This Utsava was first performed by Brahma himself, that is why it is called Brahmotsavam.Indra once killed a Brahma Rakshasa(a Brahmana with Rakshasa characters or a Rakshasa with Brahmana characters) and thus had the burden of Brahmahatya Dosham(BHD). To relieve Indra of this burden, Brahma himself conducted a ceremony called Brahmotsava.In this ceremony officiated by brahma himself, Indra held SrimanNarayana on his head during the avabritha snanam.
Now this Brahmotsavam is conducted routinely(generally once a year) to wash of all sins. This utsavam begins with Vynatheya Dwaja arohana and concludes with Dwaja awarohana. At the end of the Utsava a special bath called Avabritha Snanam (Chakra teertha snanam) is performed by the Pradhana Acharya of the temple. The acharya keeps on his head the Utsavar murthy or Sudarshana Chakram or Sri Shatari and takes three dips in a river or pond or the water from Kalasha is poured on. As the water descends from the deity (Utsav Murthy, Chakra or Sri Shatari) on to the shoulders of the Acharya, the Brahmahathya dosha is washed away. Because there is no other sin greater than BHD by performing this, all sins are washed away.
This is done every year and the time of the year varies from temple to temple. the time is chosen based on sampradayas of the temple. Some examples of when it is performed are:
1. Pratishtapana day of the Deity
2. Pratishtapana day of the Sri Shatari
3. Thirunakshatram of the Temple Deity
4. It can also be performed on Kamyotsava day (special utsava done following the fulfillment of a specific desire).
Thus, there can be more than one brahmotsava per year at a given temple.
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