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Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, Tirupathi

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Introduction

There may not be anyone in our land, who will not be aware of this temple or the greatness of the Lord. Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple remains one of the most-visited and the richest places of worship of India. Here Lord Vishnu is enshrined as Venkateswara. He has many other names, too, such as Srinivasa, Govinda, Balaji, etc. and is believed to have come to earth, especially to ease the pain of the people in this challenging time of Kali Yuga. Hence, this temple is regarded as Kaliyuga Vaikunta and a Suyambu Kshetram, too, where the Lord manifested on his own. This is also a celebrated Divyadesam, the Vishnu abode praised generously by many of the Azhwar saints. This hill temple is located in Tirumala, Tirupathi, in Andra Pradesh state, at a height of about 2800 feet above sea level. This is situated in the Seshachalam Hills range, whose seven peaks represent the seven heads of Adisesha, the king of serpents. And the temple is in the seventh peak called Venkatadri. Regarded as one of the wealthiest shrines in the world, it receives anything between 50,000 to 100,000 devotees daily, with the number shooting up during special days and festive occasions. Many people tonsure their heads and also climb the hill on foot as a form of austerity here. ‘Tirupati Laddu,’ the divine offering is also quite famous.

Temple Legends

Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple

The legend about the advent of Venkateswara is as interesting as it is popular. Sage Brihu, who had an eye in his foot, once visited the Trimurthis, the 3 supreme Gods to decide as to who among them was eligible to receive the fruits of the sacrifice, the sages were doing. Lords Brahma and Shiva ignored him, and Vishnu too pretended not to notice him. And an offended Brihu went to the extent of kicking Vishnu on his chest. Vishnu apologized and, in the pretext of massaging his legs, plucked the extra eye from the sage’s foot. But his consort Goddess Lakshmi, who was residing in the very heart of Vishnu, felt very upset, left the Lord, and descended on earth. Vishnu followed her as Srinivasa, landed on earth, and was meditating in these hills. Soon he fell in love and got married to Padmavati, the daughter of the local king Akasaraja and settled in Tirumala hills. When she learned about the happenings, Lakshmi came to question Srinivasa, when he is said to have turned himself into a stone image. Brahma and Shiva then explained that the Lord wanted to save and bless the people during the Kali Yuga, and that is the reason for his staying in this place. Then, Lakshmi and Padmavati also turned into stone images and occupied the left and right portions of the Lord’s chest.

Tirumala is also regarded as Adi Varaha Kshetra, where Vishnu in his Varaha incarnation, settled after destroying demon Hiranyaksha. Also, the serpent Adishesa is himself is said to be in the form of the Seshachalam hill, one of the seven sacred hills.

The History and Architecture of Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, Tirupathi

This ancient temple is centuries old, and the Pallava, Chola, and Vijayanagar dynasties have contributed generously to its construction, expansion, and embellishments over time. This structure of Dravidian style architecture, is fenced by a large granite wall, has many entrances and circumambulatory passages and a five-tiered Rajagopuram, the entrance tower. The golden entrance called Bangaruvakili leads to the sanctum, guarded by the Dvarapalakas, the guards Jaya and Vijaya.

Venkateswara Swamy can be worshipped in Ananda Nilayam, the sanctum sanctorum in a standing position. With a towering crown glittering on his head and studded with invaluable jewels and ornaments from head to foot, his divine form stands there in all its majesty and grace. The conch and discus, replete with diamonds and other precious stones, occupy his shoulders. While his right hand is in the boon-giving Varada mudra, the Lord is pointing to himself with the upturned fingers of his hanging left hand. The Ananda Vimanam, the gold plated tower above the sanctum, is majestic and shimmering. An image, which is a replica of the main deity in the sanctum, is installed in this tower as ‘Vimana Venkateswara.’ Swami Pushkarini, the sacred temple tank, is next to the temple complex, and the Bhu Varaha Swamy shrine is on its banks. While there are many sculptures and carvings in the mandapams and pillars of the temple, several inscriptions in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu, and Kannada languages are found therein.

A big queue complex is there for the devotees to wait for the darshan, while a massive building is earmarked for Anna Prasadam, providing free food to the pilgrims.

Temple Festivals

The Bramotsavam is a grand festival celebrated during the month of Purattasi (September-October) for 9 days. In this period, the festival deity called Malayappa Swami is taken in grand processions in various mounts both in the mornings and evenings in the streets around the temple, to the accompaniment of music and the chanting of sacred hymns. Thousands of people gather to worship him on this occasion. Kalyanotsavam, the divine wedding ritual, is also performed for the Lord and his consort. Many other festivals are also observed here with piety and enthusiasm all-round the year.

Benefits of worshipping Sri Venkateswara Swamy

Venkateswara is regarded as the ultimate refuge of the people in the present difficult times of Kali Yuga. It is believed that his grace can relieve people of their sins and the curse of Kali. He can bless them with great welfare and abundance, too. People also seek his blessings for wealth, wellbeing, and removal of illusion. Newly-wedded couples also visit this temple for a blessed marital life.

How to reach Tirupathi Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple
By Air

Tirupathi town has an airport. People can drive uphill to the temple from here.

By Rail

Tirupathi railway station is very well connected with almost all the cities and major towns of the country. From here, people can go by road to the hill temple, which is about 22 kilometers from the station.

By Road

This temple in the Tirumala hills can be approached only by road. There are plenty of government-run buses and private vehicles for reaching the temple from downhill.

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