|Location:||67-km From Chittoor, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh|
|Famous For Having:||World's Richest Temple|
|Famous As:||A Pilgrimage Centre|
|Nearby Attractions:||Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple, Sri Venugopalaswami Temple, Srikalahasti.|
Tirupati, one of the richest temples in the country, is the most venerated Vaishnavite shrine of Lord Venkateswara. It was patronised by the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas and the Vijayanagar kings. 130 kms from the city of Madras (Chennai), this temple is located in the southern Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Tiru' in Tamil means `Sri'. Hence Tirupati translates to Sripati or Sri Maha Vishnu.
According to the Puranas, the range of Tirumala hills represent the body of the serpent Adisesha, on which Lord Vishnu, the protector of the world, rests. The seven hills represent the seven heads of the serpent.
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.
Tirupati was developed mainly by the contributions made by kings during their rule. Almost all the kings from great dynasties of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine of Tirupati. 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.
During the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty contributions made to the temple increased enormously. Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the Tirupati temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple at Tirupati.
Pilgrimage Attractions of Tirupati
- Tirupati Tirumala Balaji 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.
- Padmavati Devi Temple
In Tiruchanur, 5-km from Tirupati , is this large temple dedicated to goddess Padmavati, the consort of Lord Venkateswara or Venkateshwara (Balaji). It also known as "Alamelumangapuram" and it is said that a visit to Tirumala is fruitful only after visiting the Sri Padmavati Devi temple.
The deity, Sri Padmavati Devi is seated in 'Padmasana', holding a lotus in both of her upper hands. Her lower hands are in poses of 'Abhaya', fearlessness, and 'Varada', benediction. Also in this temple are the Deities of Sri Krishna, Balarama, 'Sundararaja Swami', and 'Surya-Narayana Swami'. It is traditional to first worship Sri Krishna and then to take darshan of Sri Padmavati. Only Hindus are allowed in the temple.
- Sri Govindarajaswami Temple
One of the very important temples in Tirupati , Sri Govindarajaswami Temple was consecrated by Saint Ramanujacharya in 1130 AD. It is located in the heart of the Tirupati.
- The Main Shrines
In this temple there are two main shrines. In the northern shrine is 'Sri Govindaraja', who is Lord Vishnu lying on 'Ananta'. He is considered to be Lord Venkateswara's brother. The other main shrine has Deities of 'Sri Parthasarathi' (Krishna as the charioteer of Arjuna), 'Rukmini' and 'Satyabhama' (Krishna's wives). Few parts of the inner shrine date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. The original temple had Sri Parthasarathi on the main altar. 'Sri Ramanuja' added the Sri Govindaraja deity around 1130.
- Kodandaramaswami Temple
Located in the centre of the Tirupati town, the presiding deities over here are Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. Chola king built it during the 10th century AD. The temple of Anjaneyaswami, which is directly opposite, is a sub-shrine of this temple.
- Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple
Situated about 3-km to the north of Tirupati, at the foot of the Tirumala Hills, is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, in Tirupati. Annual Brahmotsavams and festivals like Vinayaka Chavithi, Maha Shivaratri, Skhanda Shasthi and Annabhishekam are performed in a grand manner. The sacred waterfall called "Kapila Teertham " (also known as "Alwar Teertham") is located here.
- Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple
12-km to the west of Tirupati at Srinivasa Mangapuram one can find Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami temple, where it is believed that Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri Padmavati Devi, before proceeding to Tirumala.
How to Reach There
Direct flights to Tirupati are available from Hyderabad and Chennai only.
Tirupati is the nearest railway station. There are trains that travel via Renigunta or Gudur, but do not touch Tirupati. In such cases, Renigunta or Gudur, are convenient points to alight. From Renigunta / Gudur one can reach Tirupati by train, bus, or taxi.
APSRTC buses run from all the important places in the state and between Tirupati and Tirumala. TTD also runs buses between Tirupati and Tirumala, free of cost.