Friday, October 12, 2018

Dipalis Represent Panchabutas in Tirumala

Tirumala, 12 October 2018: Dipalis, they are the "Torch Bearers" in Tirumala temple since they carry specially made ghee torches whenever

Sri Malayappaswamy comes out of temple.

By the title of the torch with five hand made oil candles called 'Panchamukhis' they precede whenever Lord went to light the paths and also to announce the arrival of the Lord.

'Dipalis are both Praharis (announcers) and also escorts of Lord Venkateswara. Their functions are to follow the lord whenever and wherever He moves out during fairs and festivals.


The chief function of Dipalis is to alert others of the arrival of Lord and also light the path of the lord. They are also carriers of a traditional practice-Drishti- done whenever the deity is brought back into the temple from outside journey.
Since they hold the ghee lit lamps, they are called Dipalis and form an integral part of the paraphernalia of the Lord Venkteswara at Tirumala.

The practice since mythological days and later on through ages has become significant remnants of the lores and traditions of the holy Sri Venkateswara Temple.

Dipalis functions under the Health Department of TTD. The six feet long steel rod with a five-hooded candles is called Panchamukhi. Two such torches are held on both sides of the Lord's vehicle or palanquin whenever He is brought out and stay with the caravan till the deity re-enters the temple.

The unique feature is that the candles are made of cotton cloth that is dropped by devotees in the Lord's hundi in countless number every day. They use the used ghee that is left out after preparations of Boondi for Laddus in the temple Kitchen (Potu). They make cricket ball size cloths and soak in the ghee and tie it to the five-hooded steel rod. Another person will keep pouring the ghee onto the cotton balls tied to the hoods of the Panchamukhi regularly to sustain the flame till the deity re -enters the shrine.

One of the Dipali, Sri Ravi (52) says that he has been serving the lord as Dipali for almost 30 years. 'We have to hold the hot iron rod with blazing torches for hours during vahana sevas and ensure that the Panchamukhi never goes off and is always aflame till the Lord returns to the temple. Panchamukhi represents Panchabhutas, which includes Air, Water, Fire, Earth, and Sky. When there is no vahana seva or the deity stays in Vahana mandapam, at least one Panchamukhi is kept burning", he maintained.

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