Deepotsava, fifth of Panchaparvas is held on Kartika Bahula Panchami. Vanabhojana is served to devotees on the same day. Though Deepotsava falls on Kartika Bahula Panchami, 10 days between Kartika Shuddha Dwadashi to Kartika Bahula Shashti are considered gala occasions of this Mahotsava.
Uthana Dwadashi (Kartika Shuddha Dwadashi) and Kattepuje : On this day, Brahmana santarpane is held after madyahna puja. That night, every one in town brings a coconut each to temple as Kanika. Of these, five are placed in a harivana and brought before all. After every one has touched it, harivana is placed before the Lord. Then mangalarati is held, followed by prayer. Touching coconuts in this fashion signifies that all unitedly resolve to carry out God’s work in thought, word and deed. Apart from this day, this custom is carried out on other important days like Rathotsava, Deepotsava, Vardhanti and Shatakalashabhisheka.
Pallakki utsava takes place on the night of Dwadashi. At night after chakrotsava, the Lord on Pallakki utasva goes straight to Padmavati temple. First kattepuje is held here. Then, katte pujes are held in houses of those who have been conducting this from early years and the Lord accepts puja from these devotees, gracing the kattes of their houses one by one. By the time Katte puje is completed in all houses and the utsava returns to the temple, already the sun would have risen the next morning! This kattepuje is a unique tradition- symbol of love and intimate relation between God and his bhaktas. Accordingly, the Lord, out of benign love visits each devotee’s home and receives the respectful fond welcome lavished on him. The devotees have firm belief that Lord’s sacred visit to their residence would banish and obliterate all impurities and negativities.
After Katte puje, when the Lord has graced the throne and mangalarati is over, a harivana full of panchakajjaya is placed near the golden door inside manda chamber.Devotees gathered there rush to put their hands on panchakajjaya and loot it. This custom is called Looting! After this the archakas who have carried on the duties smoothly in the duration of
paryaya are physically lifted high gleefully and carried in a round of the garbhagudi, hilariously laughing all the way. This may be symbolic of people’s gratitude to archakas for their valuable services to the Lord. Pallakki utsava of uthana dwadashi is a seva of Mijaru Annappa Pai (Ananta Pai Sons).
Kartika Shuddha Thrayodashi : Silver mantapa utsava is held on this day. This is a seva from the family of Balkunje Ananta Shanubhag.
Kartika Shuddha Chaturdashi : Bhoori Samaradhane is held in the afternoon. At night, utsava of Hanumantha (Kuvalya Hanumantha) Vahana takes place. Bhoori Samaradhane as well as Veeramaruti Vahana utsava are carried out on behalf of Kukkundoor Ananta Padmanabha Kamath.
Kartika Purnima : Bhoori Samaradhane is held on this day too. At night, Red Garuda Vahana utsava takes place followed by Silver mantapa utasava in Salmar. These are sevas by the children of Mijar Ananta Pai.
Kartika Bahula Padya: Small Kere deepa : At night after Silver Garuda vahana utsava, Lord sits on pallaki and arrives at Sheshatirtha. Lakhs of oil lamps are lighted in niches lining the circle around Sheshatirtha. After 3 pradakshinas of the Sheshatirtha by the pallakki, the Lord graces the mantapa decorated on the boats and 3 pradakshinas are taken over its waters. Then the Lord is seated on the mantapa in the centre of the Lake.Thereafter mangalarti is performed. This kere deepotsava started in 1923 AD. For this celebration, Karkala’s Ranjala Govind Shanubhag’s son Kalappayya alias Venkatesha Shanubhag deposited Rs. 840.00 as mooladhana (corpus fund) to the temple. Later, Panduranga Nayak, son of Pangala Ananta Nayak added a donation of Rs. 800.00 to this mooladhana. This kere deepotsava is called Kalappa’s Keredeepa.
Kartika Bahula Bidige: On this day, Silver Hanumantha utsava is held on behalf of Muniyalu Padiyars. At present, it is held on behalf of Ranjala Vittappa Shenoy.
Kartika Bahula Thadige : On this day the utsava being conducted by Phalimaru Padmanabha Kamath was later discontinued and taken up by Ananda Prabhu, son of Moorooru Ananta Prabhu. Sheshavahana utsava and, Silver mantapa utsava in Salmar are held on this day.
Kartika Bahula Chaturthi, Big Kere Deepa : On this night, Red Garuda utsava is held by Kattingere Ramachandra Nayak’s family. Deeparadhane is held by Laxman Pai’s family and Kere Deeparadhane is held on behalf of Pulkeri Subraya Prabhu. At night, prior to Garudotsava, the Lord arrives on pallakki to the lake and receives puja on the Shami Katte there. This is a seva by Kukkundooru Subraya Kamath. After Garudotsava, Keredeepa takes place. Other programmes of Kere deepa are exactly as per small kere deepa. People burn varieties of fire crackers with zest. Spectacular fire work is displayed on behalf of the temple too. A speciality of today’s utsava is, the Lord sits on adda pallakki (cross pallakki) while arriving at the lake.
Adda pallakki utsava : This addapallakki utsava takes place only on specific occasions. That too has a tradition. It is held between Kartika Shuddha Dwadeshi and Kartika Bahula Panchami, then on 5 days of Rathotsava during temple’s pradakshina, at sangeeta round. Apart from this, splendour of addapallakki can be seen during Vardhantyutsava, and Vaishakha Poornima utsava. On the night of Deepotsava, this adda pallakki utsava takes place when the Lord travels to lower town Kuriju as well as upper town Kuriju.
Laksha Deepotsava : Brahmotsava in Tirupati, Rathotsava in Mangalore, Pratishta Purnima in Moolki, Shashti in Manjeshwara are well-known. So also, in Karkala DHANASEKenkataramana Temple, Lakshadeepotsava is very popular. During this celebration, 15 to 25 thousand devotees congregate in Karkala from far and wide.
After the noonday mahapuja in the temple, townspeople gather to offer prayers to the Lord. Then Srinivasa deva is carried from his throne and seated in the decorated Gold Mantapa. Utsava moorti is seated on gold pallakki. Here, after naivedya and mangalarati, prasada is distributed to trustees. With veda ghosha (Recital of Vedas) and Paraku, mantapa and pallakki take a round of temple’s outer pradakshina path, step down over the car-street, and move towards Srinivasa Ashrama for Vanabhojana, all the way accepting fruits and coconut offerings from households lining the route. Countless birudavalis, Jayaghosha of bhaktas, sublime music by Nadaswara, utter devotion of bhaktas fanning the chamara- when one witnesses this beatitude, the bliss that pours in is beyond words. Unique highlight of this utsava is Srinivasa deva himself setting out for Vanamahotsava. Moreover, for Karkalites, visiting Vanabhojana is equivalent to visiting the very kshetra of Tirupati! Therefore this mahotsava carries special significance and
sanctity. After reaching the vana (forest) of Shrinivasa ashrama, dual devas are offered panchamritabhisheka, mahanaivedya and mangalarati. Elsewhere, on Dhatri katte (amla katte), family deity of Tantris (Shri Krishna) is established and Dhatri Havana and puja are conducted to propitiate Shree Damodara and then Vanabhojana takes place.
(Vanabhojana is a captivating natural amphitheatre fronting a verdant tropical forest. Sloping rocky ground and running revulets add to the serenity of the place. At the rear side Sukrateendra Balakashrama is housed in Srinivasashram. Front side is occupied by a modern complex of colleges with Arts, Commerce and Science faculties and hostel for students. The land for this educational centre, Shree Bhuvanendra College was leased by Karkala Shree Venkatramana temple in the sixth decade of 20th century.)
After bhojan, utsava starts towards the town. After reaching town, the Lord graces Mannagopura situated in midtown. There, samputa is placed in the mantapa and brought to the temple to the accompaniment of paraku recital. From the temple, well decorated Ratha is drawn to the Gopura and stationed there. When the Lord is seated in Gopura resplendently, bhaktas from all over the country and abroad draw closer to have Lord’s darshan and offer fruit-coconut and Kanika. Since the unique opportunity of beholding dual devas from such close quarters does not repeat, (until next year) bhaktas gather here in thousands. Moreover the conviction that the Lord, well pleased with vanabhojana shall grant anything asked for is indelibly imprinted in their minds. At this occasion, Vadyamelas that have arrived from far and wide charge the atmosphere with the rendition of their vadyas!
A couple of hours after midnight, Lord’s padukas from the temple are carried atop the head to the accompanyment of entire birudavali and vadyas. Temple’s Puranik, Joishy, Archakas, Moktesars Prabhu and Kamath and Mahajans accompany these and arrive at Gopura inorder to invite the Devas on utsava. Lord’s padukas are placed in Gopura and Deevatige seva is offered. Todays’s wondrous feature is that Deevatiges are held by Prabhu on one side and Kamath on the other!
After mangalarati in Gopura, dual devas are seated on pallakki and carried near the Ratha. Srinivasa deva ascends the Ratha. Utsava deva sits inside the pallakki and goes on board each Kuriju (Kurindu) and Gurji (revolving tower) and receives puja. At that time, ratha is stopped at respective Kuriju/Gurji. Bhaktajanas who have set up the next Kuriju & Gurji reach the preceding Kuriju & Gurji along with birudavali and pray to the Lord entreating him to come to them and receive seva. Thus receiving seva from each Kuriju/Gurji, when the Lord reaches the temple, it is already daybreak! Lord enters the temple after kattepuje in Veeramaruti temple and katte near the lake. On this occasion, Pradhana deva and utsava deva are seated in the pallakki face to face. Like other utsavas, after pradakshine and vasanta puja, Lord enters the garbhagudi. After the Lord sits on the throne, ratripuje takes place. Then Prasada is distributed to trustees and bhaktas congretated from far and wide. Bhaktas from outstations are given Prasad calling each one by the name of their town or outskirts.
Manjunatha Nayak of Sahukara Kattingere Ramachandra Nayak family is the blessed person who organizes this mahotsava. Santarpane of that day too is held on his behalf. Panchamritabhisheka in vana is held on behalf of trustees and pujas in temple are carried out on behalf of Mandarke Krishna Pai. Each donor (viniyogadara) is given Prasad after Krishnarpana on respective occasions.
It is customary to honour the sevadars on behalf of the temple. After utsava ends, each donor is respectfully sent off to his house accompanied by valaga (music). Donors of Akshaya tadige and Rathotsava are also hounoured similarly.
Kartika Bahula Shashti- Avabhrata : On this day, dual devas are carried on pallakki decorated with diamond thatti and the utsava goes to Ramasamudra for bathing. On the way, Katars (drums) of coloured water (vokkuli) are arranged infront of the houses in which the people bathe and move forward. In Ramasamudra, archakas carry Lord’s idols on their heads, take a dip in water and bathe the Lord thus immersed. On the way back, utsava halts at Padmavati temple for a while. After puja there and distribution of prasad, utsava moves on, receiving fruit-coconut and arti from bhaktas all the way and reaches the temple.
On avabhrita day too santarpane is arranged for outstation guests. After reaching the temple, maha samprokshane and noonday mahapuja are held and santharpane takes place there-after. The same night, after Mahapuja, repeat Deepotsava is held. Utsvasa starts with Lord mounted on Ratha. Ratha stops for a while at each Kuriju and Gurji. Here and there Vadya goshtis take place. This utsava and Santarpane are the seva of Miyyaru Narayana Hegde’s family.