Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.  in Andhra Pradesh, India

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

in Andhra Pradesh, India

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple Photo © R E B E L ™®

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Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

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 - Tirumala Venkateswara
	Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple.
The ancient temple of Sri Venkateswara, records of which was found in documents that dates back 300 BC, is located on the 7th hilltop of the Venkata Hills (Venkatachala) which lies in the Seshachalam range on the southern banks of the holy water tank, Sri Swami Pushkarini. Hence Sri Venkateshwara is also known as the “Lord of the Seven Hills”.

According to Hindu religious lore, in the Kali Yuga (Wikipedia Article) (the modern times) Muki or Salavation can only be reached by worshiping Sri Venkateswara or Venkata Nayaka. The ancient Hindu scriptures like the Puranas, Sastras, Alwar Hymes and even in the Rig Veda, pilgrimage to this temple on top of Venkatachala hold an unique sanctity in all scriptures of the bygone age.

The Lord of Tirumala (Wikipedia Article), has also been considered as the greatest “Bestower of Boons” in the ancient Asthadasa Puranas, not to mention of the several legends that are associated with the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as Sri Venkateswara who presides over Venkatachala.
This temple is so famous among the Indians and also foreigners that right from the Presidents and the ministers of India to all famous intellectuals and personalities of the glamour world often visits this temple to offer their homage to the Lord.
Lord Venkateshwara is also known by several other names such as Govinda, Balaji and Srinivasa.

Sri vari Sannidhi- Tirumala -
	Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Sri vari Sannidhi- Tirumala - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Photo by R E B E L ™®

Location

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is located near Tirupati, on top of the Tirumala Hills which lies in the Chittoore district in Andhra Pradesh. The Tirumala Hill is 835 m above the sea level and is of 10.33 sq0.0 kilometers, which comprises of seven peaks and is also known as Seshachalam.
The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is situated on top of the seventh hill which is known as Venkatadri.
The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, is considered to be the second richest temple in Kerala (Wikipedia Article), next to the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram. The annual income of this temple is more the 500 billion INR per day, is also the most visited temple in the world.
On an average, there are 75,000 to 100,000 pilgrims that visit this temple every day, which even shoots to more than 500,000 during festivals like Brahmotsavam and others, which are held in this most visited Hindu place of worship in south of India.

History

Although according to the Hindu mythological texts, this temple site was very much there even more than 1,500 years in the past. During the medieval ages, the Pallvas of the 9th-century AD who ruled from Kanchipuram, the Cholas of the 10th-century and also the Pradhans of the Vijayanagara kingdom during the 14th and 15th century were all ardent devotees of Lord Venkateshwara. It was under the patronage of the Emperors of the Vijayanagara dynasty, specially Sri Krishna Deva Raya, that this temple gained most of its current size and wealth.
An idol of Raja Todar Mal, who was the revenue minister of Mughal Emperor, Akbar the Great, can still be found standing in this temple. The kings of Garhwal and Mysore were also ardent devotees of Lord Venkateshwara, who also donated generously for the betterment of this holy place.
After 1843, with the coming of the Madras Presidency under the British Raj, this temple along with several other important Hindu shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt, who is also known as the Vicaranakarta.
This nonadministrative protocol of the temple continued till 1932, until the formation of the present day’s Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which was formed under the TTD Act.
After the Indian Independence in 1947, now the daily responsibility of the TTD falls in the hands of an executive officer who holds the chair, appointment of the Andhra Pradesh government assigned by the Government Of India.

 - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. . Photo by R E B E L ™®

What to See

Upon visiting this Dravidian temple, one cannot help but see the monumental tower of the Tirumala temple which is known as the Vimanam. The Vimanam is plated with several tons of gold sheets and it’s spectacular to look at it when its shines brilliantly in the rays of the tropical sun.
Inside the inner temple or the Garbhagruha, which is below the Vimanam, is the sanctum sanatorium of the main deity- Lord Venkateshwara. The main deity stands beneath a gilt doom which is known as Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana and wears a gold crown that is decorated with a large emerald in the front. On special occasions, Lord Venkateshwara is also adorned with a diamond studded crown and his body is dressed with yellow clothing which is tied with a gold belt accompanied by gold bells and gold strings that decorates his apparel.

It is believed that no human being could have installed this life-sized idol of Lord Venkata Nayaka in this shrine, as it self-manifested over here sometime during the ancient ages.
The Lord also wears golden earrings and while his right hand rests on his lap, the left hand of this idol is akimbo.
The feet of Lord Venkateshwara is covered with gold frames and are also decked with anklets which are made out of pure gold.

Languages Spoken

Although Telegu is the official language of this place, most of the people in this area can converse both in Hindi and English.

Major festivals held in this temple

As a Vaishnava Temple, all Vaishnava festivals are celebrated on the Tirumala Hills. While Brahmotsavam is the main annual festival which is held here every year, during the month of September, other festivals such as Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Rama Navami, Janmashtami, Vasanthotsavam (Spring festival), Rathasapthami (Magha Shuddha Saptami) are also celebrated in this land.

Temple Activities

tirupati laddu - Tirumala
	Venkateswara Temple
tirupati laddu - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Photo by hamsamegha


Tirupati Laddu

The globally famous gastronomic delight “Tirupati Laddu” is given to the devotees and visitors of this temple, which one needs to buy from the temple’s authority.
Recently, the temple authorities has also made a ‘Geographical Indication’ tagging of this Laddu, under the Indian Patent Office Act, so that no one can prepare this delicious and awesome Laddu (Wikipedia Article) anywhere else in the world.

Free meals

Free meals are also given to the pilgrims and the tourist who visits this holy land. Curd rice, tamarind rice, vada, sweet pongal, miryala pongal, appam, jilebi, mruku, paayasam, dosa and seera are the names of some of the dishes that are available both as Prasadam and even as free meals in this temple.

Tonsuring of the head

“Mokku” or offering to God, is done in this temple by the devotees as they tonsure their heads, whereby the daily amount of hairs collected in this temple exceeds several tons. These hairs are later on sold by the temple organizations in public auctions to various fashion and cosmetic industries. It is estimated that the temple makes over $6 million every year by selling these hairs both in the domestic and international markets.

Hundi

Devotees who visit the Tirupati Temple, most often than not, donates money in Lord Venkata Nayaka’s ‘Hundi’- which signifies the donation pot.
It has been recorded, that often, this collection inside the Hundi (Wikipedia Article) goes beyond 23 million INR per day.
Devotees also offer a multitude of gold ornaments as a token of their love to Lord Venkateshwara. In April 2010, it has been rumored that the temple authority deposited more than 3,000 kg of gold with the State Bank of India, which is just a small part of what had been accumulated in this temple’s treasury over time.

Thulabharam

Thulabharam (Wikipedia Article) (where by the devotee sits on a balancing scale and the other end of the scale is filled with weights that are greater than the devotee) is another most important offering in this temple. In general, this is mostly performed with new-borns and children and the offerings are made with jaggery, sugar, banana, tulsi leaves, and even at times with precious metals like gold, silver or with coins.

Paid Service

Arjitha Seva or paid service is offered by the temple authorities whereby devotees can view and participate in a limited fashion in various Sevas performed on the main idol of Lord Venkateshwara.
Pilgrims those who purchase Arjitha Seva tickets also receives sacred and blessed rice and gets the opportunity of seeing the Utsava Murti of the Lord.


Hindu Temple, Pittsburgh -
	Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Hindu Temple, Pittsburgh - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Photo by Martin Prochnik

How to reach



By Foot

One can reach the Tirumala shrine by walking 11 kilometers from Alipiri town which lies at its foot hill. Another journey by foot for this temple starts from Srinivasa Mangapuram, which is approximately 15 kilometers from the Tirupati town.

By Road

There are two roads which runs from Alipiri town to Tirumala, whereby one each is dedicated to the up and down traffic. There are several APSRTC buses which plies throughout the day between Tirupati and Alipiri. TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams) also runs free bus for the transit of the locals and visitors within the Tirumala city.

By Rail

The nearest railway station is 26 kilometers away from Tirumala and is located at Tirupati. Tirupati, being a major railway station on the South Central Indian Railway, this town is connected to all major cities within the country.

By Air

While the nearest international airstrip near Tirumala is the Chennai International Airport. which is 163 kilometers from this holy township, one can also use the Tirupati Airport which is 40 kilometers from Tirumala and accommodates direct flights from Mumbai, Visakhapatnam and New Delhi.

Sri Venkateswara Temple -
	Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Sri Venkateswara Temple - Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. Photo by hjordisyr

Nearby Places of Tourist Interest

The natural waterfall Akaasa Ganga is a nice place to visit in the Tirumala locality. Apart from that one, visitors can also visit the Srivari Paadamulu. Natural stone arch and the Sri Ramanuja Shrine which is located in and around this temple.
Srikalahasti Temple, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Sri Padmavati Devi Alayam (Alamelu Mangapuram), Sri Govinda Raja Swami Temple, Sri Kodanda Rama Swami Temple, Sri Kapileswara Swami Temple, Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swami Temple, and Sri Mallayana Perumala Swamy Devalayalam are some of the other famous holy locations that are located, at a distance not too far, from the Tirumala Hills.

Temple Opening Hours

The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple remains open from 2.30 AM at night till 1.30 AM every day, other than Fridays, when it closes at 11.30 PM and reopens at 2.30 AM once again.

Best Time to Visit

September is the best month to visit this temple during the famous Brahmotsavam festival. One can also visit this holy land during Magha Shuddha Saptami festival which happens during the February month.
As Tirumala Hills falls within the tropics, the weather generally remains hot (approx. more than 40° C) in this place throughout the year, apart from September till the end of February, when the temperature falls down negligibly due to sporadic precipitations in this region during these months.

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Author: SubhasishMitra. Last updated: Jan 02, 2015

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Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
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