Hampi Rathotsava or annual fair
The day after the Kalyanotsava fair, is called “Rathotsava”, and the significance of this event is that, the newly wed couple is carried out in the Main temple cart, into the “Raja Beedi” or main street.
Veerupaksha temple and Hampi-hunnime
On the day of Kalyana, Himavanta’s entire kingdom is decorated with flowers from all around, streets are scented, people from all kingdoms, great men and sages, lords, devas all creation wants to witness the coming together of Shiva and Parvathi and the wedding ritual for the very witnessing will bring great virtue to common man. Hence is carried out through time until today as Girija Kalyana Ritual.
This is a nine day fair held in Hampi, dating back to the Vijaynagara kingdom, and even before that to folklore through the Girijakalyana story. This documentbriefs the rituals followed in the Lord Virupaksha temple during this nine day fair, in the order of occurrence.
Day 1 – Ankuraarparna, Kankana pooja, Dwajarohana
Day 1: Is observed on the day of Ramanavami, which is the month of Chaitra (between March-April), ninth day of the Shukla Paksha or waxing moon period, also observed to be the day Lord Rama took his incarnation on earth. There are two events performed in the temple on this day, (i) Ankuraarpana: The temple is cleansed, sanctified and rituals of Kankana pooja is done in the temple. Grains will be taken out, planted and watered until the fair is completed. Based on which of the grains have sprouted well by the end of fair will allow for the temple priests to predict about the agricultural status for the following year. Hence this even has been found having political and social importance throughout the historical period of kingdoms. (ii) Dwajarohana: A holy flag will be hoisted in the temple, to confirm to all public and communities that Kankana pooja is completed and the Temple is getting ready to put together the Kalyanotsava and Rathotsava events. The Utsava Moorthy or the procession idols of Lord Pampapathi and Hampamma will be housed in the Yajna Shaale until the end of this Hampi Jatre.
Day 2 : Suryamandala Utsava
Day 2: Suryamandala Utsava: From Day 2 Onwards the Procession idols of Lord Pampapathi and Pampamma will be decorated daily and taken out for processions to the main street, for holy presence to fill the air of Hampi. On day 2, the Suryamandala Utsava is celebrated, where the procession idols are carried out on cart made with Sun in the background of the idols, signifying that Shiva and Parvathi are the source of all light and knowing in this universe.
Day 3: Cndra Mandala Utsava: Similar to day 2, the idols will be carried out on procession in the Temple street on a cart with the Moon in the background, signifying the presence of Light even in darkness, and thus Lord Virupaksha and Pampamma are the head of these phenomenons. On the same night, the idols are taken out for procession on the simha-vahana or a Lion-cart.
Day 4:- Shesha vahana Utsava:
Shesha vahana Utsava: The Idols are taken on procession on a Snake-cart, and on the same night a cart is decorated in flowers and procession is carried out, which is called the Pushpa Mantapotsava.
Day 5: : The same day is observed as the Sri Vidyaranya Theertha’s Jayanthi and is celebrated even in today’s Vidyaranya theertha matha. Later that evening Kalyanotsava is performed in the Kalyana Mantapa of the Lord Virupaksha Temple. This ritual is the direct adaptation from the Girijakalyana story. At this event the Vidyaranya Theertha mathadipathi or the current head will be the head brahman of this wedding. And all rituals of any common hindu wedding will all be performed in this event.
Day 5: : Sri Vidyaranya Theertha’s Jayanthi
Rajata Gaja Vahonotsava: On this auspicious day the married holy couple is taken on procession in the main temple street on a Silver elephant cart.
Day 6 : Rajata Gaja Vahonotsava:
Day 7 : Brahma-Rathotsava and Rathotsava: The morning of this day 7, the Brahmarathotsava is carried out also called as Madi Rathotsava and the same evening the Main Rathotsava is carried out for which people from all communities and far off places visit. On the same day, the holy flag is auctioned.
Day 7 : Brahma-Rathotsava and Rathotsava
Day 8: Mruga Yatre and Rajata Ashwa vahana: On this day, Lord Virupakasa is decorated as Kirataa, with weapons and is carried on Horse-cart as if going out for hunting.
Day 8: Mruga Yatre and Rajata Ashwa vahana:
Day 9: Vasantotsava: On the last day of the fair there is a Poornahuti ritual in the temple and Vasanthotsava programme where people will play with colors for showing their happiness to the newly wed couple. On the same morning there will be Kalyanotsava and Rathotsava celebrations performed for Shri Kodanda Rama Swamy in Chakra Theertha.
Day 9: Vasantotsava
Later, the same evening Lord Virupaksha and Hampamma are taken in the coracle for a ride, and Kankana Visargana( or leaving of kankana in holy water) is performed.
Upon culmination of this nine day celebrations, which signifies the mythological story of Shiva Parvathi’s wedding, and its prominence. After this for the next 16 days the procession idols are kept in a room, called Shayanotsava. Shayana means bed and utsava is celebration.