Mulki Prathishta Punnav is a very holy festival for Gaud Saraswat Brahmins, particularly from South Canara district. Tulasidas Pai, from Panaji, Goa, grandson of the renowned and respected Mulki Shri Bhaskar Bhat has brought us the divine privilege of a photographic journey of the festival, including the teru (chariot fest). Tulasidas also gives us a beautiful personal account of the whole experience.
I consider myself blessed to have been able to participate in every Pratishta Poornima festival held at Sri Venkataramana Temple, Mulky since my birth. This year the festival was graced by the presence of HH Sri Shivananda Saraswati Swamiji of Sri Kavle Math. They performed the customary Tender Coconut (Shiyale) and Bhagirathi Abhishek to Lord Narasimha. The program began with the Nazar Kanike Procession entering the temple early in the morning. Soon after the Prarthana began the Abhishek to Lord Narasimha. First it was the Panchamrita Abhishek followed later on by Shiyale Abhishek till evening (the Shiyales numbered around 10000!!!!). Swamiji entered the temple at around 4 pm and performed the last round of Shiyale Abhishek as also the Bhagirathi Abhishek. It was divinity unparalled.
It is believed that Lord Narasimha is very happy after a whole day’s Abhisheka and thus the wishes of the devotees are granted. This brings in faithful from across the region to come over and seek blessings of the almighty. The number this year was about 20000. Samaradhana (Free Food for All) was conducted at Bhojanshale with every devotee being served the delicious food as Prasad along with Mineral Water as an addition this year to the regular menu.
The Samaradhana was followed by Deepradhana which is a Visual Delight. Late in the night the Maharath Utsav began with Lord Bindu-Madhava (The Utsav Murthy)being seated first on the Golden Palanquin and later on the Maharath. Both the Bhangara Palanki and Teru were beautiful decorated with various flowers. The Rath-Utsav was conducted in a Glorious manner with Fire-Works in between. The Vishranti Pooja followed the Rath-Utsav. Next we had Udharane Suttu wherein the Darshana Patri gave blessings to all the devotees present. Early in the morning we had the Deity adorning the Chandramandal wherein I was lucky to be seated with the Divtika next to the idol. To mark an end to the festival we had the Vasant Pooja. As the last round on the Bhangara Palanki was in progress some devotees performed Madasthan. Another hallmark of the festival is the Enchanting Music played all through the day. The Chanda, Shenai, Saxophone and the Nashik Dhol were Awesome!!
The festivals in the temple are successful largely due to the tremendous service of the Volunteers. Even though the service is physically straining the Love and Devotion towards God ensures the work is a happy and smiling one. Where else do we find hundreds of volunteers cutting the Tender Coconuts & Vegetables, Cleaning the Inner-Temple- Square, Serving the Devotees and Conducting the Rath Utsav with absolute devotion all in one single day!!!
Now looking forward to Ram Navami Festival early next year.
Tulasidas Raghavendra Pai