Location : Tirupati, 67-kms From Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh
Famous As : Lord Venkateswara Or Venkateshwara Or Venkatramana
Dedicated To : World's Richest Temple
Significance : Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam
Tirupati town is 67-km from Chittoor in Chittoor district, the southern portion of Andhra Pradesh. The most important place of interest at the place is the historic shrine of Sri Venkateswara, the Lord of Seven Hills, who is famous all over the country.
The shrine is located on a hill at Tirumala, a cluster of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam with an elevation of 853m (2,800ft.) above the sea level. Said to be the richest temple in the world, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history spanning several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country who stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds.
Tirupati - A Fine Example Of Dravidian Temple Architecture
The temple at Tirumala is believed to have existed from ancient times. The dynasties like the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, the Cholas of Tanjore, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Kings and chiefs of Vijayanagara, vied with one another in endowing the Shrine and offering worship of the presiding deity. The Tirupati temple with its 'gopuram' or tower is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.
The elaborate rituals and mode of worship in the temple were prescribed by the saint Ramanujacharya and are being followed even today. Anointing the idol with camphor, and the offering by pilgrims of the hair on their heads by getting themselves shaved by licensed barbers are the important customs in vogue at Tirupati Temple.
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.
Festivals Of Tirupati
Everyday is a day of festivity at Tirumala. The most famous is the annual festival called 'Brahmotsavam', which is celebrated on grand scale for nine days in September, attracting pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the country. The fifth and ninth days of the festival are especially significant in as much as Garudostavam and Rathotavam takes place on those days.
The Daily Routines - Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple
The daily program starts with 'Suprabhatam' (awakening the Lord) at three in the morning and end with the 'Ekanta Seva' (putting the Lord to sleep) at one in the night. Daily, Weekly and Periodical 'Sevas' and 'Utsavams' are performed to the Lord. Interested pilgrims can choose from the list and pay to get the Sevas or Utsavams done on their name. Devotees offer their gifts and donations in the "Hundi", which is the main source of income.