Above: Brahmotsavam - KalpaVriksha Vahanam
Above: Brahmotsavam - Seshavahanam
Above: Brahmotsavam - Garuda Vahanam
Above: Brahmotsavam - Hanumantha Vahanam
Above: Brahmotsavam - Kalyana utsavam
Above: Brahmotsavam - Rathotsavam
The Temple has been celebrating Annual multi day Brahmotsavams since 2007. The event generally takes place in July and is spread over several days. The Supreme Lord, Sriman Narayana, instructed Lord Brahma to celebrate Brahotsavam in a very grand manner for the benefit of mankind. Brahmotsavam is among the most important festivals to be celebrated in all of the major Divyadesams in India, example, Tirupati, Srirangam, Kanchipuram, etc. The Sri Ranganatha Temple, Pomona Brahmotsavam festival is now being recognized as one of the largest Brahmotsvam festivals in the USA.
During the various Brahmotsavam days, the Supreme Ruler of the Three Worlds, Lord Sri Ranganatha, is carried around the Temple in various majestic Vahanams (Mounts or Vehicles) and in various delightful Alankarams. It is a sight to be seen, for words can hardly describe the Beauty and Splendor and Divine Experience of the Brahmotsavam. The Temple currently has 4 silver clad enchanting Vahanams – KalpaVriksha, Sesha, Garuda and Hanumantha. Each of these Vahanams (and accompanying poles) is around 800 pounds. Typically, 2 priests stand on top of the vahanam carrying an umbrella each to provide shade to the Supreme Lord. The total weight can be in excess of 1,000 pounds. The Temple has over 100 dedicated blessed Vahanam volunteers who delight in carrying, on their shoulders, the Majestic Lord seated on the Vahanam, around the Temple. All of these volunteers are dressed in traditional attire (dhothis, no shirts) and the sight of them carrying the Most Beautiful and All Powerful Shriyapathi, in all His Splendor and Majesty, to the musical accompaniment of nadaswaram, thavil, divyaprabhandam and Vedam, is a feast to behold and creates a feeling of Bhuloka Vaikuntam in Pomona, New York. Starting in 2009, the Temple will also have a 24 feet high silver and teak multi-ton Chariot (Thiruther) donated by a devotee couple.
The important events include:
Dwaja Aroham: This is the traditional hoisting of The Lord’s Flag with the picture of Sri Garuda on it, which marks the start of the festivities.
Kalpavriksha Vahanam: The Lord’s vahanam on this day is the KalpaVriksha Tree, or the Celestial Wish Granting Tree. The Sweet Adorable Lord gives darshan as The Sweet Adorable Sri Venugopala playing his flute underneath the tree and mesmerizing all His devotees.
Sesha Vahanam: The Lord gives darshan on this day as Sri Paramapadanatha, majestically seated on the Sesha Vahanam, as the Supreme Lord of Vaikuntam, the Universe and beyond the Universe. The alankarams (decorations) are breath taking and the Lord beckons His devotees to worship His Lotus Feet.
Garuda Vahanam: This is an enthralling event with exquisite and elaborate decorations. The Delightful and All Powerful Lord is seated on the Garuda Vahanam and blesses all His devotees. In 2008, after the devotees recited VishnuSaharanam, they witnessed a lone Garuda in the clear sky doing pradakshnam above the Sri Garuda Vahanam. This was witnessed by over 100 devotees. Everyone was so mesmerized by that event that they did not even think of taking pictures. Please click on Divine SriGaruda Sighting to read some of their testimonials.
Hanumantha Vahanam: Sri Hanumantha, the Lord’s Supreme Devotee, carries Sri SeethasamethaRamachandra on this day. Sriman Narayana’s avatar as the Supremely Merciful SriRamachandra is remembered by one and all on this day. All of the Acharya’s Srimukhams are read out in front of the Lord and melodious bhajans fill the air.
Kalyana Utsavam: An elaborate event celebrating the wedding of the Divya Dampathis – Lord Sri Ranganatha and Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. Garlands are exchanged by the Bridegroom and Brides’ parties, there are dances and games, feasts and floral decorations, and melodious nadaswaram and thavil music to mark the Divine Wedding.
Rathotsavam: During Rathotsavam or Chariot (ThiruTher) festival, the Supreme Lord and His Consorts are taken around the Temple in a 24 feet high silver and teak multi-ton Chariot pulled by hundreds of devotees, amid chanting of divyaprabhandham and vedam, singing of bhajans, and the melodious nadaswaram and thavil. Rathotsavam Commenced in year 2009.
Pushpayagam: On this day, the Supreme Lord and His Consorts are worshipped with thousands of beautiful and colorful flowers of various kinds.
ChakaraSanam: After Thirumanjanam (Abhisekam) to the Divya Dampathi (Lord Sri Ranganatha and SriDevi and BhuDevi), the Holy Chakram (Discus) of the Supreme Lord is immersed (and taken out) of a body of water on the Temple grounds. Simultaneously, devotees enter the Holy water are sprinkled with the Holy water so that they may receive the Blessings of the Divya Dampathi
Gaja (Elephant) Vahanam: Starting in 2011 - The majestic Airavatha, the Celestial Emperor Elephant, carries the Divine Emperor of the Three Worlds, Lord Ranganatha along with His Consort, around the Temple. A priest, sits as a servant, behind the Lord carrying an umbrella. The Temple’s magnificent and enormous GajaVahanam is made of teak, silver and gold and weighs a few tons. The divine sight of the Lord on the GajaVahanam reminds His devotees of His Supremacy over the Universe and beyond the Universe and inspires all to surrender at His Lotus Feet.
Ashwa (Horse) Vahanam: Starting in 2011 - Lord Ranganatha, gives darshan as RajaMannar riding on a Celestial Horse. The Lord, in His role as the King of the Universe, is in a sportive mood and races on the AshwaVahanam, on a royal hunting expedition.