Mukkoti (Vaikunta) Ekadasi” festival - popular at Bhadrachalam ''Sri Sita Ramachandra'' temple

Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam is quite popular for “Mukkoti (Vaikunta) Ekadasi” festival - 10 day event and just like Srirangam Ranganatha Swamy temple in Tamil nadu, it is the main venue of this annual festival and  lakhs of devotees will flock to the town to attend the festivities.  At  this temple  the avatar of  God   Rama is reenacted  as  part of  Mukkoti Ekadasi festival - seventh day.  Kancherla  Gopanna  (c 1620 – 1680) popularly known as Bhakta Ramadasu or Bhadrachala Ramadasu, as  per  documented history constructed his temple in the 17th century CE - more than  370 years ago).

Sri Sitaramachandra Swamy temple in Bhadrachalam

This year at the historic Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy temple  ''Mukkoti  Ekadasi'' is  scheduled to take place on January 2, 2023.The festival will commence with  Adyayanoschavalu ritual and the idol of Sri Rama will appear in  Machyavatharam. The celebrations will continue till the commencement of two-day Vilaposchavalu ritual.

location mal. Bhadrachlam, Telangana.

Already arrangements are in full swing for the ensuing festival  and the  smooth conduct of the Teppotsavam and Uttara Dwara Darshanam  (Sorgavasal Thirappu - opening of the gates to the Heaven ) on January 1 and 2, respectively.  The district administration formed special teams to take care of health, sanitation and drinking water supply in the temple town during the festivities.  

Special care is to be taken with respect to inspection of the ‘Hamsa Vahanam’ (Swan-shaped boat) and submission of  a fitness certificate in advance to ensure smooth conduct of the ‘Teppotsavam’ in the Godavari  river at Bhadrachalam on January 1, 2023.

Hamsa vahana flot festival, Bhadrachalam, youtube.

Mukkoti Ekadasi Bhadrachalam Sitaramchnda temple 

Unfortunately in January 2022 on account of Corona-19 threats, the mega annual religious events — the “teppotsavam” and the “uttara dwara darshanam” were  held internally within the precincts of the Temple complex.  The “teppotsavam”  was held  in the “makeshift small tank” at Nithyakalayana mandapam in the presence of the temple priests. on January 12th and 13th there were restrictions on the devotees and crowds within and around the temple complex. 

Bhadrachalam Temple in Telangana is not only an important pilgrimage center for the Hindus, but also  a major venue in this part for Mukkoti Ekadashi that is celebrated during Dhanur Masam on the day of either Pushya or Margasira Suddha Ekadasi (December – January) as per Telugu Calendar. 

Devotees throng the temple to walk through the ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to the heaven’. In countless Vishnu temples across south India  there is  Vaikunta Dwaram or Paramapadha vassal (widely known in Tamil nadu)  that is  kept open opened on this day. This gate remains closed for the  rest of the year.  Devotees walk through the gate and the precinct or Pradhakshana path around the sanctum or innermost sanctuary. Devotees in large numbers  do this ritual in the belief that they will get salvation and be from the joy and the pain of birth-death cycles. .

This Vaikunda  Ekadasi is  is celebrated on a grand  scale at the Tirupati Balaji Temple , AP besides Bhadrachalam (Telangana), Srirangam Sri Ranganatha Temple, Andal temple, Srivilliputhur, Thiruvallikeni  Parthasarathy temple, Chennai and at Azhwar Thirunagari of Tamil nadu. In Karnataka it is celebrated  with religious fervor at Melkote  perumal temple and ISKON in Bangalore. In Kerala, the festival known as Swargavathil Ekadashi is famous at Padmanabha Swamy temple, Thiruvananthapuram.

Normally on the Ekadasi day devotees undertake fasting  and read stories from the epics - Ramayana or Mahabharata or engage in Bhajans or attend religious discourses. The latter are on the decline in Tamil Nadu and elsewhere. During the long festivities in places like Srirangam, etc., most of the family members living close to the temple stick to vegetarian food and engage in meditation.