A major pilgrimage and cultural city in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The word Tirupati is derived from both Tamil and Sanskrit. Monsoon remains moderate and summer experiences temperatures ranging from 35 to 40 degrees Celsius. In winter the minimum temperatures will be between 18 and 20 degrees Celsius. Telugu is the official language. Hinduism is the major religion and most of the temples in Tirupati are of Dravidian architecture. Panche (Dhoti) and Cheera (Saree) are traditional attire of people here.
Transport – Roadways
Sri Hari bus station is one of the largest in the state and has direct bus services to nearby towns and major cities across South India. There is a bus terminal at Alipiri for buses toTirumala. A number of buses are operated by government operator APSRTC The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam runs free buses from Railway station and Central bus stand to Alipiri for the benefit of pilgrims.
Tirupati is famous for Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, located about 20 kilometres (12 mi) north west of Tirupati in the Tirumala hills at an elevation of 853 metres (2,799 ft). One of the most important pilgrimage centers in the world, the temple draws millions of pilgrims and is the busiest pilgrimage center in the world.
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a famous Vedic temple in the hill town of Tirumala, near Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The Tirumala Hill is 853m above sea level and is about 10.33 square miles (27 km2) in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam.
The seven peaks are called
Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
The temple is on Venkatadri (also known as Venkatachala or Venkata Hill), the seventh peak, and is also known as the “Temple of Seven Hills”. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of lord Vishnu. Venkateswara is known by other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa, The temple lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank.
Steps way to Tirumala Hill
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has a murti(deity) of Lord Venkateswara, which it is believed shall remain here for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga. The outpouring divine grace of Sri Balaji inspired Tallapaka Annamacharya to sing His glories in Telugu and in Sanskrit. Of the 36000 songs composed by him, only 12000 are available. Keertanas like ‘Brahma Kadigina Paadamu’ and ‘Adivo Alladivo Sriharivaasamu’ are popular even today. Purandaradasa was another who composed thousands of songs regarding Lord Venkateswara. Only a few hundred of his songs are available. ‘Daasana Maadiko Enna’, ‘Nambide Ninna Paadava Venkataramana’ are worthy of mention.
Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya
Ramabhakta and Sri Tyagaraja (writer of over 4000 songs), were also among the devotees of Lord Venkateswara. ‘Tera Teeyagarada’, ‘Venkatesa! Ninnu Sevimpanu’ are among his well-known Keertanas on the Lord Venkateswara.
The vimanam is a monumental tower with a golden roof. Its inner temple or vimanam houses the main deity, Lord Sri Venkateswara.
The deity stands directly beneath a gilt dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana. This exquisitely wrought deity, called theMulaberam, is believed to be self-manifested, and no human being is known to have installed it in the shrine. The Lord wears a gold crown with a large emerald embedded in the front. On special occasions, he is adorned with a diamond crown. The Lord has a thick double tilaka drawn on his forehead, which screens his eyes. His ears are decorated with golden earrings. The right hand resting on his lap. His left hand is akimbo. His body is dressed with yellow clothing tied with gold string and a gold belt with gold bells. He has ayajnopavita (sacred thread) flowing down crosswise from his left shoulder.
He bears Lakshmi Devi on his right chest and Padmavathi Devi on his left chest. His feet are covered with gold frames and decked with gold anklets. A curved gold belt encompasses his legs. The Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana was covered with gilt copper plates and surmounted with a golden vase in the 13th century, during the reign of the Vijayanagara king Yadava Raya.
The 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.
Bangaru Vakili :
From the Tirumamani Mandapam, one can enter the Bangaru Vakili (Meaning Golden Entrance in Telugu) to reach the inner sanctum sanctorum. 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 Sri Maha Vishnu.
The doorway is directly in line with the Padi Kavali and the Vendi Vakili(Meaning Silver Corridor in Telugu). It admits pilgrims to the Snapana Mandapam. Suprabhatam is sung in front of this door.
Garbha Gruham :
The Garbhagruha or sanctum is where the idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara is placed. The idol stands majestically in the Garbha Gruha, directly beneath a gilt-dome called the “Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana”.
This idol, called the Mulaberam, is believed to be self-manifested. As there is no known sculptor possessing the capability to sculpt idols of god so proportionately. Further, no human being is known to have installed it in the shrine.
The idol of the Lord wears a gold crown (Kiritam), which has a large emerald embedded on its front. On special occasions, it is replaced with a diamond kiritam. On the forehead of the idol, two thick patchs of tilak drawn with refined camphor, almost covers the eyes of the idol. In between the two white patches is a Kasturitilakam made of saffron.
Golden makara kundalas hang to the ears of the idol. The palm of its raised right hand is embedded with a gem-set Sudershana Chakra, and the left palm with the Holy Cone. The slightly outstretched front right hand, has its fingers pointing toward the feet, as if Lord is the only recourse to his devotees to dissolve in him and enjoy eternal bliss. The akimbo of the front left hand implies lord’s protection to devotees, and to show that the Samsara Sagara (Ocean of Life) is never deeper than to hip’s height, if they seek his refuge.
The body of the Idol is spun with a Gold-stringed-Pitambaram, with a belt of golden-bells. The idol is decorated with precious ornaments. It has a sacred thread flowing down, cross from the left shoulder. It bears Goddess Lakshmi on the right chest and Sri Padmavathi Devi on the left. Nagaabharanam ornaments are on both of the idol’s shoulders.The lotus feet are covered with gold frames and decked with clinging gold anklets. A strong curved belt of gold encompasses the legs. During Abhishekam, we can have darshan of Goddess Lakshmi.
The Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana was covered with gilt copper plates and covered with a golden vase, in the thirteenth century, during the reign of the Vijayanagara king, Yadava Raya. Pilgrims are not allowed to enter the Garbha Gruha (beyond Kulasekhara padi (path)).
Ramanuja was the architect of Tirupati and the father of the Sri Vaishnava community . He was responsible for managing the worship procedures and other affairs of the Sri Venkateswara temple. Special worship is conducted in this shrine during Gandhapodi Utsavam and Bhashyakara Utsavam. The presiding deity of Ramanuja is taken in a grand procession to meet Malayappa near the Padi Kavali.
Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya (or Annamayya) (9 May 1408 – 23 February 1503) was the official songmaster of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, and a Telugu composer who composed around 36000 keertana songs, many of which were in praise of Venkateswara, the presiding deity of the temple.
Sri Annamacharya is remembered for his saintly life, and is honoured as a great Bhakta/devotee of Bhagwaan Govinda by devotees and saintly singers.
He is widely regarded as the Pada-kavita Pitaamaha (grand old man of song-writing) of the Telugu language. Annamacharya is said to have composed as many as 36,000 sankeertanas[ (songs) on Bhagwaan Govinda Venkateswara, of which only about 12,000 are available today.
Tarikonda Venkamamba (born 1730) was a poetess and staunch devotee of Lord Venkateswara in the 18th century. She wrote numerous poems and songs. Her first poem was Tarikonda Nrusimha Satakam; it was followed by three Yakshaganams, Nrusimha Vilasa Katha, Siva Natakam and Balakrishna Natakam; and Rajayogamrutha Saram, a Dwipada Kavyam. These works were completed when she was in Tarikonda.
Tyagaraja (4 May 1767 – 6 January 1847), colloquially known as Tyagayya and Tyagarajar, was one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music or classical South Indian music.
Tyagaraja composed thousands of devotional compositions, most of them in praise of Lord Rama – most of which remain very popular even today. Of special mention are five of his compositions called the Pancharatna Krithis (English: ‘five gems’), which are often sung in programs in his honour.
Deities in the temple :
Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram — The main stone deity of Lord Venkateswara is called Dhruva Beram (beram means “deity”, and dhruva means “pole star” or “fixed”). The deity is about 8 feet (2.4 m) from the toes to the top of the crown and is considered the main source of energy for the temple.
Kautuka Beram or Bhoga Srinivasa — This is a tiny one-foot (0.3 m) silver deity, which was given to the temple in 614 AD by Pallava Queen Samavai Perindevi, and has never been removed from the temple from the day it was installed. This deity is popularly known as Bhoga Srinivasa, because it enjoys all the Bhoga (worldly pleasures) which the Moolavirat has. This deity sleeps in a golden cot every night and receives Sahasra Kalashabishekam every Wednesday.
This deity is always placed near the left foot of Moolavirat and is always connected to the main deity by a holy Sambandha Kroocha. The deity is always faced at an angle of 45 degrees towards the devotees, because it holds a Prayoga (“ready to strike”) Chakra.
Snapana Beram or Ugra Srinivasa — This idol of the Lord represents the anger part of Lord Venkateswara. He remains inside the sanctum sanctorum, and comes out on only one day each year: on Kaishika Dwadasi, before the sunrise. Snapana means “cleansing”. The idol is cleansed daily with holy waters, milk, curds, ghee, sandalwood paste, turmeric, and so on.
Utsava Beram — This is the form of the Lord which comes out of the temple to see the devotees. This deity is also calledMalayappa, and its consorts are Sridevi and Bhudevi. These three deities were found in a cave called Malayappan Konai in the holy Tirumala Hills. Originally Ugra Srinivasa was the Utsava Beram (the procession deity), and frequently disastrous fires were happening whenever the deity was taken out for processions. People prayed to the Lord for a solution. The Lord appeared in dreams, and ordered the people to find a suitable set of idols hidden in the Holy Tirumala hills for the Utsavar (procession). The hunt began, and the villagers called the idol they found Malayappa, which means “King of the Hills”. After these idols were brought to the temple, the number of programmes increased to include …
Sahasra Deepalankara Seva
Nityaotsvam, Dolotsavam, and others.Jewels worth millions of rupees have been donated as offerings to these idols.
Bali Beram or Koluvu Srinivasa — This panchaloha idol resembles the main deity, and represents the presiding officer for all activities and rituals in the temple. The idol is also called Bali Beram.
Koluvu Srinivasa is regarded as the guardian deity of the temple that presides over its financial and economic affairs. Daily offerings are made to the deity, with a presentation of accounts. Every year during July i.e. according to Hindu calendar “Dakshinaya Sankaramana” the temple celebrates “Anivar Asthanam” which is the end of the fiscal year.
For worshippers, the deity Venkateswara symbolises goodness. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant the mantraEzhumalayanukku Govinda Govinda or Venkataramana Govinda (in Tamil),Yedukondalavada Venkataramana Govinda Govinda (in Telugu) or Om Namo Narayanaaya or Om Sri Venkatesaya Namah (in Sanskrit). Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.
Several composers composed beautiful kirtanas about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya, who composed mostly in Telugu. Annamacharya (1408–1503) was a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity.
Lord Vishnu is worshiped in the Temple as per Vaikhanasa traditions. The ancient texts of the sage Marichi (the Bhagvad Shastram and Vimanarchana Kalpam) state that Lord Vishnu here should be worshipped six times a day.
UshaKala Aradhana — worship (or Aradhana) should start and finish before sunrise
Prathakala Aradhana — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
Madhyanika Aradhana — worship should start and finish at noon
Aparahana Aradhana — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
SandhyaKala Aradhana — worship should start and finish around the sunset
Ardharatri Aradhana — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark
All the Aradhana is done by hereditary Vaikhanasa priests, who have performed the services for generations. Only these priests have the right to touch and offer services to the Lord. These set of
Archakas are called Mirasidars (owners and shareholders of the temple). The four families of the Tirumala Temple which are in this Mirasi are the Gollapalli, Peddintti, Paidipalli, and Tirupathammagari family.
To assist the Archakas in temple work and rituals,other Vaikhanasa who don’t belongs to this family & Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja, would take care of the temple work. Currently Thridanda Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy heads the Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja.
Epigraphical lore of Tirupati :
This Temple bears on its walls several inscriptions which are of historical, cultural and linguistic importance.
The number of inscriptions on the Hill Temple and in the temples of Lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur exceed one thousand and they furnish a continuous and authentic record of the transactions of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for over seven or eight centuries.
The world famous Tirupati Laddu is given at Tirumala Temple as prasadam.
Recently, the Trust has taken Geographical Indication of Laddu prasadam, hence, no one can prepare the same Laddu. Many other prasadams are also available including daddojanam (curd rice), pulioharey (tamarind rice), vada and chakkera-pongali (sweet pongal), miryala-pongali, Appam, Paayasam, Jilebi, Muruku, Dosa, seera (kesari). Free meals are given daily to the pilgrims. On Thursdays, the Tirupavadai seva is conducted, where food items are kept as naivedyam to Lord Srinivasa.
Hair tonsuring :
Many devotees have their head tonsured as “Mokku”, an offering to God. The daily amount of hair collected is over a ton. When Lord Balaji was hit on his head by a shepherd, a small portion of his scalp became bald. This was noticed by Neela Devi, aGandharva princess. She felt “such an attractive face should not have a flaw”. Immediately, she cut a portion of her hair and, with her magical power, implanted it on his scalp.
Lord Balaji noticed her sacrifice. As hair is a beautiful asset of the female form, he promised her that all his devotees who come to his abode would offer their hair to him, and she would be the recipient of all the hair received. Hence, it is believed that hair offered by the devotees is accepted by Neela Devi. The hill, Neeladri, one of the seven hills, is named after her.
Hundi (donation pot) :
It is believed that Srinivasa had to make arrangements for his wedding. Lord Kubera credited money to the god Venkateswara (a form of the god Vishnu) for his marriage with Padmavati. Srinivasa sought a loan of one crore and 11.4 million (11,400,000) coins of gold from Kubera and had Viswakarma, the divine architect, create heavenly surroundings in the Seshadri hills. Together, Srinivasa and Padmavathy lived for all eternity while Goddess Lakshmi, understanding the commitments of Lord Vishnu, chose to live in his heart forever.[In remembrance of this, devotees go to Tirupati to donate money in Venkateswara’s hundi (donation pot) so that he can pay it back to Kubera.
One of the most important offering in this temple, is the ‘thulabharam.’ In the Thulabaram ritual, a devotee sits on a pan of a weighing balance and the other pan is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee.
Devotees usually offer sugar, jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana, gold, coins. This is mostly performed with newborn babies or children.
Now-a-days so many changes have been made by TTD for devotees convenience. Devotees can go for Advance tickets forSpecial entry Darshan or Seva or for Accomodation or for seva services or for Sudarsanam E-services.
Arjitha seva (paid services) :
Pilgrims can view and participate (in a limited fashion) in the various sevas performed to Dhruva bera (main idol), Bhoga Srinivasa, Sri Malayappa swami and other idols in the temple.
When pilgrims purchase arjitha seva tickets, they get the opportunity to see a seva performed to the Lord, obtain prasadam in the form of vastram (clothes), akshantalu (sacred and blessed rice) and food articles (laddus, vadas, dosas, pongal, rice items) and a darshan of the utsava murti.
Voluntary service to Lord of Venkatachalapati 1000’s of devotees will come to Tirumala to perform different sevas.for this Seva Devotees have to approach PRO of DEvasthanam.
Free food to all :
Sri Venkateswara Annaprasadam is unique among all donation trusts that are run by TTD annam para Bramha Swaroopam. Started in 1984 providing full meals as Anna prasadam with free of costs to all Devotees of Tirumala and Tiruchanoor
It is located at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats, 65 kilometres (40 mi) from Chittoor, 150 kilometres (93 mi) from Chennai, 250 kilometres (160 mi) from Bangalore and 550 kilometres (340 mi) from Hyderabad. It is one of the richest pilgrimage cities of any religious faith in the world.
Tirupati Airport is located 15 km from the city center and has flights to Hyderabad, Visakhapatnam, New Delhi. Additionally the airport offers flights to Coimbatore, Kolkata, Mumbai. The closest international airport is located in Chennai, (Chennai International Airport) which is 130 km (81 mi) from Tirupati.
Sarvey jana sukhinobhavantu… Om namo venkatesaya.