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Vaikunta Ekadashi at Bhadrachalam Sri Rama Temple in Andhra Pradesh

Vaikunta Ekadashi is observed in the Dhanur Masam as per traditional Telugu calendar at Bhadrachalam Sri Rama Temple in Andhra Pradesh. Vaikunta Ekadashi at Bhadrachalam Temple is on January 2, 2023. The festival is popularly known as Mukkoti Ekadasi and attracts more than hundred thousand devotees from India and abroad.

The festival is observed on the Suddha Ekadasi – the eleventh day during the waxing phase of moon – in Pushya or Margasira month which falls during the Dhanurmasam.

Vaikunta Ekadasi is a 21-day festival at Bhadrachalam Devasthanam and is known as Adhyayan Utsavams. Another highlight of the 22-day festival is the Dashavatara Mahotsavam, or the celebration of the 10-incarnations of Lord Vishnu.

Dasami, the day a before Ekadasi, is popularly known as Teppotsavam or boat festival. Lord Rama and Mata Sita are taken in a boat around the Godavari River.

On the Vaikunta Ekadasi day, the main highlight is the opening of the Vaikuntha Dwarams at Northern Gate of the temple at the early morning hours. This door is only opened on this particular day and the popular belief is that passing through this door will attain Moksha.

How is Mukkoti Ekadasi Observed in Bhadrachalam Temple?

  • Mukkoti Ekadasi is observed with fast, prayer, chants and meditation, japa and dhyana.
  • The austerities in connection with Mukkoti  Ekadasi start with Dasami (10th day - the previous day of Ekadasi). 
  • Its strict observance is marked by ‘Ekabhuktam’ or taking food only once on Dashami.
  • Followed on Mukkoti Ekadasi by a rigorous fast or at least a partial fast for those who cannot observe a complete fast for various reasons. 
  • It is followed by breaking of the fast on Dwadasi or the twelfth day of the waxing or bright fortnight. Consuming water and milk is allowed during a rigorous fast or taking fruits along with these during a partial fast. 
  • Observing a fast is supposed to control senses and purify the body. The mind in a body thus restrained, it is felt, will become pure. 
  • A purified body and mind help one to attain proximity with the divine or the Paramatman.

Story of Mukkoti Ekadasi and Importance

Mukkoti Ekadasi is said to be highly significant among all the Ekadasis as Amrita or Ambrosia appeared on that day. The spiritual significance of this day consists in the known tendency of humans to aspire for immortality or Amritatwa in a world governed by mortality or Mritatwa. When the Gods and Demons, the Suras and Asuras churned the mighty ocean (samudra manthan) for Amrita, the latter was born after great effort. The day in which Amrita appeared is celebrated as Vaikunta Ekadasi.