It is during the time of different festivals at tirupati of large and small degrees, around the year that the Tirumala wears a look of festivity from time to time. Brahmotsavam is the largest spectacular festival of all and is held during the Ashweejam/kanya month which in English calendar is about September and October.
Before a few days of the start of Brahmotsavam which is a nine day festival filled with colors, the lord Venkateswara temple is cleaned. This process is known as Aalaya suddhi or Koil Alwar Tirumanjanam. The total of the surroundings of the hill is cleaned with spring water and undergoes illumination and decoration. On the night before the festivals at balaji temple, Vishvaksena, who is the Lord’s Commander in chief goes along the mada streets in procession around the whole temple and invites all gods and celestial figures to be a part of the Brahmotsavam.
The officials of the temple who look after the arrangements accompany the procession and invoke Anantha, Vishvaksena, Sudarshana and Garuda, and bring earth and arrange it in nine different places in decorated Paalike which are earthen decorated pots. Nava dhaanyam or Nine cereals are put in them for germination. This is a preparatory offer to the celestials or Nithyasuris who reside in the temples and the ritual is known as Ankuraarpanam. In the Yaagashaala, a poorna kumbham is placed where there will be homas conducted at the time of the festivals at tirupati. After this, vishvaksena is given due honors at Thirumalaraya Mandapam.
The festivals at balaji temple start within a lot of religious excitement with vedic hymns being recited and playing of Naadaswaram music in traditional manner. It is during the evening that the diety Sri Malayappa Swami along with his companions Bhoodevi and Sridevi go around in a colorful mounting in the Golden Tiruchi or the Palanquin. After that is the Dwaja Arohanam or the religious flag hoisting by the chief priest who hoists the Garuda flag and this is known as the Garudadhwaja on Dwajasthambam, which is the mark of the start of the festival. The gods are taken out almost every day and in the night with companions in huge processions on various kinds of vehicles or Vaahanas. The main Vaahan is the Brahma Ratham which is taken along with other decorated elephants and horses with the Veda Ghoshain and Mangala Vaaclyain during the festivals at balaji temple. According to ancient beliefs, this festival was initiated by Brahma. As a mark of this legend, the Ratham has Lord Brahma seated on it as if overlooking the festivities being carried out safely. Finally, when the festivals at tirupati are over, the deities take a sacred bath which is done with herbal waters in the process known as Snapana Tiruinanjanam.
The festival of Adhyayanotsavam takes about 20 days, beginning before 10 days of Vaikunta Ekadashi, usually in the month of Maargaseersh which is around December and January. The initial 10 days are known as Pahalpaththu while the next 10 days are celebrated as Raapatththu. During this festival Sri Malayappa and his companions are moved about in a procession with huge chanting of Naalaayira Divya Prabhandam.
Pavitrotsavam is a festival of 5 days conducted as a purificatory function in the Shravana month, which is usually during June and July and it starts at the time of Shukla Dashami.
English New Year Day
The hill shrine is visited by devotees in lakhs for darshan and blessings of the lord on the day of English New Year. People seem to be coming before the 1st of January and continue a few days after.
Makar Sankranti, which is one of the important festivals at tirupati is celebrated during the Makara month which is in mid January, at a time when the Sun goes into the makara rashi, indicative of the beginning of northward Sun’s journey or Uttarayanam.
Chandramaana Yugadi is celebrated in the time of March-April during Chaitra Shukla Pratipada which is followed by another celebratory phase of Nityotsavani for 40 days.
Vasantotsavam (Spring Festival)
Oonjal Tirunaal or Swing Festival, Grishmotsavam or summer festival, Tiruppalli Odam Tirunaal or Float festival, Pushpa Yaagam, Pushpa Pallaki and many others like Ratha Saptami are important festivals at tirupati that are celebrated in this famous temple of Tirumala.
The Lord’s marriage is celebrated with padmavathi during the month of May.