Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple
- Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is Dedicated to Lord Venkateswara and is revered as one of the 108 Divya Desam temple . The temple of Sri Venkateswara or Tirupati Balaji is situated above the actual city of Tirupati in the hilltop town of Tirumalai. This hill shrine is one of the eight holy places of Lord Vishnu, hailed as Swayamvyakta Kshetras (self-manifested). Tirupati is 170 km northwest of CHennai in Andhra Pradesh near the Tamil Nadu border, at the bottom of the Tirumala Hill. In Tirupati there is the important Sri Govindaraja Swami temple, Kothanda Rama Swami temple and the famous Kapileswara temple, which is dedicated to Lord Siva. In Tiruchanur, five km from Tirupati, is the Padmavathi temple, dedicated to the consort of Lord Venkateswara (Balaji).
Venkateswara Swamy Temple is also acclaimed as the holiest of the celebrated 108 Tirupatis (Vaishnava Divya Desams) of the Lord. The darshan of the Lord begins at 3 in the morning and ends at 12 midnight.
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 Venkateswara 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).
The shrine is situated on a hill at Tirumala, a cluster of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam with a height of 853m (2,800ft.) above the sea level. The Lord of Tirumala is considered as the all-pervading Lord of the Universe .
The Architecture- The ancient Tirupathi Balaji is a fine example of Dravidian temple architecture. The dynasties like the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, the Cholas of Tanjore, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Kings and chiefs of Vijayanagara have contributed a lot to the development of this temple. They endowed the shrine, offering worship to the presiding deity. The Tirupati temple also has beautiful 'gopuram' or tower. The 'Vimana' or Cupola over the sanctum sanctorum is covered entirely with gold plate and is known as "the Ananda Nilayam".
The Shrine consists of three 'Prakarams' or enclosures. The outermost enclosure contains the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post and, among others, the statues of Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya and his consorts, and of Todarmal, the minister of Akbar. The idol of the deity, the full figure of Lord Venkateswara or 'Venkataramana' or 'Srinivasa' or 'Balaji' (as is called in various parts of the country) has the attributes of both Vishnu and Shiva, preserving and destroying aspects of the Hindu trinity.
The offerings include several special Sevas and Sarva Darshan, which is free. Devotees wait in long queues for hours to have darshan of the Lord. They consider that brief moment of having a glimpse of their favorite God as one of great fulfillment and spiritual enlightenment.There is a steep staircase up the hill to Tirumalai.Pilgrims wishing to climb all the way can use the steps otherwise standard transportation is readily available
Legend of Sri Venkateswara Temple - The Lord comes to the hills: Puranas speak of how sage Brigu once insulted Vishnu in Vaikuntam by stamping his feet on the Lords chest, where Goddess Lakshmi resides. An annoyed Devi deserted the Lord, proceeded to Earth and started doing penance in a forest. This region is said to be the present Kolhapur, the abode of Mahalakshmi. The Lord searched in vain for His consort and finally reached the ashram of Vakuladevi, an ardent devotee of Sri Varahaswamy, on the Seven Hills (Saptagiri). She was Yashoda in the Krishna Avataar and had come here in advance to witness her son Krishnas marriage.
She named Him as Srinivasa and brought Him up. In course of time, Srinivasa met Padmavathi on the hills and fell in love with her. Padmavathi was an incarnation of Bhoodevi and princess of Narayanapuram, whom He had promised to marry in Rama Avataar. Vakuladevi, with the help of sage Narada and the Devas, is said to have conducted the wedding. The royal wedding meant raising of huge funds. He looked to Kubera, the Celestial Cashier, for help. Kubera insisted on repayment with interest, to which the Lord agreed.
Devotees believe that Kubera with a brass measure, enshrined in the Govindarajaswamy temple at Tirupati at the base of the hills, is believed to be collecting the interest, and the devotees contribute to this by Hundi offerings, which form an important part of the pilgrimage. Hence, in the Telugu state of Andhra Pradesh, the Lord is popularly known as Vaddi Kaasulaswamy (the Lord paying interest). Book A tour Package to Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple