Tirumala: Every year, during the nine-day annual Brahmotsavams of Sri Venkateswara Swamy in Tirumala, Lakshmi, Maha Lakshmi, Padmavathi, Padmaja, Avanija, Vaishnavi and Srinidhi gets the opportunity to lead the grandeur of Vahana Sevas of Sri Malayappa Swamy along four Mada streets in Tirumala.
These Sisters' Act allures tens of thousands of pilgrims every year during the annual fete.
They are not the VIPs or any Celebrities, but the temple elephants which have been relishing the divine festival for the past many years. Among these Seven Pachyderms, Lakshmi is the oldest aged 45years while Sri Nidhi is the youngest with just 14 years.
In the creation of the Almighty, all creatures are equal. Even in His nine-day mega religious festival, not just humans, but decorated Elephants, Horses and Bulls get equal importance and are scheduled to triumph in their roles as "Show Stoppers" of Srivari Vahana Sevas all along the four Mada streets.
Walking to rhythmic music and drum beats they herald the grand arrival of Sri Malayappa and His consorts with majesty. They earn standing ovations from devotees in galleries as they trot along Mada streets throughout the nine-day festivities.
All these blessed animals are maintained in the SV Goshala at Tirumala. There are seven Pachyderms, five Horses and over three dozen Bulls which are being utilised as Front Guards in the procession paraphernalia during important festivals of the TTD-run temples including Sri Govindaraja Swamy, Sri Padmavathi Devi, Sri Kodanda Rama Swamy, Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy, Sri Kapileswara Swamy besides Tirumala temple.
In the Sanatana Dharma, Elephants symbolize royalty, majesty, strength, divinity, abundance, fertility, intelligence, keenness, destructive power, and grasping power. Besides Elephant is the favourite carrier of Sri Mahalakshmi Devi-the Goddess of Wealth and Prosperity. Even during the annual Brahmotsavams in Tirumala, Sri Malayappa takes a celestial ride on Gaja Vahanam on the sixth day evening.
The Horses symbolize speed, beauty, purity, and the expansive power of freedom, grace, and strength. Horses are associated with many Hindu deities as vehicles such as Indra, Surya, Vayu, the Rudras, and Maruthi. The Vahana Sevas of Tirumala culminates with Aswa Vahanam during the annual Brahmotsavams.
The Bulls represent strength, aggression, and fighting power and are the favourite vehicle of Lord Shiva in Hindu Mythology. Nandi Vahanam is observed in all the temples dedicated to Lord Shiva on the auspicious day of Maha Sivaratri. (UNI)