Sunday, February 25, 2024

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Tirupati Temple




Andhra Pradesh



Temple dedicated to lord Venkateshwara (Vishnu)

Best time to visit


September to February 

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Tirupati is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh, in Chittoor district. Known as the abode of the Hindu god 'Venkateshwara' (Lord Vishnu), Tirupati is famous for the 10th century Venkateswara temple (11kms) located on the seventh peak Venkatachala, in the sacred Tirumala hills at an elevation of 860m. The Puranic conception of the hill is that it represents the body of Adisesha (a seven hooded serpent) the seven hills being his seven heads, on top of which Lord Vishnu the protector of the world rests. One of the most important pilgrimage centers in India, the temple draws millions of  pilgrims and is believed to be the busiest pilgrimage centre in the world.

Legend Behind the Temple
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala in the Puranas.  The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism. Once sage Bhrigu visited the aboard of the gods to settle a dispute among the scholars regarding the supreme power among the trinity.He first visited Siva and Brahma's aboard both of whom ignored him.  An enraged Bhrigu then visited Vishnu who was fast asleep. In his anger he kicked Vishu on his chest. But Vishnu put up with the insult considering him as a great sage but Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu did not. Lakshmi quarreled with Vishnu and left him. Feeling lonely in Vaikunta, Vishnu is believed to have come down to earth and settled here in hill Seshachalam, to rest and meditate. In course of time he was buried under an ant hill and later turned to stone. Years after, the cows of a local king which used to come here, milked of their own accord and returned home dry. The king came to know of it, discovered the underground form of Lord Srinivasa and placed the Lord in the now famous shrine at Tirupati.

The 2m high standing idol of Venkateswara or the Lord of the Seven Hills, on a lotus flanked by his consorts Bhudevi and Sridevi,  is believed to grant any wish made in front of it. The most striking feature of the awe-inspiring black idol is its fabulous diamond crown, which is said to be the most precious single ornament in the world. The richest temple in India, it is a master piece of South Indian Dravidian Architecture.

The Sanctorum 'Ananda Nilayam' has a glittering gold covered 'Vimana' and gold covered gates guard the sanctum sanctorum. The rulers of all the great dynasties of the southern peninsula have been ardent devotees and paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. 

The approach to the temple is through mango groves and sandal wood forest and devotees chanting 'Govinda' or 'Om Namo Venkatesaya' reach  the top where the temple is situated. The daily program starts with 'Suprabhatam' (awakening the Lord) at three in the morning and end with the 'Ekanta Seva' (putting the Lord to sleep) at one in the night. Daily, Weekly and Periodical sevas and utsavams are performed to the Lord. Pilgrims can choose from the list and pay to get the 'Sevas' or 'Utsavams' done on their name. Anointing the idol with camphor, saffron and musk and the offering of their hair by pilgrims are important customs performed.  A bath in the 'Swami Pushkarini' tank, adjacent to the temple is believed to cleanse devotees of their sins. A consecrated sweet is distributed as 'prasadam' to about 50,000 pilgrims on festival days. The pilgrims visit and pay homage to Adivaraha idol in the Sri Varaha Swami Temple, situated on the banks of the tank before visiting Sri Venkateswara Temple. 

The devotees stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds. Different darshans are arranged for the convenience of the pilgrims, the 'Sarvadarshan' -'darshan for all', free of cost, timings differ on different week days, Special darshan (paid darshan), 'Sudarshanam' -free or paid darshan's using a token system minimizing the waiting time) and special darshan for the physically disabled and the aged.

Brahmotsavam, the most important of the various festivals of the temple, is conducted usually in Bhadrapada i.e., in September for about 9 days. On account of Adika Masam, which comes in every third year, the Brahmotsavam celebrated then is especially grand and held under the name 'Navarathri Brahmotsavam'. The 'Garudotsavam' and the temple car festival 'Rathotsavam' is particularly popular. These Brahmotsavams attract thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the country.