|The ancient and sacred
temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala
(Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri
Swami Pushkarini.It is by the Lord's presidency over Venkatachala, that He
has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is
also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.
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.
The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the
Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is
described as the great bestowed of boons. There are several legends
associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.
There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the
temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. All the great dynasties of rulers 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
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the
most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The
printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda
Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana,
Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and
Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and
antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated
The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana,
pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular
According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the
western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of
Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.
Attractions at Tirupati Tirumala
- Padi Kavali Maha Dwara
The Padi Kavali Maha Dwara or Outer Gopuram stands on a
quadrangular base. Its architecture is that of the later Chola
period. The inscriptions on the gopuram belong to 13th century.
There are a number of stucco figures of Vaishnava gods like Hanuman,
Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha on the gopuram.
- Sampangi Pradakshinam
The path for circumnavigating the temple is called a pradakshinam.
The main temple has three prakarams. Between the outermost and
middle prakarams is the second pathway for circumambulation known as
the Sampangi Pradakshinam. Currently, this pathway is closed to
pilgrims. The Sampangi Pradakshinam contains several interesting
mandapams like the Pratima Mandapam, Ranga Mandapam, Tirumala Raya
Mandapam, Saluva Narasimha Mandapam, Aina Mahal and Dhvajasthambha
- Ranga Mandapam
Ranga Mandapam, also called the Ranganayakula Mandapam, is located
in the south-eastern corner of the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The shrine
within it is believed to be the place where the utsava murti of Lord
Ranganadha of Srirangam was kept during the 14th century, when
Srirangam was occupied by Muslim rulers. It is said to have been
constructed between 1320 and 1360 AD by the Yadava ruler Sri
Ranganadha Yadava Raya. It is constructed according to the
Vijayanagara style of architecture.
- Tirumala Raya Mandapam
Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, and facing the
Dhvajasthambha Mandapam is a spacious complex of pavilions known as
the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Anna Unjal Mandapam.
It consists of two different levels, the front at a lower level and
the rear at a higher. The southern or inner portion of this Mandapam
was constructed by Saluva Narasimha in 1473 AD to celebrate a
festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal. This
structure was extended to its present size by Araviti Bukkaraya
Ramaraja, Sriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja.
It is in this Mandapam, that the utsava murthi Malayappan, holds
His annual darbar or Asthanam during the hoisting of the
Garudadhwaja on Dhwajastambham to mark the commencement of
Brahmotsavam. Incidentally, the prasadam distributed on this
occasion is still called Tirumalarayan Pongal.
- Tirumala Raya Mandapam
The Mandapam has a typical complex of pillars in the Vijayanagara
style, with a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars, some of
which emit musical notes when struck with a stone. The main pillars
have rearing horses with warriors mounted on them. Some of the best
sculptures of the temple are found in bold relief in the Mandapam.
The bronze statues of Todermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and
wife Pitha Bibi, are kept in a corner of the Mandapam.
The Aina Mahal is on the northern side of the Tirumala Raya
Mandapam. It consists of two parts - an open mandapam in the front
consisting of six rows comprising six pillars each, and a shrine
behind it consisting of an Antarala and Garbhagriha. It has large
mirrors which reflect images in an infinite series. There is an
unjal in the middle of the room in which the Lord is seated and
Routines - Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple
The daily program starts with 'Suprabhatam' (awakening the Lord) at three
in the morning and end with the 'Ekanta Seva' (putting the Lord to sleep) at
one in the night. Daily, Weekly and Periodical 'Sevas' and 'Utsavams' are
performed to the Lord. Interested pilgrims can choose from the list and pay
to get the Sevas or Utsavams done on their name. Devotees offer their gifts
and donations in the "Hundi", which is the main source of income.
Festivals of Tirupati
Everyday is a day of festivity at Tirumala. The most famous is the annual
festival called 'Brahmotsavam', which is celebrated on grand scale for nine
days in September, attracting pilgrims and tourists from all parts of the
country. The fifth and ninth days of the festival are especially significant
in as much as Garudostavam and Rathotavam takes place on those days.