Situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India “Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple” one of the richest temples in the world in terms of donations received and wealth is a landmark vaishnavite temple and is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Venkateswara appeared on this place to protect mankind from trails and troubles of Kali Yuga (is the last of the four stages the world goes through as part of the cycle of yugas described in the Sanskrit scriptures). After than, the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam. It is believed that the temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture and it took a long time to built starting from 300 AD. Today also temple follows tradition of worship called “Vaikhanasa Agama”. 433 festivals are being celebrated every year and Facts and data reveal that around 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily visits the temples (30 to 40 million annually). The temple is the most-visited holy place in the world.
Other names of Temple:
Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple.
Other names of Venkateswara:
Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
The temple is situated on the 7th peak called Venkatadri, of the Seshachalam hills, which includes seven peaks (Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri). “Temple of Seven Hills”, the name referred to the temple lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.
Funds of Charitable trusts acquire from annual budget & donations from devotees, where donations bring most of the income to the temple especially in SriVari Hundi. Donations which runs into millions of rupees given by devotees goes to Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) Trust, which is controlled and managed by Board of Trustees and it is the responsibility of an executive officer to check the daily operations and management of TTD, who is appointed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
We can see several inscription in the temple which has historical, cultural and linguistic importance. More than one thousand inscriptions on the hill Temple, lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur can be found and these inscriptions furnish a continuous and authentic record of the transaction of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for over seven and eight centuries. Many early inscriptions on the walls had been disappeared beyond recovery due to restorations and renovations undertaken from time to time.
Around 1060 inscriptions can be found on the walls of the temple, which are maintaine and safe under the management of the Devasthanam.
- Sri Venkateswara’s Temple, Tirumala: # of inscriptions: 640.
- Sri Govindaraja’s Temple, Tirupati: # of inscriptions: 340.
- Other Temples: # of inscriptions: 80.
Unique collections of about 3000 copper plates can be found in the temple.
Religious Song of Praise to God:
The Venkateshwara Suprabhatam was composed by Prativadibhayankara Śrī Anantācārya in 1430 AD. Venkateshwara Suprabhatam includes fours parts: Suprabhatam, Sri Venkatesa Stothram, Prapatti, and Mangalasasanam. It is the first and pre-down seva performed to Lord Venkateswara inside the temple. The word Suprabhatam in “Venkateshwara Suprabhatam” means “Good Morning” and it is done to wake up the lord from his celestial sleep.
Dwarams (Entrances of the temple):
- Garbhagriha :- Entrance from outside. Mahadwaram is also the first entrance to the temple.
- Vendivakili :- Silver Entrance and second entrance of temple also known as Nadimipadikavali.
- Bangaruvakili :- Golden Entrance and third entrance of temple. Two copper images of Dvarapalaksd Jaya-Vijaya on either side of this door can be seen. The door is covered with god glit plates depicting the Dasavathaaram of Vishnu.
Temple Tower:- which is 50 feet and constructed over Mahadwaram with seven Kalasams (at the top of temple towers in form of inverted pot, symbol of temples) at its apex.
Deities in the temple
- Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram :- Dhruva Beram is the Stone deity of Lord Venkateswara. Hight of this deity is 8 feet and is considered as the source of energy for the temple.
- Kautuka Beram or Bhoga Srinivasa :- Known as silver deity. Hight of this deity is one foot. The deity is given by Pallava Queen Samavai Perindevi to the temple in 614 AD. From the day deity has installed has never been removed from the temple.
- Snapana Beram or Ugra Srinivasa :- This idol represents the anger of Lord Venkateswara. The idol comes out on Kaishika Dwadasi and remains inside rest of the year. The idol is cleaned daily with holy waters, milk, curds, ghee, sandalwood paste, turmeric, and so on.
- Utsava Beram :- Utsava Beram deity is the form of Lord Venkateswara. This deity is called as Malayappa and its consorts are known as Sridevi and Bhudevi, which are situated in a cave called malayappan Konai in the holy Tirumala Hills.
- Bali Beram or Koluvu Srinivas :- The deity resembles the main deity of the temple. The presiding officer represents and responsible for the activities and rituals in the temple. The temples brings donations from devotees daily which makes a good annual budget for the temple.
- Prasadam :- “Tirupati Laddu” which is world famous, given at the temple as Prasadam.
- Hair Tonsuring :- An offering has been made at the temple by devotees making their head tonsured called “Mokku”.
- Hundi (Donation pot) :- The hundi collections go as high as 22.5 million INR a day.
- Thulabharam – According to rituals, a devotees sits on a pan of weighing balance and the other pan is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee. Weight on the other pan includes, sugar, jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana, gold, coins, etc.
- Arjitha seva (paid services) :- This is a paid service avail by the pilgrims where they can participate and view in various sevas performed at the temple.
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- Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swami Temple
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