Special Story-Devotional bonanza at Mada Street at Tirumala

Special Story- Devotional bonanza at Mada Street

  • 451 Vahanam processions a year
  • Gallery to accommodate over 70,000
  • Pune soft engineers perform drums

Tirumala, October 8: While the aged people sit on the galleries chanting Govinda, Govinda, the young ones dance and parade their skills in dancing, drumbeating, singing bhajans and folk arts display.

The square shaped sacred four mada streets surrounding   got up as a longest platform for such performances has been the new address for showcasing the cultural extravaganza at Tirumala during the ongoing Brahmotsavam festival.

On Wednesday some software engineers from Pune performed at the Mada Street ,Nupur Joshi, the Tasha (small drum) player who worked at Siemens, an IT giant in Pune was the star attraction. Jyoti, Asha, Paramesh, Prabhu and also Raj Jaywalker who played huge drums were watched with awe and surprise by the devotees as they danced to the rhythm of the drum beating.

Of the 300 member team of Nadabrahma from Pune, about 100 were the young girls comprising of students, working women and also house wives. ‘We are lucky and blessed to serve Lord Venkateswara .We performed in Ganesh and Dura festivals also ‘said Gomati,22 who like all others  was dressed in spotless white salwar–kameez ensemble Brightly lighted and colorful Bhajan mantapams have been set up at key locations to function as platforms for performance of classical dances and also devotional music concerts With the sacred Srivari Temple in the back ground the holy streets stretching into a square pavilion with galleries on all four sides present a Gallic view of the ancient open air stadium of sorts.Besides the Brahmotsavam festival during Dasara, the Lord Venkateswara comes out of Srivari Temple in full decora before his beloved devotees in 451 Vahanams a year – at least five to six days in a month and on all important festivals and religious occasions.

“The Mada streets with lighting, drinking water and also mobile toilets and bath rooms have become the nerve centre of Tirumala next to only the Srivari temple “says Sri Sundara Vadana Bhattacharya, the agama advisor to TTD. With CC cameras all around the vigilant patrolling and monitoring the Mada streets stretching to around square 3.5 kms is the biggest open air platform in the entire world with only the open air theatres of roman and Greek period as only comparisons.

The pavilions all along the four Mada street with milling crowds stand out as the epicentre of Hindu renaissance as people from all walks of society seek spiritual and devotional solace and blessings of Lord Venkateswara. ‘The four Mada Street’ has been the  biggest and longest  centre stage  and home for the spiritually endowed India and nothing short of a glimpse of Lord Venkateswara on his favourite vehicles ( vahanams will satisfy the hordes of religious minded who throng the Tirumala shrine from all Indian states.

What was just a crowded street around the Srivari temple in Tirumala two decade ago has now become a magnificent show case of devotion and spiritual renaissance in the country. The ‘four mada street’ was just a sore sight behind the sacred Srivari temple comprising of dilapidated buildings, unkempt streets, dangerously hanging electrical fittings and poor sanitation spots.

The current Brahmotsavam has attracted over 350 teams comprising of over 4000 artistes from all over country including Bhajan teams, folk artists, drum beaters, dancers, singers,Haridasas, Bhagavathars and Vedic pundits .’There is growing demand from devotees of from India US and Australia ‘says Ragthunath, in charge of Hindu Dharma Prachara Parishad.

To meet the challenge of mass influx the Tirumala Tirupati Dewasthanams has made massive investment to create a religious ambience fitting the roman and Greek auditoriums. Although the ultra-modern arches, steel grills, high voltage lighting systems, cement balconies and carpeted pathways have replaced the dust ridden street, the spiritual content of the rituals is still archaic.