Tirumala Balaji Temple is a world famous Pilgrim center and from Vedic temples of India, located on Saptagiri or Seven hills town Tirumala, near Tirupati in Chittoor district, Andhra Pradesh. Tirumala is the most important Tourist place in India, its distance around 600 km from Hyderabad, 138 km from Chennai. Tirumala Balaji temple is one of the most famous temples of India.
Tiru means ‘Holy’ or ‘Sacred’ and Mala means hills / mountain in the Tamil language. Thus literally as Holy Mountains.
In Sanskrit, Ven-kata-eswara means: ‘Ven’ = all one’s own Sins, ‘Kata’ = will be cut off one who surrenders to him, ‘Eswara’ = Supreme God
Means: Venkateswara, the Supreme God who cut offs all the Sins, one surrenders to him.
Lord Venkateswara made Tirumala his abode five thousand years ago. It is believed that Lord Varaha Swami made his abode prior to Lord Venkateswara. The east facing Sri Varahaswamy temple is situated in the Northwest corner of the Puskarini. According to tradition, pilgrims have to visit this Varaha Swamy temple prior to Venkateswara. Because Lord Srinivasa sought a gift of land measuring 100 square feet from Varaha Swami, which he readily arranged. In return, Srinivasa or Govinda assured him with deed of agreement that devotees should visit him first and take darshan, worship and pay offerings.
Now a day’s Tirumala and Lord Varahaswamy continue to receive this old age traditional worship. Lord Venkateswara become quite happy, when pilgrims first visits and have darshan of God Varahaswami . Till this day all offerings are first prepared to Lord Varahaswami and then to Lord Venkateswara. There we can see the one foot square copper plate near the divinity. And that is the written agreement deed offered by Lord Venkateswara to Sri Varaha Swami. It’s written in the Brahmi script.
The Tirumala Hill is 853m above the sea level and is spread in about 27 square km area. It comprises seven peaks, which represents the seven heads of Adisesha, thus acquiring the names Seshachalam.
- Vrushabhadri – Hill of Nandi, the Vahana of Lord Shiva
- Anjanadri — Hill of Lord Hanuman
- Neeladri – Hill of Neela Devi – It is supposed that hair offered by the devotees is Goes to Neela Devi. It is because of boon granted by Lord Venkateswara to Neela Devi.
- Garudadri or Garudachalam – Hill of Garuda, the vahana of Lord Vishnu
- Seshadri or Seshachalam – Hill of Sesha, the dasa of Lord Vishnu
- Naraynadri – Hill of Narayana. Srivari Padalu are located here
- Venkatadri – Hill of Lord Venkateswara
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”. These Seven hills, also called Saptagiri. They sometimes called the Sapathagiri. Hence the Lord is named Saptagirinivasa.
The temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious tradition. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns indisputably declare that, in this Kali Yuga, one can attain Moksha, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Lord Sri Venkateswara.
Lord Venkateswara is the presiding deity of the temple is, an incarnation of lord Vishnu. Venkateswara is also popular with other names as: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa. The temple is on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank.
This is the richest pilgrimage temple, after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, and the most-visited place of worship in the world. About 50000 to 100000 pilgrims visits this temple daily, while on special occasions, like the annual Brahmotsavam, this number goes up to 500,000, that makes Tirumala the most-visited holy place in the world.
There are several myths about the appearance of the Lord Venkateswara in Tirumala. One of the legends is the Murti (deity) of Lord Venkateswara, which is believed shall remain here in till the end of the Kali Yuga.
The Pallavas of Kanchipuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Tanjore (10th century), and Vijayanagara pradhans (14th and 15th centuries) were dedicated devotees of Lord Venkateswara.
Malik Kafur attacked on Srirangam in 1310–11 AD, that time the Ranga Mandapam of this temple served as the shelter for the presiding deity of Srirangam, Ranganatha Swamy.
In 1517 Vijayanagara ruler Shri Krishna Deva Raya, on one of his visit to the temple, donated gold and jewels, enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be covered thinly with gold leaf.
Idols of Sri Krishna Deva Raya and his other half kept in the temple premises. After the turn down of Vijayanagara Empire, Rulers of Mysore and Gadwal States worshiped as pilgrims and donated ornaments and valuables to the temple. Maratha general Raghoji Bhonsle (died 1755) visited the temple and set up a permanent administration to conduct the worship in the temple.We found here an idol of Raja TodarMal who was the revenue minister in Akbar Empire, welcoming pilgrims in the Temple premises
In 1843, the Madras Presidency took over Sri Venkateswara Temple administration and a number of shrines were entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta near about a century until the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) was established as per the TTD Act in 1932.
After independence Andhra state was created on linguistic basis, wherein Tirupati which had and still has a majority of Telugu speaking residents was assigned by Govt. of India, integrating it as part of Andhra.
Most of its income is arrives from the donations in Sri Vari Hundi wherein the Devotees donate their offerings to the TTD
Related Post: Tirumala Tirupati Venkteswara Darshan