Vaikunta Ekadashi is one of the most eminent and propitious days to the Hindus. Vaikunta Ekadashi occurs between December and January. This is observed with all solemnity in the temples of Lord Vishnu. Fasting is prescribed on all Ekadashis, that is, the 11th day of the lunar fortnight, twice a month. On the day of Vaikunta Ekadashi, devotees offer prayers to Lord Vishnu, fast for the entire day, and meditate. People who follow this vigorously are not allowed to eat rice on this day. During the night, devotees visit the temple, stay awake and burn the midnight oil. On this day, the Vaikunta Dwaram or the Swarga Vaasal, ‘The Gates of Heaven’ are believed to be kept open. The area encircling the sanctum is referred to Swarga Vaasal and devotees throng to gain entry into the temple, to seek the Lord.
The significance of Vaikunta Ekadasi is mentioned in the ‘Padma Purana’. As per the legend, the Devas unable to bear the tyranny of ‘Muran’, a demon, approached Lord Shiva, who directed them to Lord Vishnu. A battle ensued between Lord Vishnu and the demon and the Lord realised that a new weapon was needed to slay Muran.In order to take rest and create a new weapon, the Lord retired to a cave called ‘Himavati’ in Badrikashrama. When Muran tried to slay the Lord, who was sleeping, the female energy that emerged from the Lord burnt him to ashes in one look. Lord Vishnu who was pleased, named the female energy ‘Ekadasi’ and asked her to claim a boon. Ekadasi, instead beseeched the Lord that people who observed a fast on that day should be redeemed of their sins. The Lord thus declared that people who observed a fast on that day and worshiped Ekadasi, would attain Vaikunta. Thus came into being the first Ekadasi, which was a Dhanurmasa sukla paksha ekadasi. – (wikipedia)
This morning, my dad, his friend and I woke up at 3:30am, got ready and reached the mylapore srinivas perumal koil temple by half 4. We had a fantastic dharshan of the Lord. People kept queuing up to have a dharshan. Later, around 4:00pm, I was astonished to see people queuing up at TTD temple on venkatnarayan road beyond 200 metres. This clearly indicates people do give so much of importance for this auspicious day despite their busy schedules.
God bless! Peace!