25 Garuda Sevai procession was held on 29th May this year at Thanjavur, TN attended by lots of devotees

25- Garuda Sevai, Thanjavur city, TN 2024  thehindu.com

Garuda, a significant figure in Hindu mythology, is revered as the king of birds and a majestic, kite-like entity. He is depicted either in a zoomorphic form (a giant bird with partially open wings) or an anthropomorphic form (a man with wings and some avian features). Garuda is portrayed as a protector with the power to swiftly travel anywhere, ever vigilant, and an enemy of all serpents. He is also known as Tarkshya and Vainateya, and serves as the vahana (vehicle) of the Hindu god Vishnu.

God Vishnu with consorts on Garuda vahana. en.wikipedia.org

Above image: God Vishnu with his consorts on  his mount Garuda (Kite). It is a famous drawing by Raja Ravi Varma of Kerala............... 

Garuda Sevai is an important and auspicious ritual during the Brahmotsavam in Vishnu temples in South India. In this ritual, processional idols of Vishnu, seated atop the vahana Garuda, are taken around the four main Maada streets in the months of May or June. At the Tirupati Balaji Temple in Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh, Lord Vishnu is taken around the temple street atop Garuda for public worship. Worshipping the lord with Garuda is said to remove darkness and bring prosperity. In places like Tirupati, the Garuda Vahana procession is usually held at night. In other locations, such as Nachiyar Kovil near Kumbakonam, Thanjavur city, and Kanchipuram in Tamil Nadu, Garuda Sevai involves multiple temples participating in a religious procession that lasts for several hours in the morning.

old image Sarangapani temple garuda sevai, Kumbakonam

 The most important Garuda V procession is held at the world-famous Tirupati Balaji Temple, attracting thousands of devotees who throng the holy hill.

This year, the annual Garuda Sevai festival organized by the Thanjavur Palace Devasthanam was held on Wednesday, May 29. This time, as many as 25 temples participated in the grand event.

The decorated idol of Sri Neelamegaperumal of Vennatrankarai, mounted on the ‘Garuda Vahanam’, was brought in a procession from the temple precincts at Vennatrankarai to the four Raja Veedhis in Old Thanjavur town. The ‘Garuda Vahanam’ of Sri Neelamega Perumal was followed by the decorated idol of Sri Manikundra Perumal, also mounted on another ‘Garuda Vahanam’.

As the ‘Garuda Vahanam’ of Sri Neelamega Perumal and Sri Manikundra Perumal entered the East Raja Veedhi through Kodimarathumoolai around 7 a.m.,  23 more ‘Garuda Vahanams’ carrying the decorated idols of the presiding deities of other Perumal temples joined the procession.

The grand 25-Garuda Sevai festival, a procession of 25 Garuda Vahanams along the four Raja Veedhis, concluded  around noon as the Neelamega perumal and Manikundra perumal temples ‘Garuda Vahanams’ returned to their respective temples at Palliaghraharam.

On Thursday, a similar festival, 'Navaneetha Sevai,' was held, -  the presiding deities of Perumal temples, decorated as 'Navaneetha Krishnan,' were taken reverentially in a procession along the four Raja Veedhis, according to official sources.