Lord Venkateswara Temple
The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.It is by the Lord's presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.
Tirupati Tirumala Balaji TempleThe temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.
The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestowed of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.
Meaning Of Venkateswara Swamy:-
The Venkatam hill is believed to be a part of the celestial mount meru, brought to the earth from Vaikuntam by Garuda.The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatdri and there are several legends associated with the manifestation of the lord in Tirumala. The shrine of the lord is very ancient and there are ample references to it in the early inscriptions belonging to the Chola and Pallava periods as well in the Sangam literature. The abode of the lord is about 10 Km north-west of Tirupati and there are footsteps leading to the hill as well as 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.
The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
The sacred temple of Sri Venkateshwara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatadri (Venkata Hill), and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. The name Tirupati, meaning the 'the Lord of Lakshmi should have been appropriately applied to the village on the Venkata Hill, the abode of the Lord. However, it has been popularly assigned to the Municipal town at the foot of the Hill, while the village around the Hill near His temple is called Tirumala (the Sacred Hill). Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a famous Hindu temple located in the hill town Tirumala, near Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Tirumala, is a hill town in Chittoor district in the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Tirumala is a Firstmost divine piligrim center of Hindu / Vedha Religion, popularly known as Sri Venkateswara Temple - which is dedicated for the Supreme God Shri mann Narayana / Maha Vishnu. As like Rama Avathara / Krishna Avathara are known as Vibhava avathara of the God, the Sri Rengam/Tirumala/Badrinath are the existing places of Archavatharas of the Supreme God. Vishnu in the form of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala Venkateshwara (Sanskrit & Telugu), also known as Venkatachalapathy or Srinivasa or Balaji, is the supreme God believed to be a form of the Hindu Deity Lord Vishnu. He appeared in this Yuga Kali Yuga for saving the people who have fallen deeply and are deluded in three modes of material nature. Lord Venkateshwara means supreme God who destroys the sins of the people in this material world .
History Of Venkatadri:-
Sri Venkateswara Temple which is the most ancient Prligrim Center in India is on Tirumala Hill. This Temple is in the geographical limits of Tirupathi in Chittoor District. The Tirumala Hill forms the southern end of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh. It rises to a maximum height of 1104 metres above the sea level and consists of seven peaks or ridges, hence the name Sapthagiri or Seven Hills. It covers an area of about 250 Sq Km and resembles a massive Serpent, giving it the name Seshadri or the Hill of Snake. The head of the Serpent is Tirumala, the body is Ahobilam to the North & the tail is Srisailam, even further North. Lord Venkateswara Temple is on Venkatadri which is one of the Seven hills. Tiru means ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’ and mala means hills/mountain in Dravidian languages. Therefore it translates as Holy mountains.
•Seshadri – Hill of Sesha,the dasa of Lord Vishnu
•Vrushabhadri — Hill of Nandi, the vahanaof Lord Shiva
•Anjanadri — Hill of Lord Hanuman
•Neeladri — Hill of Neela Devi
•Garudadri — Hill of Garuda, the Vehicle of Lord Vishnu
•Naraynadri — Hill of Narada Muni
•Venkatadri — Hill of Lord Venkateswara
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 or Vaishnava 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 and Vijaynagar 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 Swamy who 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.
There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
Sri KrishnadevarayaAll the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th – 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.
It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.
After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. The Maratha general, Raghoji Bhonsle, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.
After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control.
In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. The administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were then entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, till 1933 AD.
In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams(TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras.
In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Officer was appointed by the Government .
The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966.
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them. The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest. According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini. One day, Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, in the course of his pilgrimage, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going up the Tirumala Hill for the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara. After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed and blue-bodied Vishnu beneath a tamarind tree. Vishnu was exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was only protected by the extended wings of Garuda.Rangadasa was astounded by the wonderful sight. He raised a rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying flowers faithfully to Gopinatha everyday for Vishnu's worship. One day, Rangadasa was distracted by a Gandharva king and his ladies. Consequently, he forgot to supply flowers to Gopinatha for Vishnu's worship. The Lord then revealed Himself and told Rangadasa that He had been testing the latter's continence, but Rangadasa had not been steadfast and had succumbed to temptation.
However, the Lord accepted and appreciated Rangadasa's devoted service to Him till then, and blessed Rangadasa that he would be reborn as an affluent ruler of a province and would enjoy the earthly pleasures. He would continue to serve the Lord, construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding walls, and thereby earn eternal glory. Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, the son of the royal couple, Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman enjoyed a pleasurable life as a young man. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the Tirumala Hill, and with the help of a forester, saw Vishnu under the tamarind tree. Tondaman returned home, deeply affected by the vision of Vishnu. Tondaman later inherited his father's kingdom, Tondamandalam. In accordance with the directions given by Adi Varaha to a forester, Tondaman constructed a prakaram and dvara gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord (according to Vaikhanasa Agama). In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja came to rule over Tondamandalam. His daughter Padmavathi was married to Venkateswara. The marriage, officiated by Brahma, was celebrated with great pomp and splendour.
The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966.
Structure of Main Temple In Tirumala:-
Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Srinivasa, Balaji, and Veṅkaṭachalapati, made Tirumala his abode five thousand years ago. Even before him, it was Lord Varahaswami who had made Tirumala his abode. Since then, many devotees have continued to construct grand entrances on the ramparts of the temple over generations. The temple complex is spread over 16.2 acres of land.
The height of the main entrance has been increased periodically since 13th century. Its present height is fifty feet. This entrance has other names such as ‘Padivaakili’ and ‘Simhadwaram’.In Tamil it is called ‘Periya Thiruvasal’. On either side of this main entrance there are two feet high statues made of alloy metal (Pancha loha). They are Sankanidhi and Padmanidhi who are the guardians of ‘Navanidhi’, the treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
The Maha Dwaram comprises three consecutive entrances – the first is a brass one, while the second is a silver one. The third entrance is a golden one.
Sankha Nidhi – Padma Nidhi:-
These are the two angels guarding the wealth and treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara. As per the tradition these are installed at the third entrance of the temple. One enters the holy shrine after saluting the first protection threshold - Sankha Nidhi and Padma Nidhi. According to history, these statues were consecrated by Vijayanagara emperor Achyutha Rayalu, the younger brother of Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu.
Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam :-
Abutting the Mahadwara and to its right, there is a high-rise mandapam (Porch). This is called Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam or Pratima Mandapam. This mandapam has been constructed in Vijayanagara architectural style. To the right side of this porch, one can find tall copper statues of the emperor of Vijayanagara kingdom, Sri Krishnadevarayalu and his two consorts, Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi.
These three statues placed in front of Lord Sri Venkateswara express their devotion to him. It is said that Sri Krishnadevarayalu himself installed these statues on 2nd January 1517 A.D. and then onwards this mandapam has become famous as the Krishnadevarayalu mandapam. Their names are inscribed on the shoulder badges of these statues.
By the left side of the main entrance or Mahadwaram there is a tall copper statue with folded hands. This is the statue of Venkatapatirayalu, the king of Chandragiri. He was a generous king who ruled Chandragiri during 1570s and donated many valuable gifts to the deity.
Twelve feet to the north of Sri Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam, there is a glass porch. Every day at 2 p.m., a service called”Dolotsavam” is performed for the Lord in this glass porch. Historical evidence proves that this seva programme began to be performed in 1831.
Just opposite to the glass porch, there is another high rise mandapam called Ranganayakula Mandapam. Due to the Muslim invasions between 1320 and 1369 A.D., the idols of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangapatnam were shifted to Tirumala for safe keeping. Daily prayers and poojas were offered to him in this Mandapam. After the cessation of the Muslim invasions, these statues were once again shifted back to Srirangam. Yet this place has retained the name of Ranganayakula Mandapam to this day.
This mandapam is said to have been built by the king of Tirupathi, named Ranganadha Yadava Rayalu. It is in this mandapam that Kalyanothsavams were performed for the Lord. However, due to the increase in pilgrim rush, currently daily Kalyanothsavams are performed in Sampangi Pradakshinam.
Ten feet to the south of the flagstaff, there is another stone pillared pavilion called Tirumalaraya Mandapam. This was built by Saluvanarasimharayalu, the emperor of Vijayanagara, to express his gratitude to the Lord for the help extended towards his victories.
All couples begetting children with the blessings of the Lord, offer money in the form of coins, silver, candy and camphor equivalent to the weight of their children, as avowed by them. Even the patients, who are cured of their diseases, express their gratitude similarly. This Tulabharam is arranged in front of the Ranganayakalu Mandapam.
At about hundred feet from the flagstaff, there are three copper statues of devotees, facing the Lord and saluting him with folded hands. One is that of Lala khemaramu, the other is that of his mother Mata Mohana Devi and the third one is that of his wife Pita Bibi. Lala Khemarumu is a kshatriya known as Raja Todaramallu. He courageously protected Tirumala both from the invasions of Muslims and the British during the seventeenth century. The Lord blessed this family and bestowed them with a place in His temple.
Dwajasthambham, -the golden flagstaff is located in the middle of a twenty-pillared square pavilion. To the east of the flagstaff there is an altar and to the northeast, there is granite stone called ‘Kshetrapalakasila’. This pavilion is said to have been constructed in the fifteenth century.
During Brahmotsavams, a flag with Garuda’s imprint is hoisted on this flagstaff for extending an invitation to gods and goddesses (Yaksha, Kinnera and Gandharva), to attend this festival. Those wishing to take pooja material or other things into the sanctum, have to perform circumambulation along dwajasthamba including the Lord whenever he is taken outside or returned to the main temple.
Bali Peetam (Altar):-
Adjoining the flagstaff is the Bali Peetam or altar. After offering Naivedyam to the Lord and other deities and after exiting through the silver gate, the Prasadam is kept on this altar. It is believed that this food offering is accepted by deities, the angles and the elemental forces.
Kshetrapalaka Sila (Big Round Stone):-
To the north east corner of the altar, under the flagstaff porch, there is a one and half feet high stone slab. This is called ‘Kshetrapalaka Sila’. It is said that this stone slab marched around the temple for providing security to the Shrine at night.
Priests used to keep the keys of the temple on this stone slab every night after closing the temple and collect them to open the temple in the morning, after saluting it.
On entering the precincts of the temple, one first encounters the circumambulation passage called ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’. The grand circumambulation passage outside the temple is not considered for this purpose. Therefore ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ is considered to be the primary one. Earlier Sampangi flower plants (gold flowers, Michelia Champaka) were grown in this pathway for decorating the Lord and hence, the name.
Four Pillar Mandapam:-
Four pavilions in the four corners of ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ were built by Saluva Narasimha Raya in 1470 A.D. in the names of himself, his wife and his two sons.
Earlier all wedding festivities of the Lord were celebrated at the pavilion in the ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’. With the increase in the number of the devotees attending the events, these festivities started being held for some time in Ranganayaka Mandapam. Now, the celestial wedding is performed in this Kalyanotsava Mandapam.
Ugranam (Store House):-
‘Ugranam’ means Godown. All the pavilions on western side are now being used as store houses. The material used for the Lord’s ‘Puja’ and other rituals is now stored in the North-West corner of the ‘Sampangi Pradakshina’.
Viraja River (Prohibited Area):-
As per the legend, Viraja, a sacred river of Vaikuntam flows below the lotus feet of the Lord. The well of water in the temple complex is believed to be a part of that holy river. This well is located in front of the Ugranam or store house. Idols are sculpted on the stones used for the inner walls of this well. Hence this well is called ‘toy well’ or ‘Bommala Baavi’.
The temple kitchen is located in the route of Sampangi Pradakshinam. This kitchen is referred to as ‘Padi potu’. Sweets and savouries like laddoo, vada, appam, dosa, poli, sukhiya, jilebi, and so on, which are offered to the Lord are prepared here in large quantities. To the East of this kitchen is the ‘Flower Chamber’.
The flower chamber was earlier located in the ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’. All the flowers used for the service of the Lord and other deities are supplied from this flower chamber, which is called ‘Yamunottarai’. This ‘flower chamber’ now stands shifted to ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’. Every morning and evening the Jiyyangars collect the flower garlands prepared in the flower chamber and carry them over their heads to the Lord, after circumambulating the flagstaff amidst blowing trumpets and umbrellas for shading. These flower garlands are presented to the Sanctum for performing the various rituals and poojas to the Lord.
Pula Bavi(Well Of Flowers):-
Just opposite and to the north of the flowers chamber is the ‘Pula Bavi-flower well’. All the flowers used for the worship of the Lord are deposited in this well.
The long porch on the eastern side and adjacent to the ‘flower chamber’ is Vagapadi chamber. Offerings to the deity are prepared here thrice a day.
Vendi Vakili-Silver Entrance:-
The threshold opposite to the flagstaff is called the ‘silver entrance’. This is also known as ‘Nadimipadi Kavali’. This is the second entrance leading to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Inscriptions say that the construction of the fortifications of this second entrance was started in the 12th century and completed in the 13th century. The doors of this entrance were silver plated on October 1st 1929 A.D. by Sriram Dwarakadas Pharabhani, belonging to Nizam estate. Inscriptions in Hindi and English are found on this entrance.
Beyond the silver door, the path which circumambulates the main gopura of Ananda Nilaya is known as ‘Vimana Pradakshina’. Early, at the pre-dawn hour, while Suprabhata seva is performed to the Lord, devotees make Anga Pradakshina (rolling one’s body in humility all round the temple as a religious vow). Hence, it is also called Angapradakshina marg. In this pathway one can witness Sri Ranganadha just opposite to the silver entrance, Sri Varadaraja Swami temple, main kitchen, golden well, Ankurarpana Mandapam, Yagasala, Nanala (coins) Parakamani, Notla (Paper notes) Parkamani, Almyrah of Sandal Sreeranganathudu Vendi Vakili paste (Chandanapu ara) darshan of Vimana Venkateswara, cell of records, Sannidhi Bhashyakarulu - the seat of Sri Ramanuja, the temple of Yoganarasimhaswami, Lords’s hundi and the seat of Vishvaksena. All the small temples in this path way are called ‘Chutttu Gullu’(Sub-shrines encircling the main shrine).
Lord Brahma, the Deva Ganas and Maharshis like SanakaSanandanaSanatkumara wait for the darshan of Lord Sri Venkateswara at the golden gate. Opposite to the golden gate, there is Garuda Mandapam. The pavilion that links the golden gate and the Garuda Mandapam is called ‘Ghanta Mandapam’ or ‘Mahamani Mandapam’.
It was constructed in 1461 A.D. by Mallanna, a native of Chandragiri and minister in the Vijayanagara empire. ‘Garudalwar Mandir’ is also located just opposite to the golden gate in this Mandapam.
To the south of the golden gate in this mandap, two big bells are suspended from a wooden log using iron chains. The Brahmin who rings this bell is called ‘Ghantapani’. The ringing of this bell denotes that it is time for the Lord to have his meal.
Historical evidences say that whenever the emperor of Vijayanagara Empire camps at Chandragiri, the bell sounds are relayed to Chandragiri through intermediary bell porches for enabling the emperor to have his food thereafter. Because of these bells, this porch has become famous as ‘GhantaMandapam’. Keeping the legacy live, even today in Tirumala, many devotees have their food only after the bell stops ringing.
Just opposite to the golden gate and facing the Lord there is a six feet high statue of Garuda saluting the Lord with folded hands. Every day at the pre-dawn hour, Suprabhatham is recited in the place between the golden gate and the statue of Garuda. The Lord sitting on the golden throne in this mandapam, listens to the recital of almanac and the submissions of receipt and expenditure account of the previous day.
On either side of the golden gate, there are Jaya and Vijaya, the chief guards of the Lord, holding a conch, a disc and a mace respectively. There is a ten feet high wooden grill around these statues. These two devout servants guard the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord round the clock.
Bangaru Vakili(Golden Door):-
The most important entrance for going into the sanctum sanctorum is this golden gate. Here, the stone frame of the entrance and the porches of Jaya - Vijaya on either side are gold plated and hence this name.
At night these doors are closed methodically in a pre-conceived fashion. In the same way, they open this bolt from outside, in the morning. The pristine beauty of the Lord can be witnessed from this point.
The pavilion that you notice after crossing the golden gate is known as ‘Snapana Mandapam’. Every day after Thomala Seva, the idol of Koluvu Srinivasa Murthy is brought here and placed on the golden throne and his court is held. During this court, almanac is recited; the affairs of the day, the details of income and the expenditure of the previous day are reverentially presented to the Lord. The golden throne that is used during this court is stored in the adjacent grilled chamber.
There are two rooms on either side of the golden door. In the right side room, the Hundi collections are kept. In the left side room, the Lord’s jewels that is, the crown, the conch, the chakra, necklaces made of diamonds, gems, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topazes and so on are kept.
Lord Rama Mansion(Ramulavari Meda):-
Immediately crossing Snapana Mandapam, there is a very narrow passage, which is known as Lord Rama’s mansion. There are two raised platforms on either side of this passage. Earlier, idols were kept on these platforms. At present these idols are placed inside the room. Yet the name has remained the same.
In this room, there is a golden cot with silk mattress hung by silver chains on which the Lord’s idol is seen relaxing, hence the name ‘Sayana Mandapam’. In this room the offerings are kept in front of the Lord. These offerings are never taken beyond this threshold of the Sanctum.
The threshold in front of the Lord is called Kulasekhara Padi. Kulasekhara was a Vaishnava devotee. He had made a humble request to the Lord, to transform him to a stone threshold in front of Lord so that he will have a glimpse of divine beauty every day! Hence, this threshold was named after him.
Sanctum Sanctorum :-
The spot where Lord Sri Venkateswara’s self-inducted statue is located in the Sanctum Sanctorum is called Ananda Nilayam. Earlier there used to be a Pradakshina (circumambulation) passage around this Ananda Nilayam. A wall was built around this sanctum and the Vimanam in between 1244 A.D. – 1250 A.D. Over a period of time, with the construction of Ananda Nilayam, Sayana Mandapam and Lord Rama’s Mansion, this passage around the Sanctum was closed.
The well beside the main kitchen is known as ‘Bangaru bavi’. The water from this well is used for Abhishekam, Archana and cooking food for the Lord.
To the south of ‘Bangaru Bavi’ and opposite to the main kitchen is located ‘Ankurpana Mandapam’. Ankurapanam means the sprouting of nine varieties of grains usually called ‘Navadhanyam’ before every festivity and every celebration.
The idols of Anantha, Garuda, Vishwaksena (Lord’s army chief) and the idols of Lord Sri Rama’s attendant deities Sugreeva, Angada and Anjaneya are kept in this Mandapam and priests offer Teertham (holy water) to the devotees in this place.
The room adjacent to Ankurarpana mandapam is the Yagasala, where all yagas and homams (sacrificial fire) have been performed since ages. But at present they are performed in the Kalyana mandapam located in Sampangi Pradakshina. However, during Brahmotsavams these rituals are performed in the Yagasala.
Nanala Parakamani(Coins counting room):-
This was gradually constructed over a period of time by the representative of Vijayanagara Empire named Chennappa in 1586 A.D. Actually, this was the place where Kalyanotsavams were performed 50 years ago. Due to pilgrim rush, this has been shifted to ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’.
Notla Parakamani(Counting room for paper currency):-
The present location where the counting process was carried out was earlier used for several purposes. At present, this mandapam is used for counting currency notes. Transparent glasses are arranged around this place for the pilgrims to witness the process of counting.
The sandal paste required for daily usage of the Lord is prepared here. Large stones are arranged here for making sandal paste from sandal wood. The sandal paste required for various festivals throughout the year is prepared here.
Ananda Nilaya Vimanam :-
The golden abode of the Lord of the universe is Ananda Nilaya. It is the sacred place where the Lord Sri Venkateswara receives his ‘Poojas’ and ‘archanas’. The golden gopuram on this Ananda Nilaya is the ‘Ananda Nilaya Vimana’, which is also known as Bangaru Gopura Vimanam. As per mythology, Garuthmantha (Vehicle of Sri Vishnu) brought this Ananda Nilaya Vimanam from Vaikuntam (the celestial abode of Vishnu) and consecrated it in this sacred place as desired by Lord Sri Vishnu. This Golden Gopuram carries 64 images of various deities of Hindu mythology.
Close to the place from where Vimana Venkateswara is seen, is the record room with a sign board fixed atop. In this room all records and files pertaining to the ornaments of the main and processional deity are kept. All details of the weight and value of the silverware and gold ornaments are recorded in the ledgers.
Record Vedic Room:-
Beginning from the record room, Veda pundits seated there, melodiously recite the slokas from the Vedas.
All the articles such as the golden umbrellas, silver torches, camphor plates and silk robes used in Lord’s processions are kept here. The golden cot with silk mattress used for the Ekanta Seva of the Lord is also stored here.
Sankeerthana Bhandaram (Treasury of Sankeertanas):-
Adjacent to the Sabha Ara, there is the treasury of Sankeertanas. There are two statues on either side of this room. One is of the great Saint Poet Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya, who has penned over 32,000 songs in praise of the Lord Sri Venkateswara, while the other one is of his elder son Tallapaka Peda Tirumalacharyulu, who had also paid literary tribute to Lord Sri Venkateswara. All these songs were inscribed on copper plates and kept in safe custody in this place.
During 1525-30 A.D. the construction of the trove was completed and all the works of Tallapaka family were inscribed on copper plates and safely kept in Tallapaka shelf. It is said that all hymns originally written were on Palmyra leaves and later on transcribed on copper plates by his son Tirumalacharya.
The king of Vijayanagara dynasty, Achyutarayalu, helped in constructing this treasure trove and preserved the great works of Annamayya. The corpus of Tallapaka came to light when great scholar, epigraphist Sri Sadu Subramanya Sastri, who worked in different posts in TTD from 1919 to 1946 A.D., sighted the inscriptions.
Due to his efforts, today nearly eleven thousand Annamacharya Sankeertans have seen the light of day and TTD has been composing the music for these musical notations with eminent musicians and released many CDs and DVDs in the recent times.
Just beside Tallapaka treasure trove there is a pavilion called ‘Sannidhi Bhashyakarulu’. There is a granite statue of Sri Ramanuja in this pavilion. Sri Ramanuja in his long life of 120 years (1017 – 1137 A.D.) visited Tirumala thrice. In those days, very reluctant to trample the holy hills with his feet, he climbed the seven hills on his knees. It is said that he took rest at a point now known as ‘Mokali Mitta’. In his memory, a temple was constructed here. He has rendered Yeoman service to the Lord at Tirumala.
Sri Ramanuja streamlined the rituals of the temple as per Vaikhanasa Agama and handed it over to the posterity.
King Thondamanu laid the foundation at this place before the commencement of construction of Ananda Nilaya Gopuram and other associated works.
Parimala Ara(Shelf Of Fragnance):-
The fragrant shelf is seen on the way from Sankusthapana Stambam. The perfumes and aromatics used for the Lord are sent from this place. Devotees believe that their wish will be fulfilled if they write their wish on this sacred stone.
After having the darshan of the Lord, the devotees deposit their offerings to the Lord in this Hundi. The temple complex was modified many times for creating easy passage to the devotees. But the hundi was never shifted from this place as it is believed that “Sri Chakra Yantra” (the holy instrument which invokes all riches)lies underneath the main hundi.
To the left side of the exit of Hundi room and opposite to Annamacharya treasure trove there is ‘Kataha Theertham’, a tub like structure. This is where the Abhisheka theertham (holy water) emanating from the feet of the Lord is collected.
Mukkoti Pradakshinam :-
Mukkoti Pradakshinam begins at Lord Rama’s mansion that is beyond Ghanta Mandapam in the pathway of Vimana Pradakshina. This is kept open every year on the days of Vaikunta Ekadasi and Vaikuntha Dwadasi. On these days, this passage is kept open from midnight to midnight. The doors of this passage are called ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’.
Anantalwar, one of the chief disciples of Sri Ramanujacharya, pioneered “Pushpa Kainkaryam” in Tirumala and became one of the prominent and ardent devotees of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
However, to examine his devotion, the Lord went on to test him. In this interesting story, Sri Ramanujacharya, the great Acharyapurusha who revived the rituals in Tirumala temple, while teaching his disciples about the greatness of Tirumala told them that, the Lord was very fond of adorning himself with flowers as he is “Alankarapriya”. He asked if anyone of them was capable of growing a garden in Tirumala braving the chill climate and insects, to present flowers to the Lord. Anantalwar, said he is prepared to do that and went to Tirumala with his wife.
In a bid to develop a beautiful garden for the Pushpakainkaryam of the Lord, Anantalwar initially wanted to dig a pond to water the plants. He wanted to do this task without taking the help from outsiders. The Lord felt happy about the couple’s dedication and decided to help them. He approached the couple as a 12-year old boy but Anantalwar refuseds to take his help.
On a fine day, the boy helped Anantalwar’s wife who was a full term pregnant and this gesture of the boy enraged Anantalwar. Out of anguish, he threw a crowbar upon the boy. It hit the chin of the boy and blood oozed and dripped off his chin. When Anantalwar went to the temple to worship the Lord, he saw blood oozing out from the chin of the Lord and then he realised, the boy was none other than the Lord himself.
He realised his mistake and immediately applied camphor to the Lord’s chin. Lord was pleased with his devotion and said that the scar will remain forever and camphor will be applied to cover the mark. This ritual is carried out even today.
The crowbar used by Anantalwar is also displayed on the Northern Wall of the main entrance.
Other Idols Inside The Temples:-
Sri Krishna idol
Idols of Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and
The Chakrattalvar or Sudarshana
Sri Varadarajaswami temple
Yoga Narasimha Swami
Sri Bhu Varahaswami temple :-
In Tirumala, the East facing Sri Varahaswami temple is located in the North West corner of the temple tank - Swami Pushkarini. As per the temple legend, Lord Srinivasa sought a gift of land from Sri Varahaswami, which he readily granted.
In return, Srinivasa provided him with an agreement deed assuring that he would be paid the first darshan, worship and offerings by all the devotees visiting the temple. This tradition is in practise to this day at Tirumala and Lord Varahaswami continues to receive the age old traditional worship. Even today, all offerings are first made to Lord Varahaswami and then to Lord Sri Venkateswara.
Seven Idols Of Lord Srinivasa(Berams):-
I. Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram
II. Bhoga Srinivasa-The Kautuka Bera
III. Ugra Srinivasa or Snapana Murti
IV. Koluvu Srinivasa or Bali Sera
V.Sri Malayappan or Utsava Murti
Eight Swayambhu (self-formed) Kshetras‘ of Lord Vishnu:-
This temple is revered as one of the ‘Eight Swayambhu (self-formed) Kshetras‘ of Lord Vishnu.
The eight Swayambhu Kshetras of Lord Vishnu are:
1.Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
2.Srirangam Ranganathaswamy Temple
3.Bhu Varaha Swamy Temple
4.Vanamamalai Perumal Temple
The temple follows "Vaikhanasa Agama" tradition of worship, which is believed to be revealed by Sage Vikhanasa and is propagated by his disciples Atri, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kasyapa. Vaikhanasa is one of the principal traditions of Hinduism and primarily worships Vishnu (and his associated Avatars) as the Supreme God. This ancient texts recommends six times puja(worship) a day for Vishnu, of which minimum one puja is mandatory.
1.Prathyusham puja — worship should start and finish before sunrise
2.Prathakala puja — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
3.Madhyahna puja — worship should start and finish at noon
4.Aparahana puja — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
5.SandhyaKala puja — worship should start and finish around the sunset
6.Nisi puja — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark
At present only three pujas are performed in Tirumala Temple daily which includes UshaKala puja, Madhyahna puja, Nisi puja. All the Aradhana is done by hereditary Vaikhanasa priests, who have performed the services for generations. Only priests from Gollapalli, Peddintti, Paidipalli, and Tirupathammagari family have the right to offer services to the Lord inside sanctum sanctorum. To assist the Archakas in temple work and rituals, Vaikhanasas from other families and Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja, would take care of the temple work..
More than 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims will have Darshan of preciding deity, Lord Venkateswara, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavams, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world. To manage the huge number of Devotees visiting the temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams had constructed two Vaikuntam Queue Complexes one in the year 1983 and the other in the year 2000. Vaikuntam Queue complexes will have rooms where Devotees can sit and wait until their turn for Darshan. According to tradition, it is important for a devotee to have darshan of Bhuvaraha swamy temple lying on the northern banks of Swami Pushkarini before having Darshan of Lord Venkateswara in main temple.
Events And Festivals Celebration in Tirumala:-
•Brahmotsavam Festival Celebration:-
In the month of the September, Tirupati celebrate the most impressive festival, the Brahmotsavam.
•Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival Celebration:-
In the month of the October, Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival both are the cultural attraction of the tourists.
•Vaishnava Rama Navami Festival celebration:-
In the month of the March the Vaishnava festival Rama Navami celebrated and in the September Janmashtami is also celebrated with a great pomp and snow also.
•Rathasapthami Festival Celebration:-
In the month of the February, the Rathasapthami is celebrated this is the impressive and beautiful festival renowned with wonderful processions moving Lord Venkateswara statue all about the temple in ornamented chariots.
•Makar Sankrant Festival:-
Makar Sankranti festival is celebrated in the month of January when the Sun enters the Makara Ras.
Thousands of devotees every year gather to witness this grand Festival, participate in the rituals, and receive the blessings of Sri Venkateswara swami. The complete 9 day Festival is a memorable experience for all tourists and devotees. The feeling of complete bliss and heavenly connect is often termed as "Vaikunth anubhav".
On the first day of the Festival Garudadhwaja (flag with the emblem of a black garuda) is hoisted near the Srivari Alaya Dhwajasthambham. A procession then proceeds of Lord Venkateswara on the Pedda Seshavahana proceeds around four streets of the main temple for two hours until midnight.Ankurarpana and Senadhipati Utsavam are celebrated on the day just before the first day of Brahmotsavam.
In the Brahmotsav celebrations, the powerful snake transforms itself as the vehicle for god. The moral behind the prayers that are offered during Garodtsav, is to pray to God for a living with high values and morals.
‘Srivari Brahmotsavam Festival‘ which is held in the month of September to October is the very famous and the mostly celebrated festival of Tirumala Tirupathi Venkateswara temple, which will be celebrated in a great grand manner for about nine days every year.
Brahmotsavam Festival schedule conducted every year as below:
1st Day – Morning – Dwajarohanam , Evening – Pedda Sesha Vahanam
2nd Day – Morning – Chinna Sesha Vahanam , Evening – Hamsa Vahanam
3rd Day – Morning – Simha Vahanam , Evening – Mutyapu Pandiri Vahanam
4th Day – Morning – Kalpavriksha Vahanam , Evening – Sarvabhoopala Vahanam
5th Day – Morning – Mohini Avatharam , Evening – Garuda Vahanam
6th Day – Morning – Hanumantha Vahanam , Evening – Swarnarathotsavam & Gajavahanam
7th Day – Morning – Suryaprabha Vahanam , Evening – Chandraprabha Vahanam
8th Day – Morning – Rathotsavam , Evening – Ashwa Vahanam
9th Day – Morning – Chakra Snanam & Pallaki Utsavam , Evening – Golden Tiruchi Utsavam &
Sevas in Tirumala:-
Daily Sevas in Tirumala:-
On any day the sevas started from morning
Sahasra Deepalankara seva
Vishesha Pooja (Monday)
Ashtadala Pada Padmaradhana (Tuesday)
Sahasra Kalasabhishekam (Wednesday)
Tiruppavada Seva (Thursday)
Vasthralakarana Seva (Friday)
Vasthralakarana Seva (Friday).
Koil Alwar Tirumanjanam
Laddu is the world famous prasadam given at Tirumala Temple recently the Trust has taken copy right of Laddu prasaddam, hence, no one can prepare the same Laddu. Many other delicious prasadams are also available including curd rice, pulihora (tamarind rice), vada and chakkera-pongal (sweet pongal). Free meals are given daily to the pilgrims, and on Thursdays, the Tirupavadai seva occurs, where food items are kept for naivedyam to Lord Srinivasa.
Many devotees also have their head tonsured as an offer. The daily amount of hair collected is over a ton. The hair thus gathered is sold by the temple organization a few times a year by public auction to international buyers for use as hair extensions and in cosmetics, bringing over $6M to the temple's treasury .As per puranas hair given by devotees is to coverup the lost hair(it is a very small portion) of lord venkateshwara swamy.
Hundi (donation pot):-
It is believed that Srinivasa had to make arrangements for his wedding. Lord Kubera credited money to Lord Venkateswara (a form of the god Vishnu) for his marriage with Padmavathi. Srinivasa sought a loan of one crore and 11.4 million (11,400,000) coins of gold from Kubera and had Viswakarma, the divine architect, create heavenly surroundings in the Seshadri hills. Together, Srinivasa and Padmavathi lived for all eternity while Goddess Lakshmi, understanding the commitments of Lord Vishnu, chose to live in his heart forever. In remembrance of this, devotees go to Tirupati to donate money in Venkateswara's hundi (donation pot) so that he can pay it back to Kubera. The hundi collections go as high as 22.5 million INR a day. Devotees offer gold as a token of their love for God. Temple sources said that in April 2010 the temple deposited 3,000 kg of gold with SBI as gold offerings in the temple hundi by devotees, which had accumulated for the last several years.
One of the most important offering in this temple, is the 'thulabharam.' In the Thulabaram ritual, a devotee sits on a pan of a weighing balance and the other pan is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee. Devotees usually offer sugar, jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana, gold, coins. This is mostly performed with newborn babies or children
Tirumala possibly has the most elaborate arrangement in India to sequence and guide the visiting devotees through the holy shrine. Because of the ever increasing daily rush of devotees, the temple authorities have set up a virtual queue system, where the devotees are given a specific time, only after which they will be allowed into the queue complex. This has resulted in a steep drop (by a factor of five) in the time that devotees need to spend within the Queue Complex leading to the main temple.
General Facilities In Tirumala:-
Wholesome free meals will be provided to the devotees in the TTDs Annadanam Complex from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. continuously .
Free Medical Aid:-
Pilgrims are given free medicine aid at Aswini Hospital and Vaikuntam 'Q' complex I & II. In case of emergency, the patients will be rushed to the Ruia Hospital, SVIMS or BIRRD for treatment.
Free Bus: Free buses are operated at Tirumala for the benefit of pilgrims. It covers cottages, choultries, temple and other places.
Free Local Buses In Tirumala:-
The sacred temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy in Tirumala hills is easily accessible by free buses around tirumala. Every 10 mins free buses will move .
How To Reach Tirumala Tirupati:-
The sacred temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy in Tirumala hills is easily accessible by all modes of transport. After reaching Tirupati, one can easily travel to Tirumala by road or on foot.
Tirumala has direct bus services from Tirupati with a frequency of a bus in every 2 minutes. It also has direct buses from Chennai, Bengaluru and Vellore. Paid taxis and private bus operators also ply buses from nearby cities such as Chennai, Hyderabad, Visakapatnam and Bangalore to Tirupati.
Automobile Clinic - In case of vehicle breakdowns on the ghat roads, TTD offers service through its automobile clinic levying certain charges on case to case basis. The pilgrims can either report at Toll Gates of Alipiri or GNC in Tirumala or contact 0877-2263636 for immediate help. A mechanic will be sent in a mobile van equipped with spares, to attend to the problem by TTD transport department.
Buses and other transport are banned on ghat road from Tirupati to Tirumala between 12 AM and 3 AM.
By Rail :-
Tirumala does not have its own railway station. The nearest railway station is in Tirupati, which is about 26 km from Tirumala. Tirupati railway station is a major railway station and is well equipped with five platforms and an escalator. It is well connected to major cities across India.
By Air :-
The nearest airport to Tirumala is near Renigunta about 15 km from Tirupati. This domestic airport has direct flights to Hyderabad, Visakapatnam, Chennai, New Delhi and Bangalore and is now being upgraded to an International airport.
On Foot :-
Many devotees climb the hills to Tirumala on foot to fulfil a vow. There are two well-laid stone footpaths leading to Tirumala. These paths are called sopanamargas. The most ancient of the two sopanamargas starts from Alipiri at the foot of the hills. This footpath is 11 km in length and is the commonly used route. The other sopanamarga (Srivari mettu) starts from Chandragiri and is only about 6 km in length.
TTD provides and maintains rest houses, security, canteen, toilets, drinking water, medical help, piped devotional music throughout the footpaths. TTD also provides luggage transfer facility, free of cost for the devotees opting to climb the hills on foot to Tirumala.
Dress code to The Devotees:-
According to this code, a woman devotee can wear saree or a chudidar with chunni, whereas a male devotee can wear dhoti or lungi with uttareeyam or kurta-pyjama. "A simple shirt and trousers are also allowed, but it would be ideal if men wear dhoti and uttariyam. Other than these traditional dresses, no other outfits like bermudas, T-shirts, jeans, shorts and other Western-style dresses are permitted," a TTD official said.
Other Places In Tirumala:-
Besides the sacred Vaishnavite iconic temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy which is a marvel and a masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, there are many other places to visit and things to admire on the Tirumala hills. Some of the must visit places in Tirumala are Swami Pushkarini, Sri Bhu Varaha Swamy temple, Sri Hathiramjee Mutt, Sri Bedi Anjaneya Swamy temple, Srivari Sikhara Darshanam, Sila Thoranam, Dharmagiri, Narayangiri, Papavinasanam, Akasa Ganga water falls, Temple Museum, Asthana Mandapams and Gogarbham Gardens.
There are several teerthams in Tirumala, some of them are Pandava Teertham, Kumaradhara Teertham, Tumbhuru Teertham, Ramakrishna Teertham, Chakra Teertham, Vaikuntha Teertham, Sesha Teertham, Sitamma Teertham, Pasupu Teertham, Jupali Teertham, Sanaka Sanandana Teertham. Important festivals that are held at the teerthams are -Kumaradhara Magha Pournami, Ramakrishna Pushya Pournami Tumbhuru Phalguna Pournami, Chakra Karthika Masa – Ksheerabdhi Dwadasi.
Places around Tirupati:-
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