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Thursday Evening Puja At Tirupati Balaji Temple - Importance – Flower Decoration – Poolangi or Nethra Darshanam

The Thursday evening puja at Tirupati Balaji Temple in Tirumala is of great importance and it is known as poolangi or nethra darshanam. Lord Venkateshwara is adorned with 23 different flowers for this evening seva every week on Thursday.

On Thursday evening, Lord Venkateswara will not be adorned with jewels. His Naamam will be reduced to small size so that His beautiful eyes are seen to its full form. The darshan the devotees get on this day is also called 'Netra Darshan'. It is a belief that, the eyes of Lord will open on the evening on Thursday and He will see all the devotees on this day.

 Flower Decoration – Poolangi or Nethra Darshanam

Every Thursday evening for Poolangi seva, five big baskets filled with flowers are taken from the store room containing flowers by Jeers and Ekangis followed by Tolappacharyas or their followers with Tulasi.

They go round the Dwajasthambam and enter into the Sanctum Sanctorum.

Then a variety of flowers will be adorned on the main murti of Venkateswara in the sanctum sanctorum of the Tirupati Temple.

Lord appears without gold, diamond, precious stones and other precious manmade ornaments. Venkateswara looks simple and Moolavar (the immovable murti in sanctum sanctorum) is dressed only with flower garlands.

At first the Lord’s Head will be covered by 12 different colors of flowers in a round shape (the crown is not adorned). The Head of the Lord will be covered with twelve rounds of flowers each one after and above the other.

The Sikhamani flower with big ring prepared by the thin bark of dry banana skin connected to both sides of the flowers touching the broad shoulders of the Lord will be on the top of the 12 rounds.

The top of the crown will be decorated with a bunch of Jasmine flowers. Different types of flowers of various hues adorning the Lord will give an extraordinary effect. Devotees can never take eye of the floral decoration on the huge murti of Balaji.

Instead of golden crown, a floral crown is worn by the Lord during Poolangi Seva. Then other garlands will be adorned in the following manner.

The Lord wears “Saligrama garland” (from shoulder to His Feet) every day but long flowers will be adorned called 'Saligrama Mala' in place of the golden Saligrama garland on either sides of the murti.

The Lord is seen with both of His Consorts, to the Left and Right side of His Bosom. They are adorned with fragrant flowers. Vakshasthala Ammavaru (the two goddesses who are attached to the bosom of Lord) are adorned with flowers in two rounds.

The Lord's Sankha and Chakra will be decorated with flowers of one round. The Chakra takes the responsibility to protect the Bhaktas (devotees) from evil. He did it when the Elephant King (Gaja raja) was caught by a Crocodile. The Elephant King was in a sportive mood with his queens and was caught in the pond by the crocodile. It tried to pull out from the clutches of the crocodile but could not do it because the crocodile bears lot of strength when it is in water. When it couldn't get rid of it, the Elephant king finally called the Lord to rescue him. Then Lord came down to earth and killed the crocodile with His Chakra (Divine Weapon). The significance of the Sankha is to show His presence and create fear in the minds of the wrong doers. It is an assurance to his Bhaktas, that He will safeguard them under all circumstances.

The Surya Katari is a long Sword to Swami's left side. It will also be adorned with flowers.

Six garlands called 'Bhuja Keerthi' will be decorated on His shoulder.

His ears will be covered by a flower on either side. It is called 'Karnapatra mala'.

The Vaikunta Hastam of the Lord is directed by His Right Hand (Palm) towards His Feet to surrender unto Him and take refuge at His Feet to reach His Abode with no return to this mundane world. He can stay in Vaikunta forever. A garland will be adored to His Vaikunta Hastam. The Lord said in Bhagavad Gita “Mamekam Saranam Vraja” (Take refuge in me).

The left palm put to His waist firmly endorses that He is firm in His division. That Hastam is called 'Kati Hastam'. Kati means waist. The Lord says that take refuge in Me, I will bless you, and give you liberation.

The sacred Feet Thiruvedi Mala or Paadam of the Lord will be covered by a garland round in shape. The sacred feet is the right place for any devotee to surrender himself and get all wishes fulfilled by the Lord. Srimad Vedant Desika has written 'Paduka Sahasram' (1000) one thousand slokas about the Holy feet of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam in a stretch of one single night. Hence the Paaduka or Feet or Padaalu of Srivari is of great religious importance to a devotee.

Thirukkolam – A small garland from the centre of the Kireetam or garland in the first row will be stretched to the corner of the left and right side of the ears giving an extraordinary look. 

Garlands Of Other Deities For Thursday Evening Seva

 After completing the decoration of the Main Deity with twenty one garlands of different kinds of fragrant flowers, the Utsava Murthy with His Consorts, Sri Rama Swamy Varu, Sita and Lakshmana, Ugra Srinivasa Murthi, Sri Devi, Bhoo Devi, Krishna Swami and Rukmini will be adorned with two garlands each.

Koluvu Srinivasa Murthy, Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy and Chakrathalwar will also be garlanded by the fragrant flowers of different odors.

The flowers used are – Malli, Maanusampangi, Manoranjitham, Neelotpadam, Lotus, Vrukshi, Chamanthi, Roja of different colours, Tulasi, Maruvam, Davanam, Kadirpaccha, Parijatham, Pavazhamalli, Nitya jadi, Mollalu, Kanakambaram, Ganneru, Vattiveru, Kuriveru Mogili and so on.

Twenty three varieties of flowers are adorned to Lord Venkateswara (Moolavar) on every Thursday. The flowers spread their fragrance in the whole area of Sanctum Sanctorum. The sweet fragrance of the area makes devotees feel that they are standing in the Vaikunta. Devotees believe that the fragrance of the flowers get doubled because Lord wears those flowers.

Poolangi seva is an important seva to be seen and to seek the blessings of Lord Venkateswara, fully decked by different colors of flowers.