Friday, February 4, 2011

LEGEND of TIRUMALA

LEGEND of TIRUMALA
According to the scripture Sthala Purana, the legend of Venkateshwara's avatar (incarnation) is as follows,
Once some rishis headed by Kasyapa began to perform a sacrifice on the banks of the Ganges. Sage Narada visited them and asked them why they were performing the sacrifice and who would be pleased by it. Not being able to answer the question, the rishis approached Sage Bhrugu, who according to Vedas is believed to have an extra eye in the sole of his foot. To reach a solution after a direct ascertainment of reality, Sage Bhrigu first went to Satyaloka, the abode of Lord Brahma. At Satyaloka, he found Lord Brahma, reciting the four Vedas in praise of Lord Narayana, with each of his four heads, and attended upon by Saraswati. Lord Brahma did not take notice of Bhrigu offering obeisance. Concluding that Lord Brahma was unfit for worship, Bhrigu left Satyaloka for Kailasa, the abode of Lord Shiva. At Kailasa, Bhrigu found Lord Shiva with Parvati and not noticing his presence. left for Vaikunta, the abode of Lord Vishnu.
At Vaikunta, Lord Vishnu was reposing on Adisesha with Sri Mahalakshmi in service at his feet. Finding that Lord Vishnu also did not notice him, the sage was infuriated and kicked the Lord on His chest, the place where Mahalakshmi resides. Vishnu, in an attempt to pacify the sage, got hold of legs of the sage and started to press them gently in a way that was comforting to the sage. During this act, he squeezed the extra eye that was present in the sole of Bhrigu's foot. The extra eye is believed to represent the sage's egotism. The sage then realised his grave mistake and apologized to Vishnu. Thereupon, the sage concluded that Lord Vishnu was the most supreme of the Trimurti and told the rishis the same.
Sri Mahalakshmi was angered by the action of her Lord in apologising to Bhrigu who committed an offence. Out of anger and anguish she left Vaikuntha and resided in Karavirapur now known as Kolhapur. After the departure of Mahalakshmi, a forlorn Lord Vishnu left Vaikunta, came down to Earth, and took abode in an ant-hill under a tamarind tree, beside a pushkarini on the Venkata Hill, meditating for the return of Lakshmi, without food or sleep.
Taking pity on Lord Vishnu, Brahma and Maheshwara decided to assume the forms of a cow and its calf to serve him. Surya, the Sun god informed Mahalakshmi of this and requested her to assume the form of a cow herdess and sell the cow and calf to the king of the Chola country. The king of the Chola country bought the cow and its calf and sent them to graze on the Venkata Hill along with his herd of cattle. Discovering Lord Vishnu on the ant-hill, the cow provided its milk, and thus fed the Lord. Meanwhile, at the palace, the cow was not yielding any milk, for which the Chola Queen chastised the cowherd severely. To find out the cause of lack of milk, the cowherd followed the cow, hid himself behind a bush and discovered the cow emptying her udder over the ant-hill. Incensed over the conduct of the cow, the cowherd aimed a blow with his axe on the head of the cow. However, Lord Vishnu rose from the ant-hill to receive the blow and save the cow. When the cowherd saw the Lord bleed at the blow of his axe, he fell down and died of shock.
The cow returned to the Chola King, bellowing in fright and with blood stains all over her body. To find out the cause of the cow's terror, the King followed her to the scene of the incident. The King found the cowherd lying dead on the ground near the ant-hill. While he stood wondering how it had happened, Lord Vishnu rose from the ant-hill and cursed the King saying that he would become an Asura because of the fault of his servant. The King pleaded innocence, and the Lord blessed him by saying that he will be reborn as Akasa Raja and that the curse would end when the Lord will be adorned with a crown presented by Akasa Raja at the time of His marriage with Padmavati. With these words Lord turned into stone form.
Thereafter, Lord Vishnu in the name of Srinivasa, decided to stay in Varaha Kshetra and requested Sri Varahaswami to grant Him a site for His stay. His request being readily granted, Srinivasa ordained that a pilgrimage to His shrine would not be complete unless it is preceded by a bath in the Pushkarini and darshan of Sri Varahaswami and that puja and naivedyam should be offered to Sri Varaha swami first. Vishnu built a hermitage and lived there, attended to by Vakuladevi who looked after him like a mother.
Sometime later, a King named Akasa Raja who belonged to the Lunar race was ruling over Thondamandalam. Akasa Raja had no heirs, and therefore, he wanted to perform a sacrifice. As part of the sacrifice, he was ploughing the fields when his plough turned up a lotus in the ground. On examining the lotus, the King found a female child in it. The king was happy to find a child even before he performed a sacrifice and carried it to his place and gave it to his Queen to tend to it. At that time he heard an aerial voice which said "O King, tend it as your child and fortune will befall you". As she was found in a lotus, the king named her Padmavati. She grew up as a princess into a beautiful maiden and was attended by a host of maids.
One day, Lord Srinivasa, who was hunting, chased a wild elephant in the forests surrounding the hills. In the elephant's pursuit, the Lord was led into a garden, where Princess Padmavati and her maids were picking flowers. The sight of the elephant frightened the Princess and her maids. But the elephant immediately turned around, saluted the Lord and disappeared into the forest. Lord Srinivasa, who was following on horse back, and saw the frightened maidens. However, He was repulsed with stones thrown at Him by the maids. He returned to the hills in haste, leaving His horse behind. The Lord informed Vakuladevi that unless he married Princess Padmavati he would not be calmed.
The Lord then narrated the story of Padmavati’s previous birth and his promise to marry her. After listening to Srinivasa's story of how he had promised to marry Vedavati in her next birth as Padmavati, Vakuladevi realised that Srinivasa would not be happy unless he married her. She offered to go to Akasa Raja and his Queen and arrange for the marriage. On the way she met the maids of Padmavati returning from a Shiva Temple. She learnt from them that Padmavati was also pining for Srinivasa. Vakuladevi went along with the maid servants to the Queen.
Meanwhile, Akasa Raja and his Queen Dharanidevi were anxious about the health of their daughter, Padmavati. They learnt about Padmavathi's love for Srinivasa of Venkata Hill. Akasa Raja consulted Brihaspati about the marriage and was informed that the marriage was in the best interest of both the parties. Kubera lent money to Lord Srinivasa to meet the expenses of the marriage. Lord Srinivasa, along with Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva started the journey to the residence of Akasa Raja on his vahana Garuda. At the palace entrance, Lord Srinivasa was received by Akasa Raja with full honours and taken in procession on a mounted elephant to the palace for the marriage. In the presence of all the Devas, Lord Srinivasa married Princess Padmavati, thus blessing Akasa Raja. Together, they lived for all eternity while Goddess Lakshmi, understanding the commitments of Lord Vishnu, chose to live in his heart forever.
Venkateshwara's temple, today is located at the top of the Seven hills in Tirumala. It stands as a special place, commemorating the marriage between the two. Everyday, a kalyana utsavam celebrates the divine union in a celebration that stretches to eternity. Even today, during the Brahmotsavam at the temple, turmeric, kumkum and a sari are sent from the temple to Tiruchanur, the abode of Padmavati. In fact Tirupati is rarely visited without paying a visit to Tiruchanur. In the light of this background, it has become the favored destination of many newly wed couples who pray for a happy wedding similar to that of Srinivasa and Padmavati.
A tale associated with the temple goes thus: A helper boy called Bala was once falsely accused of being a thief. When people started chasing him he had to run for his life. He was hit on the head by the mob and his head started bleeding profusely. He ran to the Tirupati Temple of Lord Vishnu and ran to the main door of the temple. When the people entered the temple, they couldn't find the boy but saw the head of God's idol bleeding. It was considered that the boy was sheltered and protected by Vishnu himself, and the priests put cloth on the idol's head to control the bleeding.

EPIC IMPORTANCE of TIRUPATI

EPIC IMPORTANCE of TIRUPATI

The venkatam hill is believed to be a part of the celestial mount meru brought to the earth from vaikuntam by garuda (Lord's vehicle),say the puranas.The Hills are said to be a manifestation of Adi Sesha (the cosmic serpent).The Seven hills of the Tirumala are the said to represent the Seven hoods of Adi Sesha.
Many Alvars , Vaishnavacharyas and Saints have praised the Tirumala Hill with great devotion. Tirumala Mambi, a descendent of the great ascetic Narada, spent his whole life in serving the Lord.
References to the tirumala also found in several of Puranas. Tirumala is one of the 108 sacred shrines of the Sri Vaishanava tradition.According to the Puranas, Lord Vishnu stayed on the earth for some time in the Avatar of Swetha Varaham and rose out of pushkarini as Swayambhuva. His spouse Lakshmi Devi appeared in Thirucharnur. This Swwtha Varaha Avatharam was installed in the temple situated to the west of Swamy Pushkarni. The great religious leader Ramanujacharya visited this shrine on a pilgrimage and systematised the process of worship in accordance with the SriVaishnava that continues to date.
ALWARS
Nammalvar (3000 B.C)extols Lord Venkateswara as the veritable aushadam (medicine) for curing the disease of samsara in the areas of birth and death.
Saint Kulasekhara Alvar prays to the Lord Srinivasa to grant him even the lowest birth in the holy Tirumala Hills—as a fish in the sacred Swami Pushkarini, or as a tree, or as anything on the golden hills of Lord Venkateswara (emberumaan ponmalai mEl EdhEnum avEnE).

Etymology and other names of TIRUPATI BALAJI

Etymology and other names of  TIRUPATI BALAJI
he name Venkateshwara can be split into multiple parts in Sanskrit: Ven (sins)[dubious ], kata (destroyer)[dubious ], and ishwara (Supreme Lord). Using this etymology, Venkateshwara refers to the Supreme Lord who destroys sins and he is one of the main deity among 108 divya desams or Tirupathy (www.srivari.com)
The ancient Vishnu kautuvam describes him as Souryarayan, the one who destroys the evil and who comforts us. He is fondly called as Venkanna in the folklore of Andhra Pradesh. He is also known as Srinivasa, Tirumalesa, Venkatachalapathi, Sripathi, ThiruMaal, Balaji (though this is a more recent name), Venkateshwer, Venkatesa, Venkatapathi, Venkatanatha, Sri Varu, Thiruvengadam Udaiyaan, Maal, Manivannan, Tiruvengadattaan Tirupati Thimmappa, and by many other names.
He is also worshipped with the name Tirupati Thimmappa all over Karnataka by traditionally Shiva-worshipping communities. The presence of seven hills in the area influenced alternate names for the deity: such as Edukondalavadu in Telugu and as Ezhumalaiyan in Tamil, both of which mean "Lord of the Seven Hills". Lord Venkateswara is also known as Maha Ketarie and Maha Parmasree.
According to legend, the temple has a murti (deity) of Lord Venkateswara, believed to have resided there for the entire Kali Yuga. In Sri Vaishnava tradition, the temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desams or 108 Tirupathys. [1]
In his mangala sloka in 'Sri Bhashya', the Lokaguru Shrimath Ramanuja declares in no uncertain terms the resplendent glory of Lord Venkateswara:
akhila bhuvana janma sthema bhangAdi lIle
vinata vividha bhuta vrAta rakshaika dikshe |
Sruti Sirasi vidIpte brahmaNi SrInivAse
bhavatu mama parasmin Semushi bhakti rUpA ||
May my intellect assume the form of Bhakti in Srinivasa, the highest Reality, revealed in the Vedanta as the Lord who creates, protects and destroys the whole universe with sportive ease and who has taken a vow to protects all creatures who seek him.
Kamban, in his celebrated Ramayana makes an explicit reference to the Thiru Vengadam Hills and states that the truth enshrined in the four Vedas stands out as the eternal satya on the Vengada Hills. 'Silappadikaram', the great Tamil Classic calls the Holy Hills, 'Nediyon Kunrams'. It was, however, the Alvars who brought forth the transcedental majesty of Lord Venkateswara through their poems of praise which are surcharged with undiluted devotion to the Lord.

Tirupati Balaji's jewels to get Rs.52,000 cr Insurance cover

Tirupati Balaji's jewels to get Rs.52,000Crore Insurance cover

Legend of Tirupati Balaji Temple

Legend of Tirupati Balaji Temple
In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja became the ruler of Tondamandalamand his daughter Padmavathi was married Venkateswara.
 
Once Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going to Tirumala to worship Lord Venkateswara. After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed and blue-bodied Vishnu resting beneath a tamarind tree. He lay exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was protected only by the wings of Garuda. Astounded Rangadasa raised a rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying flowers to Gopinatha for worship everyday. But one day he got distracted and forgot to supply flowers. The Lord revealed himself and told Rangadasa He had been testing the latter`s continence. However, the Lord accepted his devoted service and blessed Rangadasa that he would be reborn as an affluent ruler and would continue to serve the Lord, and would construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding walls, and earn eternal glory.

Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, son of rulers Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the Tirumala Hill, and saw Vishnu under the same tamarind tree. He returned home, deeply affected. On inheriting the kingdom Tondaman according to the directions constructed a prakaram and dvara gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord. In the Kali Yuga, ruler of Tondamandalam daughter of Akasaraja, the Tondamandalam ruler, Padmavathi was ultimately married Venkateswara.

Tirupati and Tirumala




Tirupati and Tirumala
Tirupati and Tirumala are those places well known to all Indians. Sri Venkateshwara, the presiding deity of Tirumalaor engadam, is revered by lakhs of people all over the country. The chief centers of pilgrimage are Sri Venkateshwara`s temple on the Tirumala hill, the shrine of Govindaraja in the town of Tirupati and the shrine of Padmavati, situated in Tiruchanur, three miles to the south of Tirupati. The Hill on which the temple of Sri Venkateshwara stands popularly known as Venkatachalam is low and surrounded by many hills of an altitude.

About the Deity: Balaji - KrishnaThe town of Tirupati Balaji is considered the most sacred place in India. It is famous for Lord Venkateshwara, the deity who is called Tirupati Balaji which here means the `lord of Laxmi`. The shrine is located on a hill at Tirumala, a group of seven hills known as Venkatachalam. This temple is located on the seventh peak of Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) and so the Lord is also called Venkatachalapati or Lord of the Seven Hills, which lies, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.
T he seven peaks represent the seven hoods of Naag Adisesha. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. The Shastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns clearly say that in Kali Yuga, one will be able to attain mukti only by worshipping Sri Venkateswara. The benefits of the pilgrimage to Venkatachalam are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. These epics describe the Lord as the bestower of boons. All the great dynasties from the southern peninsula paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine - Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (10th century), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD). They competed with one another while giving endowments to the temple. 
LORD TIRUPATI BALAJI



During the Vijayanagar dynasty the contributions to the temple increased. Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed in portals at the temple, and they can still be seen. After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay homage and offer gifts. The Maratha General Raghoji Bhonsle set up a permanent endowment to conduct the worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels including a large emerald, which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who contributed large amounts were the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal. After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over the supervision and under their protective control. In 1843 AD, the administration of the shrine and its estates were entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala.

Darshans: Sarvadarsanam means `darshan for all`. The timings for Sarvadarsanam are different on different days of the week. For normal days, 18 hours are allotted for Sarvadarsanam and on peak days, it is open for 20 hours. The Sudarsanam token system was introduced to minimize the waiting time for Sarvadarsanam, Special Darshan and other paid darshan/sevas. They are available free of cost at the First Choultry (opposite the Tiru Railway Station), Second Choultry (behind the Railway Station), Alipiri Bus Stand, Tirupati, Vaikuntam Queue Complex, Pilgrim Amenities Centre (Near CRO) and near the Rambagicha Guest House in Tirumala.

Brahmotsava FestivalFestivals: Everyday is a day of celebration at Tirumala. The most famous is the annual festival called `Brahmotsava`, celebrated on grand scale for nine days in September, and attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over. The fifth and ninth days of the festival are especially significant in as much as Garudostavam and Rathotavam takes place on those days.

Getting There
Tirumala can be reached either by vehicle or by climbing on foot. Those preferring vehicles can avail the buses plying between Tirupati and Tirumala every 15 minutes. One should purchase the return journey tickets for Tirumala at Tirupati itself to avoid standing in the ticket queue at Tirumala. The tickets are valid for three days and entitle ticket holders to board any bus at any time.

Those who wish to reach the hilltop by foot can walk up can use either of the two well-made stone footpaths. From Chandragiri, Tirumala is 5 km, whereas from Alipiri, it is 11 km. Chandragiri is the more difficult of the two and Alipiri is the more commonly used route. Usually pilgrims climb up the path as a part of their vow.

Air: The nearest airport is at Reni Gunta, 15 km from Tirupati. Indian Airlines operates daily flights from Hyderabad, Vijayawada, Chennai and Bangalore.
Rail: The famed pilgrim town is well connected to Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.
Road: Tirupati is linked to all the major towns and cities of South India by road. Chennai is 150 km; Bangalore, 250 km; and Hyderabad, 725 km from Tirupati. Tourist buses ply regularly between the cities.

Tirupati Temple Architecture

Tirupati Temple Architecture
The Tirupati temple is said to be the richest temple in the world.
The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, which advocates equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice. The gopuram over the sanctum is covered entirely in gold plate and is known as Ananda Nilayam. The sanctum holds an awe-inspiring idol of the Lord. There are several elegantly carved doorways, mandapams and shrines inside the temple complex. The main door is called the Padi Kavali Maha Dwara, which has a quadrangular base. A number of stucco figures of gods like Vaishnava, Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha can be seen here.

There is a pradakshinam for circumbulating around the shrine. The main temple has three prakarams. Between the outermost and middle enclosure is the second circumbulatory path called Sampangi Pradakshinam and is currently closed to pilgrims. This path contains several interesting mandapas like Pratima Mandapam, Ranga Mandapam, Tirumala Raya Mandapam, Saluva Narasimha Mandapam, Aina Mahal and Dhvajasthambha Mandapam. After passing through the Padi Kavali Maha Dvara, you come to an open mandapam called the Krishna Deva Raya Mandapam or Pratima Mandapam. This mandapam gets its name from the pratimas or bronze images of the Vijayanagara emperor Krishnadevaraya and his two consorts, Tirumaladevi and Chinnadevi facing the shrine with their hands joined in supplication.

Chandragiri In the southern wing of the mandapam, is a statue of Venkatapathi Raya of the Aravidu dynasty, who ruled over Chandragiri around 1570 AD. To the side are stone statues of Achyutha Raya and his wife Varadajiamma. This mandapam was built during the later Vijayanagara rule. It is filled with beautiful pictures of the Vijayanagara period. Vaishnava symbols or the Urdhvapundras flanked by a conch and disc are carved at the top of the two main pillars of the mandapam. The Ranga Mandapam is also called the Ranganayakula Mandapam and is located in the southeastern corner of the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The shrine is where the utsava murti of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangam was kept during the 14th century, when Muslim rulers occupied Srirangam. The Yadava ruler Sri Ranganadha Yadava Raya constructed it in Vijayanagar style between 1320 and 1360 AD.

Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, facing the Dhvajasthambha mandapam is a large complex of pavilions known as the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Anna Unjal Mandapam. It consists of two levels, the front at a lower level and the rear at a higher. Saluva Narasimha constructed the south or the inner portion of this mandapam in 1473 AD to celebrate the festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal. Araviti Bukkaraya Ramaraja, Sriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja extended the structure to what it is today. Here the utsava murthi holds his annual darbar or asthanam during the Garudadhwaja - Garuda flag on the Dhwajastamb to mark the commencement of Brahmotsava. The mandapam has a complex of pillars in Vijayanagara style - a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars, some emit musical notes. The main pillars have rearing horses with mounted warriors. Some of the best sculptures are found here in bold relief. The bronze statues of Todermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and wife Pitha Bibi are kept in a corner of the mandapam.

Nadimi Padi KavaliThe Aina Mahal is on the northern side of the Tirumala Raya Mandapam and consists of two parts - an open mandapam in the front consisting of six rows comprising six pillars each, and a shrine behind it consisting of an Antarala and Garbhagriha. It has large mirrors, which reflect images. There is an unjal in the middle of the room where the Lord is seated and festivals are conducted. The Dhwajasthambha Mandapam houses the Dhwajastambha (a wooden flagpole encased in gold) and the Bali Peetha (seat for food offering). A peculiar feature of the Mandapam is that it is covered (unlike in other temples) to facilitate the conduct of rituals in all weather conditions. The relative positions of the Dhwajasthambha and the Bali Peetha are in accordance with Vaikhanasa Agamic traditions.

The Nadimi Padi Kavali or Inner Gopuram is the inner entrance to the temple, which is reached through the Dhvajasthambha mandapam. Its wooden doors are covered in silver plates and are also called Vendi Vakili. The doors are smaller than that of the outer Gopuram. There are numerous inscriptions here, the earliest belonging to the Pandyan monarch, Jata Varma Sundarapandya. The Vimana Pradakshinam is commonly used as circumambulatory path around the central shrine. The vimana over the sanctum can be seen from this pathway. Pilgrims who have taken a vow of performing Angapradakshinam perform it in the Vimana Pradakshinam. There is an independent shrine of Sri Varadarajaswami on the eastern side of the vimana. The idol faces the west and is standing with a disc and conch in the upper right and left hands respectively. The lower right hand is in the abhaya pose and the lower left, in the katyavalambika pose- a giver of boons.

Potu AmmaThe Potu or main kitchen where the food-offerings for the main temple are prepared is to the south of the Varadarajaswami shrine. Inside the Potu is a small shrine dedicated to Lakshmi and she is also called Potu Amma (lady of the kitchen) or Madapuli Nachiyar. She is acknowledged as Vakulamalika, who according to the Puranas was sent by Varahaswami to be the housekeeper of Sri Venkateswara, when he resided on the hill. She is also said to have arranged Lord Venkateswara`s marriage with Padmavathi. She is Lakshmi, and is worshipped so during Varalakshmi Vratam, in the month of Sravana. An icon of Lakshmi can be seen at Padi Potu, another kitchen is located in the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The rice prasadam is prepared in the inner Potu, while other laddus, vadas appams etc., are prepared in the Padi potu.

Sankeertana-BhandaraThe main shrine includes the sanctum and three consecutive halls in front right up till Bangaru Vakili. These are the Snapana Mandapam - a square hall, Ramar Meda - a rectangular hall, and Sayana Mandapam - also rectangular in shape, where the Ekanta Seva is performed. Adjacent to the porch of Bhashyakara Sannidhi on the west side is a small room called Talapakamara or Sankeertana Bhandara. It was constructed to preserve the collection of sankeertanas composed by the Talapaka poets - Talapaka Annamacharya, his son Pedda Tirumalacharya and grandson Chinna Tirumalacharya, who were the minstrels attached to the temple. In front of the Potu is a well called Bangaru Bavi. The site as mentioned in the Vaikhanasa Agamas was constructed according to Vijayanagara style.

Ramar MedaThe Snapana Mandapam is also called the Tiruvilan kovil. It has four central pillars, with the sculptures of Bala Krishna, Yoga Narasimha and Kaliayamardhana. One such impressive sculpture is that of Vishnu seated with four arms - the upper arms hold the chakra and the shankha. The Lord`s consorts are seated in Sukh asana on either side. Ramar Meda, is an elevated platform for Rama housed the icons of Rama, Sita and Laxmana, but has been moved to the sanctum. Utsava Murthis of Vishvaksena and Garuda have their own shrines.

garbha griha The Sayana Mandapam, also called the Ardha Mandapam, is directly in front of the sanctum. This is as close as the pilgrims can get to the inner sanctum. The mandapam is connected to the sanctum by a gate called kulasekhara-padi named after an Alwar saint who wished to be reborn as the threshold to the Lord`s shrine. This mandapam is used to perform rituals that cannot take place in the sanctum. The garbha griha or sanctum is where the main idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara resides. Sanctum is where the idol of the Lord stands. In between the sanctum and the Sayana Mandapam, is the threshold called the Kulasekhara-padi. The idol stands directly beneath the gilt dome called Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana. Pilgrims are not allowed to enter the garbha griha.

Sri RamanujaThe kalyanotsavam or marriage festival is celebrated in the Kalyana Mandapam. It is similar to the Tirumala Raya Mandapam. To the west is a small mandapam carried on slender cut-stone pillars and surmounted by a vimana. To the south is the Yagasala where yagyas related to Brahmotsavam and other festivals are performed. Close to the Sangeeta Bhandara in the northern corridor of the Vimana Pradakshinam is the shrine of Sri Ramanuja and is also called the Bhashyakara Sannidhi. Ramanuja was the architect of Tirupati and the father of the Sri Vaishnava community here.

This shrine was built around the 13th century and it overlooks the western end of the Tirumamani Mandapam. The Pandyan emblem of two fish and a hook is carved on the wall next to the entrance. The right hand of the image has the gesture of exposition (vyakhyana mudra), and the left hand in boon bestowal (varada hasta), or holding a book (pustaka hasta). The shrine is prominent during the festival of Adhyayanotsavam. Special prayers are conducted here during Gandhapodi Utsavam and Bhashyakara Utsavam. The utsava murthi of Ramanuja is taken in a grand procession to meet Malayappa near the Padi Kavali.

Sri Narasimhaswami shrine
Sri-Yoga-NarasimhaSri Narasimhaswami shrine is located to the left of the Ramanuja shrine and hold an idol of Sri Yoga Narasimha. Built in the 15th century, it is surrounded by a polished mandapam. Dance poses are sculptured on the pillars. Yoga Narasimhaswami is also known as Girija Narasimhaswami. He is seated with his hands on his knees, and girdled by the Yogapatta. A ceremonial bath (Tiru-Manjana) is given to the idol in the sanctum on Saturdays; and on the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha (according to the lunar calendar) Swati Nakshathram the idol is specially worshipped on account of Narasimha Jayanti.

The first glimpse of the Lord is seen from the Tirumamani Mandapam built by Mallanna or Madhavadasa, Chief of Chandragiri in the 15th century. 16 carved pillars, create a division of the area into three aisles, support the mandapam. The mandapam serves as an Asthana Mandapam where Koluvu Srinivasa holds court after Thomala Seva in the sanctum, he listens to the reading of the almanac, and presides over daily rations of rice and the recitation of Suprabhatam also takes place here. There are two massive bells known as Tirumani or Tirumahamani, which give the mandapam its name. These bells were used during the Naivedyam in the sanctum.

GarudaOn the eastern side of the mandapam is a small shrine dedicated to Garuda. On the north side is a gangala or large brass vessel covered with a fabric, for depositing all votive offerings. From the Tirumamani you can enter the Bangaru Vakili to reach the inner sanctum. There are two tall copper images of the dwarapalakas Jaya and Vijaya on either side of the door. The thick wooden door is covered with gilt plates depicting the dasavataram of Vishnu. The doorway is in direct line with the Padi Kavali and the Vendi Vakili and it admits pilgrims to the Snapana Mandapam. The Suprabhatam is sung in front of this door.

Mukkoti Pradakshinam is an enclosed path for circumambulation that runs around the sanctum and the porch. The pradakshinam has walls on three sides with the eastern wall missing. It is open to pilgrims only twice a year during Mukkoti Ekadasi and Mukkoti Dvadasi. The doors are opened on the night of the 11th day after Thiruppavai and closed on the night of the 12th day called Margali-tiru-dvadasi.

 

Thursday, February 3, 2011

LORD TIRUPATI BALAJI

LORD TIRUPATI BALAJI
May my intellect assume the form of Bhakti in Srinivasa, the highest Reality, revealed in the Vedanta as the Lord who creates, protects and destroys the whole universe with sportive ease and who has taken a vow to protects all creatures who seek him.

WELCOME TO TIRUPATI BALAJI

THE NAME TIRUPATI BALAJI MEANS THE LORD OF SHRI LAXMI


The town of Tirupati-Balaji is one of the most sacred places in India. It is famous for Lord Venkateshwara Deity. The name Tirupati-Balaji means the 'lord of Lakshmi'. The shrine is located on a hill at Tirumala, a cluster of seven hills known as Venkatachalam with an elevation of 853m above the sea level. It is said to be the richest temple in the world, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history. The architecture of the temple is such that the Cupola over the sanctorum is covered entirely with gold plate and is known as "the Ananda Nilayam". The shrine consists of three 'Prakarams'or enclosures.

Tirupati town is 67-km from Chittoor, 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.

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 other shrines that you can visit while on a trip to Tirupati-Balaji are the Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple consecrated by Saint Ramanujacharya in AD 1130; Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, the only temple dedicated to Lord Siva; Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple, which has Rama, Sita, and Lakshmana as the presiding deities; and the legendary Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple. You can also visit Tiruchanur, where the temple of Sri Padmavathi Devi is situated.


  TEMPLE LEGENDS Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.

The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.

According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.

Tirupati Balaji Temple

Tirupati 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.

Tirupati Balaji TempleTirupati Balaji is reportedly the richest and the most visited place of worship in the worldThe temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa
Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestowed of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.
There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. 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.
It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.
The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.
According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.
Padi Kavali Maha Dwara
The Padi Kavali Maha Dwara or Outer Gopuram stands on a quadrangular base. Its architecture is that of the later Chola period. The inscriptions on the gopuram belong to 13th century. There are a number of stucco figures of Vaishnava gods like Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha on the gopuram.
Sampangi Pradakshinam
The path for circumnavigating the temple is called a pradakshinam. The main temple has three prakarams. Between the outermost and middle prakarams is the second pathway for circumambulation known as the Sampangi Pradakshinam. Currently, this pathway is closed to pilgrims. The Sampangi Pradakshinam contains several interesting mandapams like the Pratima Mandapam, Ranga Mandapam, Tirumala Raya Mandapam, Saluva Narasimha Mandapam, Aina Mahal and Dhvajasthambha Mandapam.
Ranga Mandapam
Tirupati Balaji TempleRanga Mandapam, also called the Ranganayakula Mandapam, is located in the south-eastern corner of the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The shrine within it is believed to be the place where the utsava murti of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangam was kept during the 14th century, when Srirangam was occupied by Muslim rulers. It is said to have been constructed between 1320 and 1360 AD by the Yadava ruler Sri Ranganadha Yadava Raya. It is constructed according to the Vijayanagara style of architecture.
Tirumala Raya Mandapam
Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, and facing the Dhvajasthambha Mandapam is a spacious complex of pavilions known as the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Anna Unjal Mandapam.
It consists of two different levels, the front at a lower level and the rear at a higher. The southern or inner portion of this Mandapam was constructed by Saluva Narasimha in 1473 AD to celebrate a festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal. This structure was extended to its present size by Araviti Bukkaraya Ramaraja, Sriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja.
It is in this Mandapam, that the utsava murthi Malayappan, holds His annual darbar or Asthanam during the hoisting of the Garudadhwaja on Dhwajastambham to mark the commencement of Brahmotsavam. Incidentally, the prasadam distributed on this occasion is still called Tirumalarayan Pongal.
Tirumala Raya Mandapam
The Mandapam has a typical complex of pillars in the Vijayanagara style, with a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars, some of which emit musical notes when struck with a stone. The main pillars have rearing horses with warriors mounted on them. Some of the best sculptures of the temple are found in bold relief in the Mandapam. The bronze statues of Todermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and wife Pitha Bibi, are kept in a corner of the Mandapam.
The Aina Mahal
The Aina Mahal is on the northern side of the Tirumala Raya Mandapam. It consists of two parts – an open mandapam in the front consisting of six rows comprising six pillars each, and a shrine behind it consisting of an Antarala and Garbhagriha. It has large mirrors which reflect images in an infinite series. There is an unjal in the middle of the room in which the Lord is seated and festivals conducted.
Tirupati Balaji TempleThe 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.
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 thos

TIRUPATI TIRUMALA Travelling Details-2

Location: Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh
Famous as: World's Richest 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.

Tirupati Tirumala Balaji TempleThe temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestowed of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.

History
There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. 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.

It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

Temple Legends
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.

The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.

According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.
Pilgrimage Attractions at Tirupati Tirumala
  • Padi Kavali Maha Dwara
    The Padi Kavali Maha Dwara or Outer Gopuram stands on a quadrangular base. Its architecture is that of the later Chola period. The inscriptions on the gopuram belong to 13th century. There are a number of stucco figures of Vaishnava gods like Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha on the gopuram.
  • Sampangi Pradakshinam
    The path for circumnavigating the temple is called a pradakshinam. The main temple has three prakarams. Between the outermost and middle prakarams is the second pathway for circumambulation known as the Sampangi Pradakshinam. Currently, this pathway is closed to pilgrims. The Sampangi Pradakshinam contains several interesting mandapams like the Pratima Mandapam, Ranga Mandapam, Tirumala Raya Mandapam, Saluva Narasimha Mandapam, Aina Mahal and Dhvajasthambha Mandapam.
  • Ranga Mandapam
    Ranga Mandapam, also called the Ranganayakula Mandapam, is located in the south-eastern corner of the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The shrine within it is believed to be the place where the utsava murti of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangam was kept during the 14th century, when Srirangam was occupied by Muslim rulers. It is said to have been constructed between 1320 and 1360 AD by the Yadava ruler Sri Ranganadha Yadava Raya. It is constructed according to the Vijayanagara style of architecture.
  • Tirumala Raya Mandapam
    Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, and facing the Dhvajasthambha Mandapam is a spacious complex of pavilions known as the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Anna Unjal Mandapam.

    It consists of two different levels, the front at a lower level and the rear at a higher. The southern or inner portion of this Mandapam was constructed by Saluva Narasimha in 1473 AD to celebrate a festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal. This structure was extended to its present size by Araviti Bukkaraya Ramaraja, Sriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja.

    It is in this Mandapam, that the utsava murthi Malayappan, holds His annual darbar or Asthanam during the hoisting of the Garudadhwaja on Dhwajastambham to mark the commencement of Brahmotsavam. Incidentally, the prasadam distributed on this occasion is still called Tirumalarayan Pongal.
  • Tirumala Raya Mandapam
    The Mandapam has a typical complex of pillars in the Vijayanagara style, with a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars, some of which emit musical notes when struck with a stone. The main pillars have rearing horses with warriors mounted on them. Some of the best sculptures of the temple are found in bold relief in the Mandapam. The bronze statues of Todermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and wife Pitha Bibi, are kept in a corner of the Mandapam.
  • Tirupati TempleThe Aina Mahal
    The Aina Mahal is on the northern side of the Tirumala Raya Mandapam. It consists of two parts - an open mandapam in the front consisting of six rows comprising six pillars each, and a shrine behind it consisting of an Antarala and Garbhagriha. It has large mirrors which reflect images in an infinite series. There is an unjal in the middle of the room in which the Lord is seated and festivals conducted.
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.

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.

TIRUPATI Travelling Details-1

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.
Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple
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.

Location
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.

History
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
    Tirupati TempleThe 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
  • Air
    Direct flights to Tirupati are available from Hyderabad and Chennai only.
  • Rail
    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.
  • Buses
    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.

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Introduction of Tirupati Balaji Temple

Introduction of Tirupati Balaji Temple
India is famous for its culture and religion. There are many temples in this country. But in these temples, Tirupati Balaji Temple is a name not unknown to the people, not only in Chittoor district of state Andhra Pradesh but other parts of India also. Tirupati Balaji Temple forms the main part of the pilgrimage sites of the Hindus. Therefore, Tirupati Balaji Temple is the richest temple of the world. Tirumala Tirupati Temple is attributed for being the most visited temple of India and second most visited shrine in the world.

Tirupati Balaji Temple dedicated to Shri Venketeshwara. Shree Venkateswara is also known as the “Lord of the Seven Hills”. The term 'Venkateswara' is more popular word in southern part of India. So, the Lord is called as “Lord Balaji” too. The name Tirupati-Balaji means the “Lord of goddess Lakshmi”. Balaji is regarded as the form of Lord Vishnu, who is considered as the preserver of this universe.

Tirupati Balaji Temple is obtainable from anywhere in Andhra Pradesh. Anyone can easily reach Tirupati Balaji Temple by taking local buses or by hiring taxis from any district of Andhra Pradesh.

History of TIRUPATI Balaji Temple

 

History of TIRUPATI Balaji Temple

There is plenty literary & epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of God Tirupati Balaji. All the great rulers, nobles and chieftains of the Andhra Pradesh as well as India have paid worship to Lord Balaji in this antique temple.

In 9th century, The Pallavas who was the rulers of Kancheepuram, after that The Cholas who was the rulers of Thanjavur, The Pandyas who was the rulers of Madurai, & all the rulers and Chieftains of Vijayanagar were great devotees of the GOD Venkateshwara & they competed with one-another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions. Due to the rule of Vijayanagar dynasty, the contributions to the temple increased gradually. Shree Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple & these statues can be seen today also. There is also one statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

After the decline of Vijayanagar dynasty the rule of contribution was not over. Many Nobles and Chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their worship and offer gifts to the Tirumala temple. Raghoji Bhonsle, the Maratha general, visited the Tirupati Balaji Temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also offered valuable jewels & large emerald to the God Tirupati Balaji. The large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General.

After the collapse of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over the responsibility of Balaji temple, & many of the temples came under their administrative and defensive control. In India, when the mastery started rising in 1843 AD, the managerial activities of the Tirupati Balaji Temple were controled by Mahants of the Hatiramji Mutt.

In 1933 AD, the Chennai government took over and handed the reins of administration to an autonomous body known as the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam Committee.
Again in 1951, the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam was reconstituted with a board of trustees.

Story of Tirupati Balaji

Story of Tirupati Balaji

Before the starting of kaliyuga, the Rishis began to perform a sacrifice (yagya) on the banks of ganga for the goodness of people in the kaliyuga. Kashyap rishi was the head of these rishis. Sage Narada and sage Bhrigu visited them at the Yagya time and sage Narada asked them to tell him that why they were performing the Yagya and who would be pleased by it. To hearing this question, all rishis were surprised and requested to Narada to give way for that. After much debate it was agreed that Sage Bhrigu undertake the difficult task of finding out that who is the most supreme of the trinity, so that he could enjoy the honor of becoming the presiding deity. rishis were agreed with sage Narada. And sage Bhirgu went to satyaloka to meet Lord Brahma.At Satyaloka, Bhrigu rishi found Brahma who was in meeting with Yamadev, Varundev, Aganidev and other god, discussing on some secret of the universe. Without notice to anybody Rishi Bhrigu entered in meeting but god Brahma not noticed to Bhirgu. At last Bhirgu concluded that Brahma was unfit for worship so he turned to Kailasha from Brahmaloka. When Bhirgu rishi went to kailasha, he found lord Shiva spending his time pleasantly with goddess Parvati and not noticing the rishi Bhrigu. Parvati drew the attention of Shiva to the presence of the sage. Lord Shiva became angry at the interruption of Bhrigu and tried to destroy him. But the Bhrigu cursed him and turned to Vaikunth. The angry rishi Bhrigu went to Vaikunthdham. In Vaikunthdham, Lord Vishnu was sleep on the bed of the Adisesha and Goddess Lakshmi was respectfully nursing his feet. When Bhrigu Rishi saw this, he became full of anger, because he thought that Lord Vishnu was not really sleeping, but only pretending to sleep just to insult him.The sage was infuriated and he kicked to lord Vishnu on his chest, the place where Mahalakshmi resides.
At once the Lord Vishnu hastened to the angry Sage Bhrigu and said “My Lord, my chest is the strongest thing in the world, like a mountain, but your feet are so soft. Maybe you got hurt while kicking me. So please forgive me for that." Listening to this word of lord Vishnu, Sage Bhrigu got very calm and felt very guilty and he decided that God Vishnu was the most supreme of the trinity and told the Rishis the same. Therefore all rishis decided that Sri Vishnu was the fruit of the Yaga and sacrifice was offered to god Vishnu.
At the beginning of the present Sveta Varaha Kalpa, the whole Universe was filled with water and the earth was immersed in it. Lord Vishnu took to form of a White Boar and dived into the water to lift the earth. He slew the demon Hiranyakshayap who caused obstruction to him and rescued the earth. Brahma and the other god extolled Sri Varaha at the time with the chanting of the Vedas and showered flowers on him for saving the Earth. Lord Vishnu decided to stay on Earth in the form of the White Boar for some time, to punish the wicked and protect the virtuous. This place then forward came to be known as Varaha Kshetra and Varaha Kalpa began from that time.

After the departure of Mahalakshmi, Lord Vishnu left Vaikuntha and went to earth in the search of Mahalaxmi. Ultimately his quest brought him to the Seshadri hills where he stopped to rest in an anthill. Listening about the separation of Vishnu and lakshami, Brahma and Shiva got upset and decided to intervene. Thereafter Brahma and lord shiva took to form of cow and its calf and went to live at the place of a Chola king. The sun god informed to goddess lakshami about the plan of Brahma and shiva and requested her to sell the cow and calf to the king of the Chola country assuming the form of a cowherdess.
The chola king bought the cow and its calf and sent them to graze in the Seshadri hills. On this hill, the cow would secretly visit the anthill where Vishnu was living without sustenance. Emptying her milk, the cow would then return to the palace. The cowherd was angry because cow never yielded any milk to him. To find out the reason behind that, he watched movement carefully and his explorations brought him to the anthill. He discovered the cow emptying her under over the ant-hill. The cowherd got wild over the conduct of the cow, and he aimed a blow with his axe on the head of the cow. But the god rose from the ant-hill to receive the blow and save the cow. When cowherd saw the lord bleed at the blow of his axe he fell down and died.
After the death of the cowherd, the cow returned bellowing to the presence of the Chola king with blood stains over her body. To find out the reason of the terror of the cow the Chola king followed her to the scene of the incident. Near an ant-hill, the King found the cowherd lying dead on the ground. While he stood wondering how it had happened, the Lord rose from the ant-hill and said “you are responsible for all this so, I cursed you to become an Asure (evil sprit) from the fault of your servant.” Entreated by the Chola king who pleaded innocent, then the lord Vishnu blessed him by saying that his curse would end when he was adorned with the Kireetam presented by Akasa Raja at the time of His marriage with Sri Padmavati.

After giving the blessing to Chola king, Srinivasa (lord Vishnu) decided to stay in this Varaha Kshetra. Therefore, he requested Sri Varahaswami (the third incarnation of Vishnu as boar) to grant him a site for his stay. Varahaswamy was agreed with srinivasa request but he said that he (Sriniwasa) would tell his devotees to his shrine would not be complete unless it is preceded by a bath in the Pushkarini and Darsan of Sri VarahaSwami, and that puja and Naivedyam should be offered to Sri Varaha first.After that, lord Vishnu built a hermitage and lived there waited on by a devotee. Vakuladevi also lived with Sriniwasa and looked him like a mother.
In a nearby kingdom of Varaha kshetra there was a king named King Akasha Raja. He was childless from many years. So, he decided to perform a sacrifice for obtaining an offspring. One day, he had found a beautiful baby girl sleeping on a golden lotus in a golden box while ploughing the fields. The king was so happy to find a child and he carried it to his place and gave it to his Queen to tend it. The Akasha Raja had named her Padmavathi. A beautiful and accomplished girl, Padmavathy had been granted a boon in her earlier birth that she would be married to Lord Vishnu.

In course of time Princess Padmavati grew up into a beautiful maiden and was attended by a host of maids. One day while she was spending her time in a garden picking flowers with her maids, Sage Narada approached her. Assuring her that he was her well-wisher, he asked her to show him her palm to read her future. He foretold that she was destined to be the spouse of Lord Vishnu himself.

At this time, lord Srinivasa went for hunting chased a wild elephant in the forests surrounding the hills. By the chasing of elephant, Srinivasa was led to the garden, where princess Padmavati and her maids were picking flowers. He was stunned by her beauty and drawn to her. She too seemed to be drawn to him, but the angry attendants thinking him a mere hunter drove him away. Lord Sriniwasa met with princess Padmavati and her maids. He had explained them about his birth and parentage. And he also enquired them about their princess and her parentage and birth. When he got the information that the princess was padmavati, the foster daughter of Akasaraja, he loved her and made advance to the princess. He was repulsed with stones by the maids and he urgently returned to the hills leaving the horse, which fell on the ground.

As usual, Vakuladevi brought dinner to Srinivasa comprising various delicious dishes. But she found him lying on his bed love-sick. She asked to srinivasa the causes of his sickness. The lord srinivasa told her that unless he secured Princess Padmavati, he would not be well and also told her all story of padmavati’s previous birth and his promise to wed her. Listening to all this story, Vakuladevi thought that Srinivasa would not be happy unless he married Padmavati and she offered to go to Akasa raja and his queen with the marriage proposal.

In the palace of Akashraja, the king Akasaraja and Queen Dharandevi beceme worried about the health of their daughter. They learnt about Padmavati's love for Srinivasa of Venkata Hill. Akasaraja consulted Rishi Brihaspati about the propriety of the marriage and was informed that the marriage was in the best interests.

Lord srinivasa doubted about the marriage of Padmavati with him. So, he disguised himself as a soothsayer and went to the court of Akasha Raja. The soothsayer saw the palm of the Princess Padmavati and told her that the hunter she had fallen in love with was no ordinary man but the incarnation of Lord Vishnu and told her that the worries would soon be over. After the departure of the soothsayer, Vakuladevi went to the queen and informed her that she came from Srinivasa with marriage proposal. After consulting with sage Brihaspati and heard from his queen about the prediction of the soothsayer and arrival of the marriage proposal from Srinivasa, Akasaraja accepted the proposal and decided to bestow his daughter on Srinivasa and he called the palace purohits to fix a suitable date for the marriage.

Akasaraja informed his relatives and ministers and other Officials of his intention. Immediately a letter was drafted for being sent to Srinivasa requesting him to come and marry the Princess. After that king Akasha Raja send patrika to Srinivasa. After receiving the Patrika, Lord Srinivasa called for a conference of the Gods to win their consent for his marriage with Princess Padmavati.

For the arrangement of the marriage, Srinivasa sought a loan of one crore and 14 lakh coins of gold from Kubera and had Viswakarma, the divine architect create heavenly surroundings in the Seshadri hills. As soon as day of the wedding arrived, lord Srinivasa was bathed in holy waters in pushkarini tank and dressed in jeweled ornaments befitting a royal bride groom. Then he set off in a procession for the court of Akasha Raja. In the palace of Akasha raja, Padmavathy waited radiant in her beauty. Srinivasa was hailed with an arthi and led to the marriage hall. There the queen and King washed his feet while sage Vasishta chanted the Vedic mantras. Soon the wedding was over with all ritual and it was time for Padmavathy to take leave of her parents. After that Padmavati and Srinivasa went to venkatachala hill and live there with happily.

Tirupati Temple

Tirupati Temple

Tirupati Temple

Tirupati Temple
Location : 67-km from Chittoor in Chittoor district
Famous For : Architecture and Festivals
Ideal Time To Visit : October To March

¤ A Sacred Monument

Considered as the most sacred and the richest temple in the world, Tirupati temple is situated in the town of Tirupati. It is located 67-km away from Chittoor in Chittoor district of southern Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Tirupati Balaji Temple, it is a major pilgrimage center of south India. Besides, Tirupati also focous on other attraction of this place, the ancient and famous shrine of Sri Venkateswara, the Lord of Seven Hills are worth a viist.

The temple is located on a hill at Tirumala. It is a conglomeration of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam having an height of 853m (2,800ft.) above the sea level. The temple boasts of a vibrant and colorful culture also speaking volumes about its grand past. It is an important pilgrimage center, where devotees stand for long hours waiting to get a glance of the presiding deity.


¤ Highlight of The Temple

The temple is the most popular and most visited temples in India. Being situated on a hill of Tirumala, it is climbed up by pilgrims, which is not an easy task.

Sri Venkataswara temple or the Tirupati temple is the richest temple in India. It is said that people drop bags of diamonds at the feet of Sri Venkataswara. Devotees flock this temple in huge numbers. In fact there are two lines to enter the temple, one is a free line, where you don' t pay anything to get a view of the deity. But, for the second line, which takes less time to get a glance of the deity, you have to pay a minimum amount of Rs. 50.


¤ Temple Architecture

The ancient Tirupati temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. The gopuram of this temple is its highlight. The 'Vimana' or Cupola, named the "the Ananda Nilayam" is placed over the sanctum sanctorum. It completely veiled with gold plate.

There are three 'Prakarams' or enclosures in the temple, among them the outermost enclosure boasts of the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post. Apart form these, other highlights of the temple are the statues of Vijayanagara king, Krishnadevaraya and his spouse. There is also an idol of Todarmal, the minister of Akbar.

Tirupati TempleThe image of the temple deity represents both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu is considered as the preserver whereas the Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer in Hindu religion.


¤ A Day At Tirupati Tirumala

A day at Tirupati Tirumala temple begins with 'Suprabhatam' (awakening the Lord) as early as three in the morning. The day ends with the 'Ekanta Seva' ( putting the Lord to sleep) at around 1 O'clock in the night.

Prayers are offered daily, weekly and periodically in the form of 'Sevas' and 'Utsavams' to the Lord. Devotees who want to pay homage to the Lord can do it by giving a small amount in return of the Sevas or Utsavams done on their name. The gifts and donations offered to the deity, is known as the 'Hundi'. It is the main source of income of the Temple.


¤ Festivals

Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple celebrates many festivals but the annual festival of 'Brahmotsavam' is particularly important. This festival is celebrated extravagantly for nine days in the month of September every year. The Garudostavam and Rathotavam rituals take place on the fifth and sixth day of the festival. Thus, attracting flocks of tourists and devotees to the temple.


¤ Reach Tirupati Temple
By Air : The nearest airport is at Renigunta(15 kms). Tirupati is connected by air with Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. From the airport you can hire a taxi or an auto rickshaw or you can take a bus to reach the temple.

By Rail : Tirupati temple is well connected by roads and proper transport services to the nearest railway station situated at Tirupati. This place is connected by rail with Hubbi, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolhapur , Mumbai, Puri, Tiruchirapalli, Varanasi and Vijayawada.

By Road : To reach Tirupati temple, one should first reach Tirupati. It is linked with important cities like Hyderabad (617), Banglore(248), Chennai(151 km), Vijayawada(380 km) and Lepakshi (379 km) through good roadways.

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