The Srirangam temple dedicated to Lord Ranganathaswamy, a resting avatar of Lord Vishnu, is rich in history, culture, and beauty, offering a lot to its devotees. It is believed that this temple is the first amongst the 108 Divya Desams (holy abode) of Lord Vishnu. The temple is home to various festivals (utsavam) and processions that take place throughout the year. So, if you are planning to visit this magnificent temple, then below are some of the few festivals that you should take into consideration while planning your visit.
Sri Jayanthi is a grand festival celebrated in the temple with the utmost fervor. This festival witnesses the birthday celebrations of Lord Krishna that falls on the 8th day of Tamil ashadha (month in Hindu calendar). On this day, the idol of Lord Krishna along with the idol of Nadagopan and Yashoda is purified with holy water. This festival of Sri Jayanthi marks a grand time at the temple with decorated idols, colorful processions and cheerful cries of devotees along the streets, transforming the whole atmosphere into a divine setting.
The 9-day Oonjal festival, also known as Dolothsavam is another festival of prime importance in Srirangam. As per the age-old beliefs, this festival is celebrated to remove possible adversities (dosham). It’s been over 500 years now that this nine-day utsavam is being celebrated. It commences eight days before Ekadesi, during the dark fortnight of the Tamil month Aipasi (October-December). The onset of Ekadesi marks the end of Oonjal. During this festival, you'll witness a large number of devotees gathering in the oonjal mandapam and reciting Vedic mantras and songs in Tamil to please the Lord.
It is one of the most important festivals celebrated in the Srirangam temple. The festival continues for 21 days and is held in December/January where a set of centuries-old rituals are followed. For one day during this festival, Lord Ranganatha takes the seat of the virtual king and for that one day, he is known as Sri Rangarajan. Spiritual fervor permeats the entire temple town of Srirangam as devotees turn out in huge numbers to worship Lord Ranganatha, chanting holy prayers. A magnificent procession during this festival is the major attraction of Ekadesi, attracting lakhs of pilgrims from across the world.
This festival is celebrated to cleanse the idols of gods and to rectify the mistakes that may have happened during daily pooja services offered to Lord Ranganathaswamy. It is celebrated in the Tamil month Aani (August- September). The festival starts with cleansing of idols, followed by removal of the old holy thread and replacing it with a new one. On the first day of the festival, 365 thiruvaradhanam (idol worship) are performed. The next day, same procedure is followed with 1008 thiruvaradhanam on all idols.
If you visit Srirangam temple during these festivals, you'll not only witness the magnificence and grandeur of the temple but also get to witness its rich culture and old-age traditions and rituals