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Vairamudi Festival 2023 - Melkote Cheluva Narayana Swamy Temple Festival

Vairamudi festival, also known as Vairamudi Brahmotsavam, is an important annual festival observed at the Melkote Cheluva Narayana Swamy Temple in Karnataka. The festival attracts more than 400,000 devotees. In 2023, Vairamudi Brahmotsavam will be held from March 28 to April 8. The Vairamudi crown festival will be on the night of April 1 and early morning of April 2 (please clarify with temple authorities as there is always a confusion regarding exact date).

The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu also known as Selva Pillai or Yetiraja Sampath Kumara. The shrine is also known as Thirunarayana Swamy Temple.

Vairamudi, meaning a diamond crown, is made of invaluable diamonds, studded with gold, kept under the safe custody of the Government Treasury.

Story Of Vairamudi Festival

As per Hindu belief, Vairamudi of Bhagavan Srihari Vishnu was stolen by demon Virochana. Vishnu was asleep when the theft happened. Garuda, the divine vehicle of Bhagavan, realized that the crown was stolen. Garuda went after Virochana to the nether world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown. This divine incident is celebrated as Vairamudi festival on the Pushya Nakshatra day in Phalgun month.

Another legend has it that the crown was given to the deity by Bhagavan Sri Krishna.

The annual Brahmotsavam in the temple is observed from Bharani Nakshatra in Phalgun month to Hasta Nakshatra. The Vairamudi procession takes place on the Pushya Nakshatra day.

It is believed that the divine crown should not be exposed to sunlight. So the procession takes place at night.

The crown comes to Melkote from the Government treasury after puja at different places. On the evening of the procession, the crown is placed in front of the sanctum of Sri Ramanujacharya and the head priest places the Vairamudi on the utsava murti of Bhagavan Cheluva Narayana. It is tradition that not even the head priest should look at the Vairamudi with naked eyes until it is fitted onto the Lord. Hence the priest covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.  The utsava commences at 9:00 PM and ends at 3:00 AM. The crown is removed by 3 AM and sealed before police officials and returned to the Government Treasury.

The 13-day long festival includes Garudotsava, Kalyanotsavam, Nagavalli Mahotsava, Maharatotsava.