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Sri Andal - Rangamannar Sayana Sevai
Brahmotsava Alangaram
Other Alangaram not involving home deity


How it began

My passion to decorate my home deity began when I was about 7 years old. We used to live near the Sri Srinivasa Perumal Temple in Singapore where I spent much of my childhood playing in the temple grounds. Soon I became actively involved in all the temple activities.

I would intently watch the priests adorn the temple deities for festivals and then come home and replicate the decoration for my home deity. In this way, I slowly learnt how to do the different decorations for the different festivals. There was absolutely no formal training involved. I just watched and learnt.

Stala PerumalWhen I was younger, I only had the deities of Sri Srinivasa Perumal, Sri Devi and Bhu Devi which were only about four inches high (Picture of 'Stala Perumal' on the left).

Later, at the age of 15, when my parents were convinced of my total devotion and commitment, they bought me my current Sri Srinivasa Perumal deity. Over the years, Sri Devi, Bhu Devi, Mahalakshmi, Andal and Lakshmi Narashiman have joined the 'family'.


What is Alangaram and Sathupadi?

'Alangaram' (pronounced as ah-la-gaa-ram) refers to the adornment of deities in Hindu temples. This adornment is done for both the temple moolavar and utsavar*. The three important things needed for an alangaram to stand out are silk clothing, jewellery and flowers. When all these three items are tastefully put together, the adornment comes to life. Alangaram, in itself, is an art and the alangaram of the Moolavar and Utsavar in Thirupathi are testimony to this.

Types of alangaram include:

  • Sandana-kaapu is a type of alangaram that uses sandalwood paste to adorn the body of the moolavar.
  • Vennai-kaapu is an adornment of the moolavar using butter. This type of alangaram is done particularly for Sri Krishnan and Hanuman.
  • Pushpangi is an elaborate adornment of flowers.

Sathupadi (pronounced saa-thu-pa-di) refers to the use of removable hands and feet to depict various poses for a deity. For example, a decoration of a deity sitting on a vaahana will require the use these removable hands and feet.

Sathupadi is only done for the Utsavar deities, never the Moolavar deities.

For Your Information
*Most Hindu temples have a Moolavar and an Utsavar*. The moolavar refers to the main deity which is crafted out of granite and fixed onto a granite pedestal in the sanctum sanctorum. An utsavar is the movable replica of the Moolavar. During festivals, it is the utsavar that is taken out on procession. For both these deities, elaborate alangaram is done all year round.


My Style

I do not follow any particular temple's saathupadi style. My inspiration comes from a mixture of styles of the various Vaishnava and Saiva temples.

While I love the adornment done at all Vaishnava temples, in my opinion, nothing beats the alangaram done at the temples in Thirupathi and Thiruvallikeni. Every saathupadi is worth savouring from these two divyadesam. I also like the styles of Srivilliputtur and Thirucherai and Srirangam.



Om Namo Narayanaaya | Om Namo Bagavadey Vasu Devaaya




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