Tirumala Brahmotsavam is an annual festival celebrated for nine days in September and October at the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
The celebration attracts pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the country.
In 2012, it will be celebrated from September 17 to September 26, 2012.
The Brahmotsavam festival is one of the most important and auspicious functions in Tirupati. Popular stories trace the origin of this celebration to Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Sri Balaji at Tirupati. Brahma worshiped Sri 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 "Brahma's Utsavam." In Tirumala, Brahmotsavam is celebrated in October.
The Brahmotsava is performed over a nine-day period. On the evening prior to the start of the first day, the rite of "Ankurarpana" (sowing of the seeds to signify fertility, prosperity and abundance) is performed along with a festival for Sri Vishvaksena (the leader of Narayana's retinue who removes obstacles and protects worship).
On the first day, the main activity is the "Dhvajarohana," the hoisting of the Garuda flag at the Dhvajastambham. This signifies the commencement of the Brahmotsava. It is believed that Garuda goes to Devalokam and invites the Devas to attend the function.
During the nine days of the festival, the religious activities include daily homas and processions for the utsava murti on different vahanas, which are the chariots that can be seen in the Temple. Every evening, the utsava vigrahas are decorated with different alankarams.
The concluding day is the Janma Nakshatra (birth star) of Sri Balaji, which is celebrated in a grand way with Avabhritha Utsava (special abhishekams for the utsava murti). In Tirupati, the Sudarsana Chakra is bathed in the Pushkarini and all the devotees bathe afterwards. In Aurora, a priest takes the Sudarsana Chakra on his head and takes a holy bath near the Dhvajastambham. Afterwards, the Chakra is placed on a high platform, so the devotees can walk under it and be blessed with the water dripping down from Sudarsana.
The celebration officially concludes with "Dhvajavarohanam," the lowering of the Garuda flag. The priests pay respects to Gods and Sages with the chanting of Vedic mantras and see them off on their return to the Devaloka.
The Brahmotsavam celebration provides a unique opportunity for all devotees to participate in the festivities and utsavas and experience the "Vaikuntha Anubhava" (heavenly enjoyment and feeling) and receive the blessings of Sri Venkateswara Swami.
Every year, millions of devotees witness the processions,celebrations during the annual Brahmotsavams of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala. Every day of Brahmotsavam will be a feast for the eyes of the devotees who gather there. On the first day the Garudadhwaja (flag with the emblem of a black garuda) is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham.
A festive procession of Lord Venkateswara on the Pedda Seshavahana proceeds around the four streets of the main temple for two hours until midnight. Ankurarpana and Senadhipati Utsavam are celebrated on the day preceding the first day of Brahmotsavam.
Some interesting observations during brahmotsavas are: As incredibly as the swan which separates the water content from milk, the reigning deity of the seven hills too, on Hamsavahan, relegates the paap and blesses the bhakta based on his punya. As the powerful snake transforms itself as a vehicle for the Lord during the Seshavahan and Chota Seshavahan in the Brahmotsavam celebrations, the essence of the Sharanagati Tatva explains the moral behind this utsav. The initial prayers offered at the Dwajarohan utsav and Garudotsav is to pray for an unscathed living with high moral values, while Garuda, requested by the Lord himself to stay in the hills, guards the skies from anything untoward coming by.