Thousands of devotees had assembled atop Chamundi Hill here this morning to witness the annual event of Chamundeshwari Vardhanti Utsava, the birthday of the presiding deity.

Special pujas commenced at 4 am at the temple, but the gates were opened to public only after 8 am. A gold-plated palanquin was specially brought from the Amba Vilas Palace at 10.20 am. Chamundeshwari’s utsavamurthi was installed in the colourfully decorated palanquin with traditional pujas by the Temple Head Priest Shashishekar Dikshit at 10.30 am.

Aarthi was performed to the deity by Pramodadevi Wadiyar, wife of Srikanta Datta Narasimharaja Wadiyar, the scion of the royal family.

Later, the palanquin with the deity was carried around the external periphery of the temple in a colourful procession accompanied by traditional music troupe, a 26-member Palace Karnatak Music troupe and a team playing percussion instruments.

Thousands of devotees had lined up on either side breaking coconuts, performing arathi and showering flower petals. Entry of all vehicles was banned up the hill. Alternatively, KSRTC buses ferried people free of cost from the helipad to the temple like on Ashada Fridays.

Special puja rituals like Rudrabhisheka, Panchamruthabhisheka, Sahasranamarchane were held early in the morning and Mahamangalarathi was held at 10 am. Evening puja includes durbar utsav inside temple premises and Thambula charana, besides special Abhisheka.

The temple was specially decorated with three lakh tones of flowers. The Temple Seva Samithi distributed eight different items of prasadam served on plantain leaves. Devotees too distributed sweets, bisi-bele-baath, mosaranna and other delicacies among other devotees to celebrate the Goddess’ birthday.

Even as the Police personnel on horsebacks attempted to bring order among the throng of devotees, many announcements of people getting lost in the melee were head from the public address system.

Religious significance

The Vardhanti, popularly called Ammanavara Vardhanthi, is observed on the Revathi nakshathra day of Krishna Paksha in the month of Ashada. Though it is observed as the birthday celebrations of goddess Chamundeshwari, in real sense it marks the day when the erstwhile ruler Mummadi Krishnaraja Wadiyar installed a Utsavamurthi (idol's replica) in the sanctum sanctorum.

Courtesy : Star Of Mysore