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About Tirumala
History
Local Info and Accommodation
 
ABOUT TIRUMALA

The sacred and one of the ancient temples of Sri Venkateshwara is nestled in the verdant Eastern Ghats - a mountain range that runs along south-eastern India. These hills are called as Tirumala Hills and are 3200 feet above the sea level. It comprises seven peaks, namely, Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri, representing seven hoods of Adisesha, thus the name Sheshachalam. The lord here is called with many names like Edukondalavada, Sri Balaji, Srinivasa, Venkataramana Govinda, Voddikasulavada and many more. The main temple (Abode of Lord Venkateshwara) stands on the seventh peak, Venkatadri and lie on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. It is by the Lord’s presidency over Venkatadri, that He is called as Venkateshwara. According to Shastras and Puranas, it is said that one can attain mukkti (Salvation) after worshipping Edukondalavada, meaning, the Lord of Seven Hills, in Telugu.

The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient cult where people worship Lord Vishnu. The sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala.

A legend goes that Kubera, the God of Wealth, lent Sri Balaji some money for His marriage with Goddess Padmavathi. It is said that till date, Lord Venkateshwara could not repay the loan. Each year there is a ceremony, in which the descendants of Kubera seek to collect the loan. The Deity is put behind gold bars. On that day the offerings to the Deity are huge, as people rush to bail out Lord Balaji.

The main shrine includes the sanctum and the three successive halls in front of it up to the Bangaru Vakili. It consists Snapana Mandapam, a square hall, Ramar Meda, a rectangular hall, Sayana Mandapam, also rectangular in shape, where the Ekanta Seva is performed and the Sanctum or Garba Griha, in which the idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara stands. In between the sanctum and the Sayana Mandapam, is the celebrated threshold, called the Kulasekhara-padi.

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HISTORY

There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties 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.

After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. The Maratha general, Raghoji Bhonsle, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.

After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the British took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control.

In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. The administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were then entrusted to Sri Seva Doss ji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, till 1933 AD.

In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras.

In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Officer was appointed by the Government. The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966.

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LOCAL INFO AND ACCOMADATION

There are many types of sevas and darshanam’s which can be made in the temple. The darshana begins at 3am in the morning and ends at 12pm in midnight. It takes around 3-4 hours of waiting in the queue for either darshan or paid darshan. Every devotee is issued a computerized token, at Venkateshwara Bus stand, Padmavathi Bus stand or at the entrance of Tirumala, with approximate time to enter the queue complex. This system facilitates to know one’s turn for darshan. For everything, the bookings has to be made well in advance. Offering of hair is another important vow many devotees undertake.

Another unique custom of Tirumala is the Tonsure ceremony. Pilgrims to Tirumala usually offer the hair on their head to the Lord as a devotional offering. Persons in need of the assistance of the Lord, usually take a vow and when they visit the temple,offer their hair at the Kalyaanakatta, special hall erected for this purpose. A bath in the Pushkarini follows the Tonsure ceremony; The pilgrims then enter the temple and worship the Lord.

TTD operates, 'Aalaya Darshan' bus from Govindaraja Choultry every day. This bus trip covers 1) Sri Govindarajaswamy Temple 2) Sri Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple 3) Kapila Teertham 4) Srinivasa Mangapuram Temple 5) Sri Padmavathi Temple at Tiruchanoor and 6) The Regional Science Centre (Monday Holiday) in three hours. Fare just Rs. 20/-. Three trips a day at 6 a.m., 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.

There are good options for a visitor to stay down the hill in Tirupati. There are good number of hotels, budget lodges as well as luxurious hotels. Up the hill, that is, in Tirumala, there are accommodation facilities provided by the Devasthanam. There are some Mutts where you can put up but a prior booking is required. During peak seasons it is difficult to find accommodation and the rooms should be booked well in advance.

There are some hotels and their address where you can stay during your visit.

Hotel Bhima’s Paradise
Location: Renigunta Road
Tel: 0877-2237271-74
Tariff: 550 - 1500 Rooms: 80.

Suresh Residency
Location: Opp Srinivasam Complex Tel: 0877-2222999, 2255444
Tariff: 350 - 750 Rooms: 30.
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