Tirumala, October 22: The Swami Pushkarani Harathi Puja is one of the sacred rituals performed at Tirumala every day preferably in the evenings.

It is a ritual to pay respects to the natural spring fresh Water Lake located on the northern side of the Srivari temple.

The water of this lake is considered holy and sacred and fit for performing rituals at the Srivari Temple and on par with that of water of the holy river of Ganges.  “Swami Pushkarini is significant component of the legend of Srivari temple at Tirumala and also resplendent of the hoary mythology “ says Agama advisor of TTD Sri Sundara Varada Bhattacharya.

He said the practice has been revived since two years and is a fitting tribute to the holy Gopuram amidst the lake which sanctified the waters.

Although the waters of such pushkarrini are meant for bathing purposes of the presiding deity of the Temple, more often the devotees who come across the country are also allowed to take a dip before they enter the temple at Tirumala.

The harathi or puja of the pushkarani has its roots in the inscriptions of 12th century and also that of Sri krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara.

In the past the waters of the tank were strictly for temple purposes only-like for the God’s “bath” that is a ritual/worship, cleaning and washing the temples insides and outsides, for use inside the temples for drinking purposes kitchens (if any) and by large, by the folk that stay and live by the temple like the priests’ families and workers, for their daily uses.

The water in the Swami Pushkarini is absolutely NOT stagnant OR infected. It has a state-of-the-art recycling facility and water is treated before it gets into and recycled continuously.  A  bath in the Swami Pushkarini is believed to clean pilgrims of their sins and bestow temporal prosperity A bath in the holy tank purifies one’s body and soul.

The Agama Advisor said that  Swami Pushkarini was a pleasure lake of  Sri Maha Vishnu in Vaikuntham, and was brought and set on Earth by Garuda, for the  uuse of Sri Venkateshwara  and his  pleasure float trips along with his consorts. The pushkarini also has another legend that kings  who lost their kingdoms also  regained their  power  after bathing in this  lake.  The childless Dasharatha Chakravarti also could beget  Maha Vishnu (Rama) as his son after bathing in the Swami Pushkarini.

“It is only in recognition of its  mythological significance and its inherent divinity that the pushkarini is worshipped with harathi every day in the evening “says Sri A V Ramana Dikshitulu, one of the three chief priests of the Srivari Temple.

On the last day of the annual brahmotsavams the utsava idols are also bathed in the Swami Pushkarini and taken into the main shrine. Countless devotees to join their beloved deity in bathing in the Pushkarini and share the joy and also its austerity.

The Pushkarini spread over one and half acres has a mandapam in the middle built by the Saluva King Narasimha Raya in 1468. Later the saint -poet Tallapaka Annamacharya was instrumental in constructing steps to the lake –mid–mandapam. New filters and state of the art drains were installed in the Pushkarini in 1972. Every year the existing water in the Pushkarini is drained at regular intervals and refilled with fresh water that emerged from its springs.

Besides the Chakrasnanam festival the other major ritual in the Swami Pushkarini is the five day long Teppotsawam performed in the month of February.“ It is in fitness of things that the Swami Pushkarini Harathi ritual is revived providing a glimpse about its hoary significance to the devotees and also other students of Agama culture and practices“, says Sri Sundara Varada Bhattacharya.