Galigopuram Mutt Follows Bairagi Tradition
Tirupati , Dec 02 :
The Galigopuram Mutt, once vibrant and later, for various reasons, pushed into oblivion, is again in the limelight thanks to endowment minister Ponnala Lakshmaiah’s recent declaration that the Mutt will be handed over to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.
The declaration also stirred a hornet’s nest with some people, particularly the Mutt’s Adhikari, Bankatlal Joshi, and followers
stoutly opposing the move, apprehending that it would affect the separate identity of the 6oo-year-old Mutt established on the the distinct Bairagi Sampradaya or sect.
There are just very few such Mutts in the entire country which follow the unique tradition, it is claimed.
On the other hand, the minister’s announcement also made scores of people who are illegally enjoying the valuable properties including lands of the Mutt in Tirupati, on Tirumala and at other places sleepless, fearing that they will no longer be able to enoy the Mutt’s properties if taken over by the TTD.
A peep into the history of the Mutt reveals many interesting aspects.
Also known as Vaikuntha Koil, it was set up in 1413 AD.
It-was headed by mahants who were north Indian Vaishnava Brahmins belonging to the
The main object of the Mutt is to provide food to the sadhus (Bairagis) who come from North India and water and butter milk to devotees trekking the hill on foot for darsan of God Venkateswara.
In the ancient days when there was no transport and other facilities, the successive mahants and their adhikaris(who look after the secular affairs of the Mutt), ardently served the Bairagis and the devotees at Galigopuram and other places on the arduous footpath to the holy shrine for centuries when others were reluctant or even scared to stay there (footpath) fearing attacks from wild animals (which were abundant in those days) and mosquito bite causing malaria (which was not curable then).
The Mutt also conducts many utsavams (events) including Barsi Puja which is held on every Kartika Suddha Dwadasi to remember the late mahants.
Special pujas are performed at the samadhis of the mahants at Nandanavanam in the Galigopuram area, followed by feeding of sadhus and honouring them with vastrams and dakshina.
Besides, the Mutt also organises Srirama Navami, Gokulashtami and Navaratri utsavams(important for north Indians).
Over the years, for one reason or the other, the Mutt has lost much of its glory.
With rapid improvement of amenities for pilgrims being provided by the TTD, which has steadily grown in size and wealth, the Mutts, including Galigopuram Mutt, have lost their prominence.
The management of Galigopuram Mutt passed into the hands of endowment department in 1989 after Mahant Ramacharan Doss was suspended for alleged irregularities.
During Doss’ stint as as mahant most of the valuable landed properties of the Mutt were sold away to private persons forcing the endowment department to intervene and appoint a fit person’ replacing the mahant to look after it.
Assistant commissioner HG Venkatesh, who is now acting as the fit person’ of the Mutt, said the process for handing over the Mutt to the TTD was being monitored by the commisioner following the minister’s direction.