Padmavathi pendent in His chest

The counter clockwise procession and honours to the bridegroom :

It is the custom during the Brahmotsavam during the month of Purattasi (Kanni) on the seventh day evening when He visits the flower garden, the Lord is carried in procession counter-clockwise (apradakshina opposite’ to the usual direction). It is also the custom for the Lord to receive the honours as a bridegroom from Ananthalwan on the day of the car festival (eighth day). Here is the explanation of the origin of these customs. While Ananthalwan was pleasing the Lord of Tiruvenkata by his flower-service as commanded by his acharya Ramanuja, Srinivasa, the all-merciful Lord who bears infinite love towards His devotees, wanted to show His immense plea­sure at the constant service of Ananthalwan. He wanted to show out His great pleasure in accepting the garlands offered by him and also the purity of his heart to the people at large. So once, He entered Ananthalwan’s gar­den dressed as a prince, accompanied by His consort Alarmelmangai, dressed as a princess. They moved freely. in the garden and spoiled it by plucking the flowers and fruits freely. This happened over several days.

Ananthalwan, observing the havoc caused to the gar­den during the nights, worried as to who the thief de­stroying the Lord’s garden may be, kept vigil there dur­ing the nights. With all his effort, he could not come across the thief. After a week, the royal couple, out of pity towards Ananthalwan submitted themselves to be caught. But when he tried to tie them up, the prince some­how escaped and ran around the temple counter-clock­wise and disappeared. The princess could not run away and Ananthalwan tied her to a shenbaga tree and stood guard the whole night, questioning her about her ante­cedents. The princess was pleading with him, “Come Ananthalwan! You should catch hold of my husband who is the guilty one; I am a woman and free from guilt Please free me. Think of me as your daughter.”

In the morning when the sanctum was opened, it was found that the image of Lakshmi (Alarmelmangai) adorn­ing the chest of the Lord was missing. While the authori­ties were interrogating the priest (archakas) the Lord narrated all that happened the previous night through one of the assembled devotees. According to the command of the Lord, they went to the flower garden and narrated to Ananthalwan all that the Lord said. Ananthalwan felt deeply remorseful and freed the princess immediately. True to her word that the devotee should treat her as his own daughter, she appeared as a young girl. Ananthalwan carried her into the temple along with the flower bas­ket and offered her to Srinivasa, begging to be pardoned for what had happened.

To the surprise of all, a miracle happened. The girl vanished into the necklace of the Lord and the missing image of Lakshmi was seen again on the Lord’s Chest. The Lord presented Ananthalwan with a golden chain. Coming to know of all this, Sri Ramanuja was very much pleased with his disciple and, aware of the great attach­ment that Srinivasa had for Ananthalwan, decided that the memory of the incident be perpetuated in the same way as the Lord’s having been hit on His chin by pressing cam­phor on His chin and displaying the crowbar at the en­trance to the temple. He commanded that the Lord be taken out in procession counter clock-wise during the annual Brahmothsavam on the seventh day as mentioned earlier. On the occasion of the visit to the garden, Sri Ramanuja commanded that the garland adorning the Lord be presented to Ananthalwan and also that the latter of­fer presents. to Lord as his son-in-law on the day of the car festival.

(Note: This festival is now being celebrated on the tenth day and is referred to as Thagasavari’. The garland is now being presented to a Bakula tree, which is believed to be an incarnation of Ananthalwan.)