During the Jeernoddhaarana (renovation period), the divine presence of the Murtis (idols) must be transferred to the holy waters contained in the Kalaasas. Pooja is done to these Kalaasaas and Ustava deities (bronze idols taken out in processions). The kalasaas remain in a miniature structure known as Balaalayam. „Baala means mini and „aalaya‟ means temple or structure in Sanskrit. During this time the devotees will not be able to see or do poojas to the stone sculpted moola vigrahas (idols). The scheduled poojas will be done only to Utsava moortis. The divine presence of the Lord will remain here until it is transferred back to the Moola vigrahas. Scheduled Poojas to Moola vigrahas will start only on the Mahaa Kumbhaabhishekam day. According to Kaaran-aagama, for this transfer to happen, depending on the time required for the renovation (Jeernodharana) , kalasaas with water may be provided for a month long duration, a sword for two months, photo of a deity for six months period, or a wooden carved figure for a year in the Balaalayam. “Eka maasancha kumbhancha, dwou maasou khadgamevacha, Shaan maasaaha pratimaachaiva, samvatsaram daaru bimbancha, Baalaalaye pratishtitaha” Usually the kalasa of water is widely installed as the renovation is done expeditiously.
During the Jeernoddharana (restoration and renovation) time, important temple repair work is carried out around the pedestals of the idols that are installed. During this process, natural glue specially prepared consisting of eight ingredients called “Ashtabandhana” is used to cement the idol firmly to the pedestal. Priests perform a special pooja called the “Ashtabandhana pooja” prior to the construction work in the shrine around the vigrahas. Experienced Shilpis (temple sculptors) participate in this and are graced with temple honors. An „Aacharya‟ who is sufficiently experienced in conducting such spiritual rituals is identified and the temple management requests him to conduct the kumbhabhishekam. Recitation of the Vedas inside the temple premises is an important prerequisite for this ceremony. A Yagnasala is built by the side of the main temple. Apart from the pedestal for the main kalasa at the center of the yagna shala, five homa kundas are generally prepared for the main deity, besides individual homa kundas for the other deities. These five homakundas are intended for the five forms of fire- Sabhya, Aahavaniya, Anvaharya, Garhapatya and Avasathya. The main kunda is sanctified by the performance of the various homas. Along with the Kumbhabhishekam done to the main deity, the same is being repeated to the other deities of the temple simultaneously. Vimaana (steeple), Dwjasthamba (flag post) and Balipeetha (sacrificial pedestal) abhishekams are also done at the same time. After this ceremony is over, the priests come around, sprinkling this holy water over all the devotees present. This is considered very auspicious and is called „Prokshanam‟.
Homas, ordained in the Aagama sastras, to be performed during this time, are performed with due ritualistic care and attention. Poornahuti and Mahaa Deepa-aaradhana are performed at the end of the proceedings. At the conclusion of the ceremony the power secured by the performance of the various Homas are transferred to the main homakunda. Thereafter, rituals follow to transfer the divine power accumulated in the main homakunda to the main kalasa installed at the center of the Yaagasala. The sacred fire of the Homakunda is extinguished thereafter. Elaborate poojas are conducted to kalasaas to energize the same with all the power. The highlight of this process is bathing of the Vimaana (steeple) and all the deities from the water of the kalasaas, by the priests. The Aacharyas are the center of attraction with their prominent turbans. Mahadeepa Aradhana to the sanctified deities after the kumbhabhishekam, and performing Shodashopachara (sixteen steps) Pooja is a memorable sight. Theertha, prasada distribution and „Annadhaana ‟ (free food distribution) bring down the curtain to the grand ritual of great significance.
Traditionally, the Kumbhabhishekam ceremony is followed by special poojas for the benefit of society and mankind as a whole. Accordingly, on the evening of this ceremony Kalyana utsavams (marriage ceremonies) are performed followed by taking the deities in a procession. According to the Aagama sastras that guide temple rituals “Mandala Abhishekam” must be performed for over a month (normally 45 days) after the completion of the Mahaa-Samprokshanam or Maha Kumbhabhishekam. The Mandala pooja enhances the divine presence in the consecrated (recharged) archana and moola (main) vigrahaas.
Kumbhabhishekam ceremony has everlasting effect on the society as a whole, besides on devotees. Aagama sastras mention, “Sarvaroga nivrityartham, sarva yaaga phalapradam Sarva sampathkaram nreenam putrapoutrabhi vardhanam, It is conducted with the sole purpose of eradicating all illness, obtaining good benefits from various Yagaas, deriving rich benefits for the well being and for the healthy propagation of the progeny.
The kumbhabhishekam brings all-round prosperity not only to any particular group or devotees but also to the society as a whole. As we all know Sanatana Dharma postulates „Vasudheka kutumbakam‟ the whole world is one family and „Eko vipraha Bahuda vadanti‟, wise men call the ONE (Supreme) by many names and forms.