Vaishnavas (devotees of Lord Vishnu) observe Ekadashi Vrata and engage in remembering the Supreme Lord by chanting His Holy Names and singing His glories. Ekadashi is the eleventh day of the fortnight of waxing or waning moon and occurs twice a month. But the Ekadashi that occurs in the month of Margasirsa (December – January) during the fortnight of waxing moon is of special significance, and is glorified as Vaikuntha Ekadashi. This is a major festival of South India celebrated in all the temples of Lord Vishnu.
Significance of Vaikuntha Ekadashi
Nammalwar, one of the great devotees in the Sri Sampradaya (the disciplic succession descending from Lakshmi Devi) went back to Godhead on this day. To commemorate this event, in all the Vishnu temples, the Vaikuntha Dwara (the gate to Vaikuntha) a special entrance in the north side of the temple is opened once in a year on this particular day. It is believed that anyone who enters the Vaikuntha Dwara on this day is guaranteed to attain the spiritual abode.
In ISKCON Sri Narasimha Giridhari Mandir this festival is celebrated in a very special manner. The main entrance gate to the Narasimha Temple is profusely decorated as Vaikuntha Dwara and the utsavar Deities of Sri Sri Gandharvika Giridhari give darshan to the devotees, seated in a swing at Vaikuntha Dwara. Lakhs of devotees visit temple on that day to get the darshan of the Lord and to pass through the Vaikuntha Dwara.
The main deities are adorned in a very special alankaras during the festival. Devotees chant 1 lakh names of the Lord for the pleasure of Their Lordships and seeking His protection for everyone. Thousands of devotees visit the temple to receive the blessings of the Lord. The prasadam will be distributed to all the devotees.