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Tirumala and Tirupati are places well known all over India. Sri Venkateswara,
the presiding deity of Tirumala or Vengadam, is revered by lakhs of people all
over the country. People visit the Lord throughout the year, travelling long
distances. The chief centres of pilgrimage in this region are Sri Venkateswara's
temple on the Tirumala hill, the shrine of Govindaraja in the town of Tirupati
and the shrine of Padamavati, situated in Tiruchanur, three miles to the south
of Tirupati. Of minor temples, mention may be made of the Kapileswara
temple at Kapilatirtham, the Rama temple in the town of Tirupati and the
Parasaresvara temple at Jogi-Mallavaram, situated at a furlong to the west of
Of the three important centres of pilgrimage in this region, Tirumala is the
oldest and its deity finds mention in Tamil literature of the early centuries of
the Christian era. References to Tiruchanur are found from about the
beginning of the ninth century AD. The Govindaraja shrine of Tirupati was
founded about 1130 AD and the town grew up round this temple
subsequently during the Vijayanagara period.
The Chola period
The Chola conquest of Tonda-mandalam in the 9th century brought
about many changes and the temple obtained wider popularity. In the
40th year of the rule of Viranarasinga, a certain Tiruppulla-nidasar, a
visiting pilgrim, obtained the ruler's permission and renovated the shrine.
This chieftain performed the Tulabharam ceremony at Tirumala. The
temple at Tirumala received the devoted attention of various royal
families that ruled over the empire and entered a phase of
The Vijayanagara Period
The total expansion of the temple was done during the Vijayanagara period, particularly
under the personal interest of Krishnadevaraya during the 16th Century A.D.
Behold! Yonder is the abode of Hari
It is the embodiment of thousand-hooded Adisesa;
That is the lofty holy Venkata hill;
That is the bill, which is dear,
and precious sight to even Brahma and other devas;
That is the permanent residence of innumerable sages and saints:
Behold that holy hill
Bow down to that hill of bliss;
Close by is Sesadri:
It is the choice resort of devas from heaven;
Behold the priceless sacred Treasure of that hill (i.e. Lord Himself)
Behold the dazzling golden peaks;
Behold that embodiment of several Vedas
Behold the Venkatagiri, the seat of Kaivalya (salvation).
That is the hill, which is Lord Srivenkatesvaras wealth;
That is the quintessence of all conceivable wealth and treasure:
That hill is the holiest of the holies.
The singnificance of Tirumala Temple
The Lord of the seven hills is the Lord of the universe. He is the light of
the world. He is the Lord of all creations. The special significance of Lord
Venkateswara temple at Tirumala lies in the fact that it is perhaps the
oldest religious institutions in the world where unbroken religious worship
is being carried on, according to the available recorded evidence, for
over 1,300 years, it is a temple attracting more pilgrims than any other
temple in India, and is held in veneration by more devotees than even
Lourdes of France and the celebrated cathedrals of spain and Portugal.
The average number of visitors to the temple now is about 40,000 to
50,000 daily and its annual income, derived wholly from offerings is over
Rs. 150 crores approximately.
Lord Venkateswara - The Supreme
'Venkatesa Samo Devo, Nasthi Nasthi Mahi thale'
This sentence in Sanskrit means that none equals Lord Venkatachalapathi, not one -
none equals Lord Venkateswara in the entire universe. A visit to this great pilgrim
centre is a rare spiritual experience. It is this divinity which pervades the area not only
in the temple precincts, but in the entire town which has an irresistible magnetic
attraction to the millions who came from far and near, mindful of the difficulties
involved in the journey to just have a darshan of the Lord may be for just a few
seconds. Every one who has a darshan of the Lord even for a few seconds will have no
doubts about God's existence. This temple is a living institution with a presiding deity
who devotes every one who comes in contact with Him with a feeling of peace and
joy and spiritual strength. That is why even the puranas say :
"Venkatadri Samam Sthanam
Bramande Nasthi Kinchana
Venkatesa Samo devo
Nabhuto Na Bhavishyate"
This means that in the entire brahmandam, amongst all the worlds there is
no God to equal Lord Venkateswara in the past, or future and there is no
punya kshetram which is equal to Thiruvengadam.
The very mention of the word Tirupati creates in many a divine feeling.
This holy temple is popularly known as 'Bhuloka Vaikuntam'. It is perhaps
the richest of the temples in the world. The entire town of Tirupati as well
as Tirumala has an eternal floating pilgrim population. The business and
trade activities in this town are mostly centered on the activities connected
with the temple. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams, which administers
this temple, is a mini Government, having nearly 14,000 employees on its
Tirupati is a small municipality. A devotee wishing to worship Lord Srinivasa has to first reach this town. It is well
connected by train, bus and by air. It is about seven miles from Renigunta, which is an important junction on the
Chennai-Raichur broad guage line. Numerous buses are also plying between Chennai and Tirupati. On arriving at
Tirupati the pilgrims have reached the foot of the seven Hills at the top viz., Tirumala resides Lord Venkatesa.
Tirumala is about 14 kms from Tirupati. Tirumala is a hill range, which is a part of the Eastern Ghats. It has seven
principal peaks each of them having a separate name and sthalapurana. The seven hills are seshadri, garudadri,
venkatadri, narayanadri, vrishabhadri, vrishadri and anjanadri. On the hill seshadri in seshachalam is located the
Tirumala temple and the entire area (range) is named after this peak. The puranas compare Tirumala range to a
serpent, which is lying down. Srisailam temple is located on the tail of this serpent. The Ahobila Narasimha temple is
situated in the middle. Sri Venkateswara temple of Tirumala is regarded as the head of this range. The Sri
Kalahasteeswara Swamy temple at Srikalahasthi is the mouth of this reclining serpent.
There are 5 well known paths, which lead from Tirupati to Tirumala. Two of them start from the town of Tirupati.
One of the path is by which the pilgrims climb on to the hill, the other is the ghat road i.e. the motor road. The third
way is to climb the hill from chandragiri side. The fourth path starts from Mamandoor railway stations. The fifth is
from Nagapatla side. But almost all the pilgrims came either by the hill path on foot or by walk or by the ghat road
by car or bus. Till 1974 there was only one ghat road. But now there are two ghat roads. One is used as the way for
the vehicles that go up while the other is used by the vehicles that come down. Thus the moment one arrives at
Tirupati, there is a certain methodicity and clear-cut practice which one has to follow to reach the temple or Lord
Legends about Tirumala and its God
There are numerous collections of legends and stories about Tiumala and its
God, Sri Venkateswara or Srinivasa. These are to be found in many of the
Puranas. All these have been collected and edited in a book entitled the
"Venkatachala mahatyam". An early inscription from Tirumala mentions that a
'Venkatachala mahatyam' was read in the temple before the Deity. It is not
known if the work of this name, now available in print, is the same as the one
referred to in the inscription. The printed work contains extracts from the
Varahapurana, Padmapurana, Garudapurana, Brahmandapurana,
Markandeya purana, Harivamsa, Varianapurana, Brahmapurana,
Brahmottarapurana, Adityapurana, Skandapurana and Bhavishyottarapurana.
Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and greatness of Tirumala and of
numerous Tirthas situated on them. The following legends taken from the
'Venkatachalamahatmyam" pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord are of
The Lord's manifestation at Tirumala
Once, Vishnu wanted to have a change from his usual abode in Vaikuntha.
He asked Narada to suggest a place on this earth, which would be suitable
for diversion and sport. Narada suggested the neighbourhood of the place
where Seshachala came to be located, later on. Subsequently, Vayu and
Sesha disputed their relative strength and entered into a serious dispute.
Sesha wound his long body round a part of Meru and challenged Vayu to
move it. Vayu did his best to shake the hillock but could not. Ultimately, Sesha
opened his mouth to breath and taking advantage of it, Vayu entered his
body and blew off part of the hill. After the hill had travelled a long distance,
Meru interfered and requested Vayu to leave it there and the latter did so.
Ashamed of his defeat, Sesha did penance thinking of Vishnu. Vishnu
appeared before him and offered a boon. Sesha, assuming the shape of a
hill, requested the Lord to stay on his head, wanted the hill to be known as
Seshachala. Vishnu thought of Narada's suggestion, made previously and
agreed to live on Seshachala. This story is found in the Brahmapurana.
The Bhavishyottarapurana narrates
another story, which runs as follows:
Once a number of Rishis assembled on the bank of the Ganga and got things ready for the
performance of Yajna. Narada came to them and asked them which God they intended to
please by performing the sacrifice. The Rishis were nonplussed and requested the sage,
Bhrigu, to solve the problem. That sage undertook to solve the problem by examining the
three chief divinities. He first went to the abode of Brahma and found him busy chanting
the Vedas with one mouth, uttering the name of Narayana with another and looking at
Goddess Saraswati with the third face. He took no notice of Bhrigu. Then the sage went to
the abode of Siva. There again he found Siva fully absorbed in sporting with his consort and
not taking notice of Bhrigu's arrival and presence. From here Bhrigu went to Vaikuntha and
found Vishnu similarly engaged in amours with Lakshmi. Disgusted with this, Bhrigu kicked
Vishnu on his chest. Vishnu immediately got up, massaged the Rishis foot and enquired if it
had been injured. Pleased with this kind attention paid by Vishnu, Bhrigu returned to the
Rishis and advised them to dedicate the Yagna to Vishnu. Lakshmi was piqued at the
insolent behavour of the rishi because he kicked the spot, which was her favourite resort on
the bosom of the Lord, and she went away to Karavirapura or Kolhapur to stay there,
leaving Vishnu. Unable to bear the separation, Vishnu left Vaikuntha and wandered about.
In course of time he came to Seshachala, found it sufficiently interesting and settled down
on the mountain in an anthill, on the bank of the Swamipushkarini.
A description of the idol of Lord
Lo! I dreamt. I saw the supreme Lord, master of all the worlds
The Lord of Venkatadri; I saw the unequalled beauty of the crest of Sesadri,
I saw the matchless dazzling beauty of the Temple towers;
I witnessed brilliance equal to that of myriad suns shining;
I saw the four-faced creator; Suddenly I woke up and realised it was a dream!
I saw the gem-studded golden doors of the temple (Bangaru Vakili)
I saw a cluster of lighted lamps in the garbhagriha;
I saw the gem-studded crown of the Lord;
I saw the golden Pitambaram;
I suddenly woke up and the beauty of the dream was broken;
I saw the conch and disc adorning His two hands;
I saw the unrivalled Abhaya hasta;
I saw the Lord of Venkatachala;
I saw Hari
I saw my guru
I suddenly woke up with a start.
Tradition has it that hands of man did not work the dhruvabera of Lord
Venkateswara and the supreme Lord manifested himself in a form that could
easily be comprehended by human beings. Earlier alvars have stated that the
devtas headed by Brahma daily worship Sri Venkateswara on the hill as we do
The idol of the Lord is a majestically beautiful and superbly executed one. The
full majestic divine grace and undoubted compassion of the Lord is clearly
manifested even to the uninitiated when the Lord gives darshan draped in all
his clothes and ornaments or on Friday the Abhisheka day when these are
removed and the Lord's full glory is revealed in all its pristine purity. The most
arresting feature of the Lord is the permeating aura of an over powering sense
of divinity, that is so utterly compassionate, that pours out love and desire to
help if only one turns to Him. His facial expression with long and dark eyes in
'Sama drishti' and with an eternal smile is extraordinarily tranquil and beautiful,
reflecting a sense of complete love and serenity that envelopes all living
creatures in its benevolence.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams
Great institutions belong to the people, yet their daily administration is a responsible
task. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam Administration is more than 60 years old.
Today the TTD Administration has become the guiding institution for the Hindu
temple administration all over the country. This mini Government rededicates, renews
itself now & then to the cause of religion and service to humanity. It is indeed proving
itself to be a true vehicle for the service of the Lord and the convenience of lakhs of
pilgrims who flock Tirumala. The commendable service of TTD to humanity is
Today, T.T.Devasthanams which maintains 12 temples and their sub-shrines is a
conglomerate of temples brought under the first schedule 2 of the Act 20 of 1987
enacted by Andhra Pradesh government. A Board of Trustees appointed by the state
Government manages it. The Executive Officer is the Chief Executive of the
administration. Two Joint Executive Officers, Financial Advisor and Chief Accounts
Officer, Deputy Executive Officers, Security and Vigilance Officer, Conservator of
Forests and Chief Engineer assist him in various spheres of activity. Besides, there are
other officials like Law Officer, Welfare Officer, Public Relations Officer, Marketing
Officer, Educational Officer and others to look after several wings of administration.
Spana Margam ( Foot Path)
There are two main routes by which one can reach Tirumala from Tirupati.
The path taken by those who prefer to walk up the hill is a bit stiff and tough
but exhilarating. The pilgrims who take to this path are mostly those who
have vowed to walk up the hill. Young and old alike climb and it is very
evident that it is sheer faith, which sees them through the steep, rough
The ascent of this hill in deep devotion will yield strength of legs and rapidity
to the lane, give clear and lotus-like beautiful eyes and vision to the blind,
bestow learning and wisdom on the dumb, endow the deaf with sound and
distant hearing, and grant many children to the sterile women, and wealth to
the poor. All these results are achievable through bhakti (faith and devotion)
centered on the Hill as to its powers of atonement.
The hill to the north is 3426' high, the hill to the east is 2750' high; the hill to
the south is 2920' high and to the southwest is 3620 high.
The climate, on the whole, is dry and agreeable. The year is divided into
4 seasons. December to February is dry and cool. March to May is
summer followed by the southwest monsoon from June to September.
October and November is the post monsoon retreating period, the
average rain fall being 8 to 8.5mm.
The annual temperature ranges from 180C to 420C. The period from
about the middle of November to the middle of February is the coolest
part of the year. After February the temperature begins to rise rapidly.
April and May are the hottest months. With the onset of the southwest
monsoon by about first week of June, day temperature decreases a little
and the weather on the whole during post monsoon season is more
agreeable than in the summer season. Night temperature decreases after
The Darshan of the Lord
To all devotees a mere darshan of the lord is a matter of deep spiritual
The more one thinks about darshan, the more indefinable does it
become. The more one thinks about it, the more it became clear that
darshan is not mere blessing or mere benediction in the ecclesiastical
sense of the term. Darshan is neither bestowed, nor conferred. It is
neither given nor received. Darshan simply occurs. It is a mystic
The miracle and guidance of Lord
There are many incidents quoted, some of them quite true, and some of them due to
excess of zeal on the part of his devotees, about his supernatural powers and the
many miracles that the lord has wrought. To one who attempts to know the lord in his
true form, such an enquiry is completely meaningless. The fact that a fill disease was
cured, or that a childless parent was blessed with one, or that a tragedy was averted
by timely warning etc., or similar incidents of which instances are plenty.
The very great miracle that the Lord performs, and that which really matters, is the
subtle and imperceptible change in the very class of life of anyone who turns to him
with faith and sincerity. The real seeker who goes to him in spirit of devotion and
surrender gets an unforgettable experience of lightness of spirit that moves him to the
core of his being and leaves him with sense of serene and sublime satisfaction.
One who has been blessed by Lord Venkateswara will never again feel any hesitation
in accepting him. It has been well said that the most sustaining power for righteous
conduct is felt presence of the eternal. If this is experienced, then it is no longer
necessary to have recourse to any argument to prove this.
A Kireeta which Lord wears on Friday
The legend of how the Lord received a blow. The following legend is found in the
Once Lakshmi converted Brahma into a cow and Siva into a calf and sold them to the
Chola King. The cow, which used to wander over Seshachala, discovered the anthill in
which the Lord lay, taking rest. Thereafter she used to shed her milk on the anthill and
did not yield a drop to the milkman of the king. The queen took the milkman to task
and blamed him for stealing the cow's milk. Next day, the milkman followed the cow
and saw her pour the milk over the anthill. Incensed at this, he took an axe and
wanted to kill the cow. The Lord came out of the anthill and took the blow upon
Himself. Blood gushed out of the wound on his head. The milkman saw this and died
on the spot. The cow went down the hill, reached the king and showed intense grief.
The Chola king followed the cow, came up the hill and saw the pitiable sight. The Lord
cursed him to become a pisacha and said "In future time an Akasaraja will give his
daughter, Padmavathi, in marriage to me. He will then present me a Kirita which I will
wear on Fridays. As long as I wear it, I will not feel the pain of the wound on my head
and from that time you will also be normal."
Some peculiar customs of the temple
The poola baavi is the well where flowers are disposed. It is a steep well into
which all the flowers and Tulasi used for the decoration of the diety, are
disposed after removal. Sri Ramanuja initiated this practice when he visited
the temple in the 12th century AD. The connected legend is described in the
The tradition is that flowers on the hill should be used only for God and not
for human beings. According to Agamas the flowers removed after use by
the deity should be deposited in a well or tank. The flowers and Tulasi used
for adorning Sri Venkateswara Swamyvaru will be distributed to the devotees
only on Panchami Theertham day after decorating Sri Padmavathi
Ammavaru after Thiruppavai Sathumurai and Sthana bahumanam at
Panchami Theertha Mandapam in Tiruchanoor, where Goddess Padmavathi's
temple is located. This is the only day when we can get the flowers, Tulasi,
Turmeric etc., used for both the deities at Tirumala & Tiruchanoor.
Lord Williams 'Chalipandili'
A high level official of the British Government by name Lord Williams had a
chronic disease, which could not be cured in spite of expert medical
A Hindu official who was a devotee of Lord Venkateswara advised him to take
a vow that he would visit Tirumala after getting relief. After hearing the
fulfillment of a vow taken by Sir Thomas Munro and a permanent trust to
offer Pongali prasadam to Lord Venkateswara and get the same distributed
to the devotees every day, Mr. Williams also visited the holy hill and prayed
from outside the temple.
To his surprise, he got miraculous relief from his illness and then created a
charity called Lord Williams Chalipandili (Drinking water shed) at first mile
from Tirumala from footpath (near Neredu Maakulu) where the pilgrims can
quench thirst. This charity is being continued and a pucca water shed is
existing there to supply drinking water free to the pilgrims. The management
of TTD even to this day as a permanent measure continues this charity.
Non-Hindus worship Sri Venkateswara
According to legend Babi Nancharamma, a staunch muslim devotee of Lord
Venkateswara also worshipped Sri Venkateswara swamy varu. Another muslim devotee
has given 108 flowers made of gold each weighing about 23 grams offering. These
flowers are used during Astadala Pada Padmaradhana (an arjitha seva).
Once Sir Thomas Munro, the governer of Madras presidency was suffereing from
acute pain in stomach, which could not be cured by medical treatment. A Hindu
secretary who was a staunch devotee of Sri Venkateswara advised Sir Thomas Munro
to take a vow that he would visit the sacred seven hills and to his astonishment, he got
complete relief from his chronic stomach pain. He then created an endowment to
offer one big Gangalam of rice prasadam (Pongali) to the Lord every day to fulfil the
vow taken by him and then to distribute the said Pongal prasadam free to all the
devotees during sarvadarshanam.
For this purpose an endowment was created by gifting the revenue collections etc., of
a village called Kotabayalu, in Vayalpad taluk of Chittoor district as a permanent
measure of charity called Munro Gangalam. The endowment of Sir Munro is being
continued by the TTD even to this day.
How to Reach
You can get to Tirupati by boarding a flight from Hyderabad and
Chennai. Tirupati also has a train station though your best bet would be
disembarking at Renigunta, about 10 km away. Renigunta is well
connected by rail with other cities in India. If you would like to travel by
road, Tirupati is well connected by road to other cities by buses and other
modes of road transport.
An amazing place for pilgrims. Please avoid free darshan.. They make
you wait for at least 7-8 hours even if there is no crowd.
True power there.. you feel over whelmed.. ambiance is pretty good..very
nice south indianfood.. Best of best place