monday. The festival is celebrated every year during the month of March or April, in strict accordance with the shastras. Lord Rangnath ji Maharaj is taken out to the Bade Bagicha, during this time in a procession. Bade Bagicha is the sprawling garden of Rangnath situated near the Katyayani Temple. Last year the celebration of the festival was stopped mid way due to the pandemic. The Rath couldn’t be taken out as the Mathura administration denied permission.
Brahmotsavam festival is the most important and auspicious function in all the temples of the world belonging to the Ramanuja Sampraydaya. Everyday there are processions in the morning and in the evening. The Lordship goes out for these processions, mounted on different vahans for about ten days. Every carrier (Vahan) of the Lord has a different significance.
The religious activities of the festival include the daily yajnas and procession for the utsava murti (movable deities) on different carriers, made of gold silver, sandal wood etc. The Utsava deities are decorated with different ornaments.
On the eve of the prior to the start of the first day, the rite of Ankurapana is performed along with a festival for Shri Vishaksena (the leader of Narayana’s retinue who removes obstacles and protects worship). The First day of the festival saw Lord Rangnath mounted on ‘Purna Kothi’. The procession was welcomed by the devotees offering Bhog and performing Aarati.
The Rangnath temple’s Brahmotsava celebration is as old as 160 years. The British Collector F.S. Growse has mentioned it in his memoir. Popular stories trace the origin of this celebration to Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Shri Balaji at Tirupati. Brahma worshipped Shri Balaji on the banks of the holy Pushkarini in Tirupati as a way to give thanks for the Lord’s protection of mankind. Hence, this utsava bears his name as “Brahmotsavam,” which means the festival of Brahma. Every temple which has the Divyadesh has a water body (Pushkarini) and a garden.
Talking to Vrindavan Today, Smt. Anagha Srinivasan, the Chief Executive Officer of the temple said, “The Brahmotsavam celebration provides a unique opportunity for all devotees to participate in the festivity and utsavas and experience Vaikunta in Vrindavan.”
The temple management, the Municipal Corporation and the District Administration make elaborate arrangements for the festival. Tight security is also put in place. Thousands of devotees from nearby towns and villages come to watch the special illuminations, pandals and arches that are erected around the temple and give the entire place a new look.
The details of the sequence of Divine events are as follows:
29.03.2021 – 8 am to 11 am – Carrier Shri Purna Kothi, 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm, Vehicle Shri Singha (Lion)
30.03.2021 (Tuesday): 8 am to 11 am – Carrier – Shri Surya Prabha; 7 pm to 10.30, Carrier – Shri Hans (Swan)
31.03.2021 (Wednesday): 7am to 10.30 am – Carrier – Shri Garud Ji; 7pm to 10 pm – Carrier Shri Hanuman Ji (Chhoti Atishvaji).
01.04.2021 (Thursday): 8am to 11 am – Carrier Shri Shesh ji; 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm (Kalpa Vriksha)
02.04.2021 (Friday): 7 am to 2 pm – Carrier Palki; 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm, Carrier – Singh Sardul.
03.04.2021 (Saturday): 4 pm to 6 pm – Holi celebration on Vehicle Kaanch ka Viman; 9.30 pm to 12 am, Carrier – Shri Hathi (Elephant)
04.04.2021 (Sunday): 7.30 am to 3 pm, Carrier – Rath (the Grand Chariot)
05.04.2021 (Monday): 7.30 pm to 10.30 pm, Vehicle – Ashwavan (Horse) Badi Atishvaji
06.04.2021 (Tuesday): 7.30 am to 10.30 am (Shri Palki); 12.00 pm to 3.00 pm, bathing in Pushkarini; 8.00 pm to 11.30 pm, Carrier – Shri Chandra Prabha
07.04.2021 (Wednesday): 10.30 pm to 12.30 pm, Carrier – Pushpa Viman