Vrindavan, 2016.11.11 (VT): Thousands of devout Vaishnavas took an early morning dip in Yamuna to welcome the gods, who awakened after a four-month-long slumber on Devotthan Ekadashi. Devotees from Vrindavan performed panchkosi Parikrama of Vrindavan, whereas the Mathura-vasis performed the Teen Van Parikrama, a sacred walk from Vrindavan to Mathura to Garud Govinda).
Vaishnavas celebrate the occasion on a grander scale than Diwali in the Vraja region. On this day, the marriage ceremony of Tulsi and Shaligram were arranged in various temples of Vrindavan. The divine wedding was conducted with great devotion and holiness. The temples of Radha Shyam Sundar and Radha Damodar attracted a large number of devotees to witness the holy ritual.
Pandas (priests) of Mathura and Vrindavan conducted rituals (pooja) on behalf of individual devotees and families at the various Yamuna ghats on the auspicious occasion of Devotthan Ekadashi. The awakening of the gods and goddesses after four months of sleep signals the beginning of the marriage season. Tulsi Shaligram Vivah was organised on this auspicious occasion at temples.
The day also paved way to Hindu marriages. Hence, hundreds of couples tied the nuptial knot on Friday.
As part of the rituals, married Hindu women observed fasting and prayed before the goddess tulsi who later was married to Lord Vishnu. The symbolic marriage of Lord Krishna marrying goddess tulsi in the form of a sacred plant was conducted in most of the temples.
Tulsi and sugarcane are bound together during the wedding ceremony in the houses of Vrindavan. A tender branch of sugarcane with carvings on it symbolically represents the Groom, while the tulsi plant is the bride. Those who have shaligram (a sacred stone in which Lord Hari resides) at home featured Him in the ceremony instead of sugarcane.
Local women, who had been observing fasting since morning, also prepared traditional delicacies at home during the day to offer to the Lord on his wedding. After sunset, the women performed the rituals associated with the wedding ceremony of the Lord.
Seasonal fruits such as tamarind and amla were also offered to the Lord. These fruits were tied to the tulsi plant during the wedding. A number of folksongs were also sung during the celebrations.