Tirupati Tirumala Balaji
: Tirupati, 67-kms From Chittoor, Andhra Pradesh
: Lord Venkateswara Or Venkateshwara Or Venkatramana
: World's Richest Temple
: Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam
Tirupati town is 67-km from Chittoor in Chittoor district, the southern portion of Andhra Pradesh. The most important place of interest at the place is the historic shrine of Sri Venkateswara, the Lord of Seven Hills, who is famous all over the country.
The shrine is situated on a hill at Tirumala, a cluster of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam with an elevation of 853m (2,800ft.) over the sea level. Said to be the richest temple in the world, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history across several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country who stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds.
A Fine Example Of Dravidian Temple Architecture Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple at Tirumala is believed to have existed from earliest times. The dynasties like the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, the Cholas of Tanjore, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Kings and chiefs of Vijayanagara, vied with one another in endowing the Shrine and contribution worship of the presiding deity. The Tirupati temple with its 'gopuram' or tower is a fine example of Dravidian architecture.
The elaborate rituals and mode of worship in the temple were prescribed by the saint Ramanujacharya and are being followed even today. Anointing the idol with camphor, and the offering by pilgrims of the hair on their heads by getting themselves shaved by licensed barbers are the important customs in vogue at Tirupati Temple.
The 'Vimana' or Cupola over the sanctum sanctorum is covered entirely with gold plate and is known as "the Ananda Nilayam". The Shrine consists of three 'Prakarams' or enclosures. The outermost enclosure contains the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post and, among others, the statues of Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya and his consorts, and of Todarmal, the minister of Akbar. The idol of the deity, the full figure of Lord Venkateswara or 'Venkataramana' or 'Srinivasa' or 'Balaji' (as is called in various parts of the country) has the attributes of both Vishnu and Shiva, preserving and destroying aspects of the Hindu Trinity.
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.
The Daily Routines
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.
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.