Festival of Hindus
Mukkoti Ekadasi or Vaikunta Ekadasi is
the Ekadasi that occurs in the Hindu calendar month of Marghazhi or
Margasirsa (corresponding to late December - January in English
calendar). Vaishnavism (Worship of Lord Vishnu) culture believes
that ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to Lord's Inner Sanctum’ is
opened on this day.
Special prayers, yagnas, discourses and speeches are arranged at
Vishnu temples across the world on this auspicious day.
According to Vishnu Purana, fasting on Vaikunta Ekadasi is
equivalent to fasting on the remaining 22 Ekadasis of the (Hindu)
Lord opened the gate of Vaikuntam (his abode) for two daemons
inspite of they being against the Lord. They also asked for the boon
that who ever listens to their story and see the image of Lord
coming out of the door (called Dwaram) called Vaikunta Dwaram they
reach Vaikuntam as well. Temples all over the India makes a door
kind of structure on this day for devotees to pass through that.
According to Padma Purana, the female energy of Lord Vishnu slains
demon Mura in the form of a damsel and protects `Devas'. Impressed
by the act, Lord Vishnu names her as `Ekadasi' and gives her the
boon that those who worship `Ekadasi' on the day of her victory over
Mura would reach `Vaikunta' (His abode).
In Mahabaratha, Bhagavad Gita - the conversation between Lord
Krishna and Arjuna at the beginning of Kurukshetra War is said to
have occurred on this day.
Sri Ranganathaswamy Temple, Srirangam Vaikunta Ekadasi celebrations
in Srirangam -- foremost of Vaishanvite Shrines, lasts 21 days and
is divided into two parts of pagal pathu (morning part) and Ira
pathu (night part). Lord Vishnu as Lord Ranganatha is adorned is an
armor of diamonds (rathnaangi) and is brought to the
Thousand-Pillared Hall from the sanctum sanctorum through the
northern gate known as Paramapada Vasal, the gate to the heaven.
This gate is opened once in a year, only on the Vaikuntha Ekadasi
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple also has a similar concept. Thirumala
has a special entrance called Vaikunta Dwaram that encircles the
sanctum sanctorum. The dwaram (passage) is opened only on Vaikunta
Ekadasi and it is believed that any person who passes through this `Vaikunta
Dwaram' on this particular day attains salvation. The temple
witnesses heavy inflow of pilgrims and dignitaries for Vaikunta
Significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi
The significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi can be traced back to the Padma
Purana. The Purana indicates that Lord Vishnu took the form of
‘Ekadasi’ – female energy – to kill demon Muran. This happened
during the month of Margazhi. Impressed by ‘Ekadasi,’ Lord Vishnu
told her that whoever worships him on this day will reach ‘Vaikunta’
Like all Ekadasi days, devotees fast on this day and observe vigil
the whole night. Some people indulge in meditation, Japa and singing
of Hari Kirtan. Rice is avoided during ekadashi days as it is
believed that the demon Mura finds a dwelling in the rice eaten on
It is widely believed that the gates to the heaven open - the Gate
of Vaikuntha - on the Vaikunta Ekadasi day. It is one of the most
auspicious days in Lord Vishnu Temples in South India.
The ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’ or ‘the gate to the heaven’ is opened on this
day. This is the passage encircling the innermost sanctum of the
Lord. Scores of devotees queue up to pass through the Gate of
Vaikunta in the temples.
Vaikunta Ekadasi occurs in December or early January.