The term ‘Utsava’ means a festival that raises one beyond the darkness of material life. Festivals elevate us to spiritual consciousness by connecting us with the deity through service. In Sanskrit ‘ut’means, up, rising, excitement wisdom etc. ‘sava’ means generating, producing etc. The word signifies an event that generates happiness, excitement, uplifting, and prosperity. Yet another interpretation gives ‘ut’ means obstacles, impediments and ‘sava’ is throwing out. Thus ‘Utsava’ is an event to eliminate impediments, enables us to cross over all sorrow. Festivals can be conducted only after the daily and customary rituals of worship (nityarchana) are completed in the sanctum. The procedure of worship within the sanctum remains altogether unaltered despite the large number of festivals that are conducted there. Not an extra flower is offered, not a single fresh hymn is recited within the sanctum.
All the details of the festival are to be found only outside the sanctum. That is why it is common to find in the temples two varieties of icons: the immoveable main image in the sanctum, which gets daily worship and the moveable icons to which are conducted rituals connected with festivals and hence are called Utsava murthi. The Brahmotsavam of Lord Venkateswara is a melting point of cultures. An annual festival that lasts for ten days, it attracts millions of devotees from length and breadth of the country and abroad. Legend has it that, Brahmotsavam was first observed when the creator, Lord Brahma had performed puja on Lord Venkateshwara along with renowned Rishis and countless devotees of Lord Venkateshwara. The Brahmotsavam of today is the continuation of that. Inscriptional evidence takes back this festival to the period of Pallava, in whose time Samavai, A princess of Pallava line of rulers instituted the performance of Brahmotsavam in 996 AD.