Sri Venkateswara Swamy
Pilgrimage is considered the most sacred form of devotion in Hindu religion; It activates the unperturbed devotion to the lord and creates undisturbed spiritual devotion taking your mind to the higher echelons of spiritual existence. Among all the places of worship Tirumala temple in Andhra pradesh, India is considered the epitome of Hindu temples. Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Balaji and Govinda, have commanded the fierce devotion of generations.
The location and positioning of the temple itself is sure to awe the mind with devotion and prayer; The tirumala is a conglomeration of seven divine hills – Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The temple is located on the seventh peak of the seven hills, winged by the six other hills. The entire seven-peak complex is spread over 10 square miles. The sacred temple is located on the seventh peak of the seven hills. At a height of 853 meters the peak is sure to inspire awe.
He is also called Srinivasa, Tirumalesa, Tirumalappa, Timmappa. This temple has acquired a special sanctity in the Hindu religion. The benefits that accrue by a pilgrimage to this holy town is mentioned in the Vedas and Puranas. Hindus all over the world believe that in Kali Yuga it’s possible to attain mukti by worshiping Lord Venkateswara. There are footsteps leading to the hill with two separate serpentine roads to reach the shrine. According to legend, God Vishnu revealed himself earlier in the previous incarnations as Varahaswamy on the banks of the present temple tank.. This manifestation of the white boar (Sveta Varaham) is enshrined in the Adi Varahaswany temple situated on the northeastern banks of the tank. “Ven” means “sin” and “Kata” means”destroyed” Therefore Venkata means, a person who worships there will get cleansed of all sins. Around 50,000 pilgrims visit the temple every day.
Tirumala is known to have a history that goes back to the age of the Sangam Literature that lasted from 500 B.C. to 300 A.D. The reference of the famous shrine in Tirupati can be found in the literature of IIango Vadigal’s Silapadikarm and Satanar’s Manimeghalai Bear. The Tirumala hills are known to be world’s second oldest rock mountain. Thondaiman, ruler of ancient Tondai Nadu is believed to have first built the temple after visualizing Lord Vishnu in a dream. He built the Gopuram and the Prakhara, and arranged for regular prayers to be conducted in the temple. Later on, the Chola Dynasty (300 BC–1279)vastly improved the temple and gave rich endowments.
Some of the earliest rulers of Tirumala are the Kings of Pallav kingdom which is known to be there around the 4th century AD. The temple is known to have been brought to limelight by the Alvars orVaishnava saints, who were the followers of Vishnu and sung praises of the Lord, in the 5th century. Tirupati has been ruled by various kings belonging to different dynasties, like Cholas, Hoysalas andVijaynagar rulers. All the kings have played an important role in the expansion of the temple structure. Tirumala was a subject to Muslim invasion around the 12th century and it was during this time that the deity of Srirangapatna was brought to Tirupati for safety.
In 1517 Vijayanagara ruler Sri Krishna Deva Raya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels, enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be golded. Statues of Sri Krishna Deva Raya and his spouse stand in the premises of the temple. After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire, kings from states such as Mysore and Gadwal worshiped as pilgrims and gave ornaments and valuables to the temple. Maratha general Raghoji I Bhonsle (died 1755) visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple. There is an idol of Raja Todar Mal who was the revenue minister of Akbar, greeting pilgrims in the premises of the temple.
Sri venkateswara Temple will be in accordance with Vaishnava Sampradaya. Sri Venkateswara Swamywho is on the Tirumala hill got the fame of being the most sacred even before 18th Century. Let us make our lives meaningfull by visiting Venkateswara Swamy who made his presence in the central part of the Temple. We can see Mandapas statues and doors which were carved and designed in a beautiful way in the premises of the Temple, which should be visited and known in the premises of the Temple The famous temple of Sri Varahaswami in Tirumala is to the north of the Sri Venkateshwara temple, on the banks of Swami Pushkarini. The presiding deity is Varaha Swami, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar that was staying on the hills when The Lord descended unto earth.
He had to take permission from Lord Varaha Swami to stay here and grant HIM (Lord Varaha), the privilege of first view by the visiting pilgrims and first Naivedyam (sacred offering of food to Lord for consecration) in return. Thus it is imperative that pilgrims visit Sri Varaha Swami first and The Lord, only later. According to legend, Tirumala was originally the Adi Varahakshetra (place belonging to Sri Adi Varahaswami). Lord Sri Venkateshwara took up residence here, with the permission of Sri Varahaswami. According to Brahmapurana, Naivedyam (food offered to God) should first be offered to Sri Varahaswami. Pilgrims should visit Sri Varahaswami temple prior to Sri Venkateshwara temple. According to Atri Samhita(Samurtarchanadhikara), Varaha Avatara is worshipped in three ways as Adi Varaha, Pralaya Varaha, and Yajna Varaha. The idol of Sri Varahaswami in Tirumala is that of Adi Varaha, as it resembles the description of the Adi Varaha Murti in Vaikhanasa Agama texts.
Tirumala hill is also known as Anjanadri, because Hanuman ( The Wind God) Took birth on earth here Sri Baydi Anjaneyaswami Temple is located on Sannidhi Street, opposite the main temple.
The idol of Sri Anjaneya is shown with its hands folded in supplication (the Anjali pose). Rarity of the temple is that we find Lord Hanuman in astanding pose with folded hands tied with a chain. Lord Hanuman as a child (Bala Hanuman) was highly mischievous and disturbing the sages on the hill while performing penance. In order to control Bala Hanuman his mother tied him with iron chain which is known as Bedi (hand-cuffs) in Telugu language.
There are different types of Darshans to visit Sri Venkateshwara Swamy temple. Sarvadarshanam is free for the devotees Vaikuntam II Q complex. Sudarshnam ticket i.e 50/- per person, Special entry Darshans i.e 300/- per persons, Divya darshan tickets for Pedestrians, Senior Citizens & Physicall Handicapped Darshans (at special times) and special entry for Parents with Infant (Below 1 Year), TTD employees, VIP’s etc.,
Sudarshanam tickets are issued in Advance in ALL E-darshan counters. Current booking also i.e., on that day early morning 5.00 AM up to till Tickets ending at various places of Tirupati and Tirumala. Darshan and Seva tickets, Accommodation facilities can be booked by TTD’s official online website www.ttdsevaonline.com.
The other temples that can be visited by the Devotees in Tirupati surroundings are Sri Govindarajaswami Temple, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple, Sri Kapileswaraswamy Temple, Alamelumangapuram (Tiruchanur), Srivari Padala Mandapam, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Sri Vinayaka Swamy Temple and ISKAN temple. TTD offers Package tours to visit these temples.
Devotees visit this temple will also visit Srikalahasthi temple of Lord Shiva in a distance of 40Km from here.
The Tirumala and Tirupati Devasthana is easily accessible from the Tirupati City.
This temple city is connected with major cities of the country through by Road, Rail and Flight services. Lord Balaji Temple is located on Tirumal Hills which is 23.2Kms from the Tirupati City. Frequent Shuttle bus services are available from the Tirupati Railway station and Bus station for the convenient of the Devotees reaching from all parts of the country. Tirupati Central Bus station is 23.2Kms and Tirupati Railway station is 21.8Kms from the temple. By flight Renigunta airport is the nearest Airport – 38.9 Km to reach the temple.
APSRTC runs free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri with a frequency of 30 minutes. The Free bus services,operated by TTD in tirumala are known as "Dharma Radhams" in Tirumala, at a frequency of every 3 minutes in the prescribed time slots. Taxi Cars and Private vehicle services are available to travel to and from Tirupati and Tirumala.
- Lord Balaji temple opens with the Suprabhata Seva between 2:30 AM to 3:00 AM. Sarvadarshanam is between 07:00 AM - 07:00 PM and 08:00 PM - 01:00 AM daily. Darshanam closes with Ekantha Seva takes place at 1:30 AM.
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