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Devotees celebrate Vaikuntha Ekadashi
festival in Tamil Nadu

by Arun Kannan

     Tiruchirapalli (Tamil Nadu): A large number of people converged from different parts of the country at the Ranganatha shrine in Srirangam, Tamil Nadu, to celebrate the Vaikuntha Ekadashi festival on Wednesday. Devotees thronged the temple premises to offer obeisance to Lord Vishnu, who is known as Lord Ranganatha in the local parlance here. Vaishnavism (the worship of Lord Vishnu) culture holds the belief that Vaikunth Dwaram, the gate to Lord's innner sanctum open on this day. Legend has it that the Lord opened the gate of Vaikuntam (His abode) for two demons in spite of them being against the Him. At Sri Ranganathaswami temple, Lord Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha is adorned is an armour of diamonds (rathnaangi) and is brought to the thousand-Pillared Hall from the sanctum sanctorum through the northern gate known as Paramapada Vasal, the gate to the heaven. This gate is opened once in a year, only on the Vaikuntha Ekadashi day. Devotees of Lord Ranganatha throng the temple during Ekadashi festival as it marks the only occasion when the idol of the God bedecked in diamonds is taken out of the sanctum sanctorum to be placed at Thirumamani Mandapam (thousand pillared hall). "The Vaikuntha Ekadesi festival is celebrated for 20 days and the Tamil ..are sung by the Arayar in special dance format in all these 20 days. People from all over the world come to visit this temple on this day and for their benefit we have also given direct relay, live relay in our website plus other organization has also made efforts to see that this festival is a grand success," said Kavita, the Joint Commissioner of Ranganatha shrine. Arayar Natanam is a dance performed in the temples dedicated to Lord Vishnu in Tamil Nadu. Pilgrims sing devotional songs and chant religious hymns throughout the day in Lord's praise. It is believed that those who get audience with the Lord on this religious occasion, they find place in the His abode. The hall of 1,000 pillars is the most splendid part of the Srirangam temple.Lord Ranganatha then presides over his divine court and is visited by a large number of devotees.
-Jan 8, 2009

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