Vairamudi Brahmostava is an annual festival which gathers more than 3-4 lakh devotees of Lord Cheluva Narayana. Thirunarayanapuram another name for Melkote adorns a festive grandeur on this day when the Lord adorns the legendary diamond studded crown, the VairaMudi. It is believed that Lord Krishna Himself presented this crown to Cheluva Narayana. The Lord is taken in procession on the golden Garuda with His divine consorts Sridevi&Bhudevi, around the main streets of the city.
Vairamudi, the diamond crown, was stolen from Lord Narayana, when he was asleep at his abode in the Kshira Sagara (Milky Ocean), by Virochana. Virochana was the king of demons and the grandson of Bhakta Prahlada. Garuda was asked by the Lord’s devotees to bring back the crown. Garuda went after Virochana to another world, fought with the demon king and flew back with the crown.
According to the legend it is believed that Vairamudi lost its blue gem on the crest while Garuda was bringing it. The blue gem is believed to have fallen near Nachiar Koil, a temple town in Thanjavur district of Tamil Nadu. The gem turned into a stream, called the Manimuttaru, which to this day flows in Thanjavur. On his way, he saw Lord Krishna playing with his friends in the mid day sun at Vrindavana. Garuda extended his wings on Krishna to shade from the sun and then placed the crown on his head. The local legends of Melkote claim that Krishna presented Cheluva Narayana with this crown. It is believed that Cheluva Narayana, was also worshipped by Lord Rama, the King of Ayodhya.
The preparation for the Brahmotsava starts well before 2 weeks. Actual celebrations take place for 13 days.
Garudotsava is celebrated a day before the Brahmotsava at Melkote. The district administration of Mandya makes rigorous arrangements for bringing the Vairamudi crown from Mandya treasury to the temple amidst stringent security measures. It is believed that the crown must not be exposed to daylight. Hence it will be placed in a special casket. Under vigilance of Mandyapolice it arrives at the boundaries of the town. It is from here taken up to the temple with honors in a special palanquin. It reaches the temple by evening.
The crown is placed in front of sanctum of Sri AcharyaRamanuja and the head priest places the Vaira Mudi and fits it to the deity of the Lord Cheluva Narayana. It is tradition that even the head priest should not look at the Vaira Mudi in naked eyes till it is fitted to the Lord. Hence the priest covers his eyes with a silk cloth while fitting the crown.
This takes place in the night and then the Lord and his consorts are traditionally decorated and procession continues to the dawn of the next day. Rajamudi, another crown studded with precious stones is adorned on the Lord on the next day of the Brahmotsava.
During the 13-day celebration, Kalyanotsava, NagavalliMahotsava will be held in the Holy Kalyani, followed by Maharatotsava.