Akshaya Tritiya is celebrated on the third day of the bright half of the lunar month of Vaishakha. Directly under the supervision of Lord Vishnu, this day is considered the most auspicious day by Hindus due to the various celestial events which happened on this day. In Sanskrit Akshaya means ‘which never diminishes’. Hence this day is considered auspicious for new beginnings like starting of a business, charitable works, construction of house, etc. These temples around India have unique things happening only on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.
1. The opening of Badrinath Temple on Akshaya Tritiya
Badrinath temple is reopened on Akshaya Tritiya after a closure of six months from Diwali. It is believed that during the time when the temple is closed, the devatas come and worship the Lord. Since one day of devatas is equivalent of one earthly year, their half day is equivalent to six months. Temples in Kedarnath, Gangotri and Yamunotri are also reopened on this day.
2. Beginning of the construction of Lord Jagannatha’s chariot
Every year a grand and massive Ratha Yatra is celebrated in Jagannatha Puri. Lord Jagannatha ride through the grand road along with His brother Balarama and sister Subhadra on separate chariots to His summer house called as Gundicha Mandir. The construction of these chariots begins on Akshaya Tritiya. Pandas from the temple get garland from Lord Jagannatha and conduct puja before the beginning of the construction. The gathering of devotees in Jagannatha Puri during the Ratha Yatra is the world’s largest religious gathering. More than 1.3 million witness Ratha Yatra every year.
3. Nija-rupa darshan of Sri Varaha Narasimha in Simhachalam
In Simhachalam, Andhra Pradesh, Lord Varaha Narasimha gives nija-rupa darshana on Akshaya Tritiya. Whole year the Deity of Varaha Narasimha is covered with sandalwood paste and appears like a shiva-linga. According to the legend, King Pururava discovered the forgotten Deity of Varaha Narasimha in an anthill. When he unearthed the Deity, a divine voice from sky instructed him to cover the Deity with sandalwood paste because people would not be able to withstand the effulgence of the Lord. The voice also instructed him to allow the darshan of the Deity only once in a year on the day of Akshaya Tritiya during the Chandan Yatra festival. Lakhs of devotees throng to have nija-rupa darshan of the Lord.
4. Garuda Sevai in Kumbhakonam
In Kumbhakonam, the Garuda Sevai is celebrated on Akshaya Tritiya. On this day, the utsava vigrahas of twelve or more temples like Sarangapani temple, Uppliappan temple, etc, are carried on Garuda vahana around the city. Thousands participate in this festival which is a feast to one’s eyes.
5. Beginning of Chandan-yatra in Gaudiya Vaishnava Temples
Akshaya Tritiya marks the beginning of Chandan-yatra in the Gaudiya Vaishnava temples (followers of Chaitanya Mahaprabhu) around the world especially temples in Vrindavana, Mayapur and ISKCON temples. During this festival, Deities are smeared with sandalwood paste to beat the heat of summer. In Vrindavana along with the chandan alankara darshana of Deities, the whole temple is bedecked with the structures made of fragrant flowers. These are called Phool Bunglow. This festival continues till guru-purnima in July.
6. Darshan of the lotus feet of Banke Bihari in Vrindavana
Sri Radha Bankey Bihari is the most famous Deity in Vrindavana. This Deity is self-manifested and was worshiped by Sant Haridas, the music maestro and the teacher of Tansen. This is also one of the richest temples in Vrindavana. Whole year, the lotus feet of the Deity are kept covered and are only visible on the day of Akshaya Tritiya.0