CHITRAI VIRUPPAN THIRUNNAL (FESTIVAL)
FROM THE PAGES OF HISTORY ……
(Courtesy: Koil Ozhugu III part -Recently released by Sri SriVaishnavasri Krishnamachariar)
(Compiled by Sri S.Rajadesikan, Chennai)
MAN BEHIND THE FESTIVAL:
His Highness Harihara-II was the sangamakula King of the Great VIjayanagara Kingdom. His successor was his son named Viruppana Udayar.
In the year 1371 A.D, though Goppanna Udayar incarnated Namperumal back to Srirangam, the Sanctum Sanctorum and most other important Mandapams were still in ruined condition. Due to this festivals were not been able to take off with due diligence and galore as it was before then.
In the year 1377 A.D, Viruppana Udayar donated 17000 Golden Palettes to the Temple to renovate the ruined portions and completed the work in 6 years with the dedicated help from Krishnadevaraya Uttamanambi of Srirangam.
At the closet of the renovation work, in the year 1383 A.D, a Brahmostavam was celebrated in the month of Chitirai, with aiming Sukla Paksha Revathi as the 9th Day of the festival for the Chitirai Ther, to commemorate the reincarnation of Namperumal regime in Srirangam. It was named after Viruppana Udayar and hence was called as Viruppan Thirunaal.
Viruppana Udayar also donated 52 fertile villages as complimentary to the Temple. Sri Gundu Saaluvayyar, who accompanied him to Srirangam, constructed a Mandapam with Bronze plated and named it as “VenkalaTher”.**
(**Now the Bronze Plate is not seen. Only a wood layer of it is there along with the name).
One can see Namperumal ascending this Mandapam during the Dwajaarohanam for all Brahmostavams.
Traditions Tagged Till now in Viruppan Thirunaal:
Each festival Namperumal celebrates has thousands of Traditional Treasures blended in it. Viruppan Thirunaal is not less in such tags…..! Some of them are…
(1) Azhagiya Manvallam village (see gallery for pictures of this village) was one of Namperumal’s Compliments. It was in the beginning day of the Viruppan Thirunaal, Namperumal ordered the Temple Authorities to make a Title deed to lease the village. This event is still remembered and succeeds the Dwajaarohanam event on the first day of Viruppan Thirunaal.
(2) Since the Festival was first celebrated in 1383 A.D after a gap of 60 years, people from all around Srirangam came to rejoice the festival with their first offerings from their cultivation. The major gathering was from the countryside. Even today we can witness the same gatherings from the nearby villages, thronging the Chitirai Ther (9th Day) in a festive mood to mark the RETURN OF THEIR LORD (NAMPERUMAL) AFTER 60 YEARS…
(Yes, on the day of Chitrai Ther(9th Day of Viruppan Thirunaal), Namperumal is for them only. One can see Namperumal enjoying these villagers Bakthi and Festive Mood like Lord Krishna enjoyed the days in Gokulam)
(3) Viruppan Thirunaal inherits a peculiar but unbelievable tradition too. During this occasion, a clan of Cobblers from a particular village will make the Right side pair slipper (Paduka) for PeriyaPerumal. Similarly another clan of Cobblers from yet another village will make the Left side pair for PeriyaPerumal. Both will be offered in the Temple Granary (ie, Koil Kottaram situated in the Aali Naadan ThiruVedi to the west side of Arya Battal Gate). Both the slippers form a perfect pair.
What is great in it….?
The greatness and mystery till today is that, both the Cobblers do not know each other. Then is it not evident that only PeriyaPerumal has shown them HIS foot size to have a perfect pair.
(The above tradition is not found fully to be in practice today for unknown reasons or for the reasons known only to PeriyaPerumal)
(4) Namperumal chooses and visits Ariya Vysal Mandapam on the 4th day of the festival for Garuda Vahanam. The grove where the Mandapam is situated was once called as “Sarpa Aranyam” (Forest of Snakes). Even today, one can see snake holes near the Mandapam. (See Picture Gallery)..
We can correlate why Namperumal opted to choose this location for Garuda Vahana….!?
(5) The Golden Swan (Thanga Amsa) Vahanam on 6th day Morning and Silver Horse (Velli Kudirai) Vahanam on 8th day morning in Vandaloor Chapparam (Make Shift Mobile Tent) is the traditional feast of Viruppan Thirunaal.
(6) On the 6th day of the festival, Namperumal can be seen at NagaPillai Mandapam for the entire day, before he leaves for Vatta Manai to ascend the Elephant Vahana (Yannai Vahanam). Yet another traditional tag goes in this day which is that the entire Pandal before the NagaPillai Mandapam will be decorated by Vegetables.(Kaaigari Katchi)
(7) On the 9th day of the festival, Namperumal ascends the Chitrai Ther which is on the Revathi Naksthram, Namperumal’s Star. Namperumal outfit himself with the Killi Malai. (6 parrots made out of Nathiyavattai leaves decorate Namperumal’s Garland).
All the above are some tags to be noticed and enjoyed in this Utsavam. There is no End to such tags in all Utsavams Namperumal Celebrates.
Let us remember Folk song in this occasion which tells the beauty of Namperumal’s Horse riding on the 8th day of Viruppan Thirunaal.
“Vaiyali Nadayum , OyyaraKondayum *
Meiyagave Sirupaiyanai Polla *
Oiyyaramagave Iyyan Varugindra *
Ullasa Sevayai En Solvenadi **