Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala
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|Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala|
|Proper name||Sri Venkateswara Swamy vaari aalayam|
|Telugu||తిరుమల శ్రీ వేంకటేశ్వర స్వామి వారి ఆలయం|
|Elevation||853 m (2,799 ft)|
|Important festivals||Brahmotsavam, Vaikunta Ekadasi, Ratha Saptami|
|Architectural styles||Dravidian architecture|
|Number of temples||1|
|Inscriptions||Dravidian languages and Sanskrit|
|History and governance|
|Date built||Earliest records date to 300 BC (probable)|
|Temple board||Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams|
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Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is a landmark Vaishnavite temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam. The temple is also known by other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple. Venkateswara is known by many other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
The Tirumala Hills are part of Seshachalam Hills range. The hills are 853 metres (2,799 ft) above sea level. The Hills comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The temple lies on the seventh peak -Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. Hence the temple is also referred to as "Temple of Seven Hills". Tirumala town covers about 10.33 sq mi (26.75 km2) in area.
The Temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture and is believed to be constructed over a period of time starting from 300 AD. The Garbagriha(Sanctum Sanctorum) is called AnandaNilayam. The preciding deity, Venkateswara, is in standing posture and faces east in Garbha griha. The temple follows Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship. The temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and is listed as 106th and the last earthly Divya Desam. The Temple premises had two modern Queue complex buildings to organize the pilgrim rush, Tarigonda Venkamamba Annaprasadam complex for free meals to Pilgrims, hair tonsure buildings and a number of pilgrim lodging sites.
It is the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually on average), while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world.
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has a murti (deity) of Lord Venkateswara, which it is believed shall remain here for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga.
- 1 Temple Legend
- 2 History of the temple
- 3 Temple Administration
- 4 Architecture
- 5 Deities in the temple
- 6 Worship
- 7 Temple Rituals
- 8 Festivals
- 9 Temple practices
- 10 Songs and hymns
- 11 The Seven Hills
- 12 Sub-Shrines
- 13 Notable Devotees
- 14 Religious importance
- 15 Nearby temples
- 16 See also
- 17 Notes
- 18 References
- 19 External links
During Dvapara Yuga, Adisesha resided on earth as Seshachalam Hills after losing a contest with Vayu. According to Puranas, Tirumala is regarded as Adivaraha Kshetra. After killing Hiranyaksha, Adivaraha resided on this hill. Sri Venkatachala Mahatyam is the widely accepted legend over Tirumala Temple.
During Kali Yuga, Narada advised Rishis who were performing Yajna to decide who could be given the fruits of yagna among Trimurtis. Bhrigu was sent to test Trimurtis. The sage who had an extra eye in the sole of his foot visited Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva and went un-noticed in both these locations. At last he visited Vishnu and the lord acts as if he had not noticed Bhrigu. Getting angered by this act, sage Bhrigu kicked Lord Vishnu in the chest, to which Vishnu did not react and instead apologized to the Sage by massaging his feet. During this act, he squashed the extra eye that was present in the sole of Bhrigu's foot. However Lakshmi finds it as an insult and had left Vaikuntam onto Earth to Kolhapur and started meditating.
Lord Vishnu bore human form as Srinivasa, left Vaikuntam, in search of Lakshmi, reached Tirumala Hills and started meditating. Lakshmi came to know about the condition of Srinivasa and prayed to Siva and Brahma. Siva and Brahma then converted themselves into Cow and Calf and Goddess Lakshmi had handed over the cow and calf to Chola king ruling over Tirumala Hills at that time. The Cow would provide milk to Srinivasa daily while it was taken for grazing. One day Cowherd saw this and tried to beat the Cow with staff but Lord Srinivasa had borne the injury. Getting angered by this Srinivasa had cursed the Chola king to become a Demon as dharma says Servants sin should be borne by Kings. The king prayed for mercy after which Srinivasa said to him, that the King should take next birth as Akasaraja and should perform marriage of his daughter Padmavati with Srinivasa.
Lord Srinivasa went to his mother Vakula Devi on Tirumala hills and stayed there for a while. After curse Chola king took rebirth as Akasaraja and he had a daughter named Padmavati who was born in the Padmapushkarini situated at present day Tiruchanur in Andhra Pradesh. Lord Srinivasa married Padmavati at present day Narayanavanam in Andhra Pradesh and will return to Tirumala Hills. After few months Goddess Lakshmi had come to know about the marriage of Srinivasa with Padamavati and went to Tirumala hills to question Srinivasa. It is said that the Lord srinivasa turns into Stone right when he was encountered by Lakshmi and Padmavathi. Lord Brahma and Shiva appear before the confused queens and explain the main purpose behind all this - The Lord's desire to be on the 7 hills for the emancipation of mankind from the perpetual troubles of Kali Yuga. Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavathi also turn into stone idols expressing their wish to be with their Lord always. Lakshmi stays with Him on His Chest on the left side while Padmavathi rests on His Chest's right side.
History of the temple
The Pallava dynasty of Kanchipuram (9th century), the Chola dynasty of Thanjavur (10th century), and Vijayanagara pradhans (14th and 15th centuries) were committed devotees of Lord Venkateswara. The temple gained most of its current wealth and size under the Vijayanagara Empire, with the donation of diamonds and gold. In 1517, Vijayanagara Emperor Krishnadevaraya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels, enabling the Ananda Nilayam (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire, leaders from states such as the Kingdom of Mysore and the Gadwal Samsthanam worshiped as pilgrims and gave ornaments and valuables to the temple. Maratha general Raghoji I Bhonsle (died 1755) visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple.
In 1843, with the coming of the Madras Presidency, the administration of the Sri Venkateswara Temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century until the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) was established as a result of the TTD Act in 1932.
After independence Andhra state was created on linguistic grounds, wherein Tirupati which had and still has a majority of Telugu speaking population was assigned by Government of India, integrating it as part of Andhra.
This Temple bears on its walls several inscriptions which are of historical, cultural and linguistic importance. The number of inscriptions on the Hill Temple and in the temples of Lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur exceed one thousand. There is evidence to suggest that many early inscriptions on the walls of the temples have disappeared beyond recovery. As many as 640 inscriptions are found engraved on the walls of the temple.They are published by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams along with the inscriptions found in other related temples in and around Tirupati. All the inscriptions are in Tamil, Telugu and Kannada.
Additionally, in the temple, there is a unique collection of about 3000 copper plates on which the Telugu Sankirtanas of Tallapaka Annamacharya and his descendants are inscribed. This collection forms a valuable source of material for a historical linguist in Telugu apart from its importance to musicologists.
Under the patronage of almost all important dynasties of South India, this sacred Temple of Tirumala enjoyed full benefits and glory. The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, Kadavarayas, Yadavarayas, Telugu Cholas, Telugu Pallavas, Vijayanagara kings (Sangama, Saluva and Tuluva lines) have left the marks of their patronage and endowments on the walls of the temples of Tirumala and Tirupati.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams(TTD) is the trust board which oversees and manages the operations of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. It is operated by a Board of Trustees that has increased in size from five (1951) to eighteen (2015) through the adoption of Acts. The daily operation and management of TTD is the responsibility of an executive officer who is appointed by the Government of Andhra Pradesh.
The temple attracts approximately 75,000 pilgrims every day. The annual budget, estimated at INR 2530.10 Crores for the financial year 2015-16, runs charitable trusts whose funds are derived from the budget and donations from the devotees. The popularity of the temple can be judged by its annual budget. The annual income is estimated at INR 10 billion in 2008. Most of its income is derived from the donations in SriVari Hundi. Devotees donate to the TTD, which runs into millions of rupees. TTD, the organisation running the welfare of the temple, runs various charitable trusts, whose funds are derived from the budget and donations from the devotees.
Dwarams and Prakarams
There are three Dwarams(entrances) which lead to Garbhagriha from outside. Mahadwaram also known as padikavali is the first entrance which is provided through Mahaprakaram(outer compound wall). A 50 feet, five storied Gopuram(Temple tower) is constructed over this Mahadwaram with seven Kalasams at its apex. Vendivakili(Silver Entrance) also known as Nadimipadikavali is the second entrance and is provided through SampangiPrakaram(Inner compound wall). A three storied Gopuram is constructed over Vendivakili with seven Kalasams at its apex. Bangaruvakili(Golden Entrance) is the third entrance which will lead into Garbhagriha. There are two tall copper images of the Dvarapalakas Jaya-Vijaya on either side of this door. The thick wooden door is covered with gold gilt plates depicting the Dasavathaaram of Vishnu.
Circumambulation around Sanctum sanctorum in the temple or deities is called Pradakshinam. There are two circumbulation paths in the temple. The first one is area between Mahaprakaram and sampangiprakaram. This path known as Sampangipradakshinam has many Mandapas, Dwajasthambam, Balipeetam, Kshetrapalika sila, prasadam distribution area etc. The Vimanapradakhinam is the second pradakshinam, which circumbulates Ananda Nilayam Vimanam. This path has sub-shrines dedicted to Varadaraja and Yoga Narasimha, Potu(main kitchen), Bangaru Bavi(golden well), Ankurarpana Mandapam, Yagasala, Nanala (coins and Notla (Paper notes) Parkamani, Almyrah of Sandal paste (Chandanapu ara), cell of records, Sannidhi Bhashyakarulu, Lords’s hundi and the seat of Vishvaksena.
Anandanilayam vimanam and Garbhagriha
Garbhagriha is the Sanctum sanctorum where the presiding deity Lord Venkateswara will be residing along with other small idols. Golden Entrnace leads to Garbhagriha. There are two more doors in between Bangaruvakili and Garbhagriha. The deity will be in a standing posture with four hands one in varada posture, one placed over thigh and other two holding Shanka and Sudarshana Chakra.The idol is decorated with precious ornaments. The idol bears Goddess Lakshmi on the right chest and Goddess Padmavathion the left. Pilgrims are not allowed to enter the Garbhagriha(beyond Kulasekharapadi (path))
Ananda Nilayam Vimanam is the main Gopuram constructed over 'Garbhagriha. This is a three storied gopuram and has single Kalasam at its apex. It was covered with gilt copper plates and covered with a golden vase. There are many idols of gods carved over this gopuram. On this gopuram, there is a idol of Venkateswara known as "Vimana Venkateswara" which is believed to be exact replica of deity inside Garbhagriha.
Deities in the temple
- Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram — The main stone deity of Lord Venkateswara is called Dhruva Beram (In Telugu, beram means "deity" or "idol," and dhruva means "pole star" or "fixed"). The deity is about 8 feet (2.4 m) from the toes to the top of the crown and is considered the main source of energy for the temple.
- Kautuka Beram or Bhoga Srinivasa — This is a small one-foot (0.3 m) silver deity which was given to the temple in 614 AD by Pallava Queen Samavai alias Kadavai Perundevi, wife of Pallava chief Sakti Vikatan. Although it is a movable idol, the Bhoga Srinivasa Beram has never been removed from the temple since the day it was installed. This beram was consecrated for the purpose of enabling devotees to perform many loving sevas or services to the lord which is not possible with the main idol. For this reason, it is popularly known as Bhoga Srinivasa, because it enjoys all the Bhoga (worldly pleasures) which the loving devotees want to offer the lord. This beram is often swayed on a silver swing or cradle, sleeps in a golden cot every night, and receives Sahasra Kalashabishekam every Wednesday among other things. This beram is always placed near the left foot of Moolavirat and is always connected to the main deity by a holy Sambandha Kroocha. This beram is always faced at an angle of 45 degrees towards the devotees, because it holds a Prayoga Chakra ("ready to strike" discus).
- Snapana Beram or Ugra Srinivasa — This idol of the Lord represents the fearsome aspect of Lord Venkateswara. This beram remains inside the sanctum sanctorum, and comes out on only one day each year: on Kaishika Dwadasi, before the sunrise. Snapana means "cleansing," and the idol received abhishekam daily with holy waters, milk, curds, ghee, sandalwood paste, turmeric, and so on. These daily rituals not only show the affection of devotees for the lord but also help to cool the fearsome aspect of the Lord. Originally, this beram used to be brought out in processions through the town frequently, but later it was replaced by the newly consecrated Utsava Beram, because of reasons described below.
- Utsava Beram or Malayappa swami — This is the image of the Lord which is brought out and taken in procession through the town for time to time. This beram is also called Malayappa, and is always flanked by the berams of Sridevi and Bhudevi, the two consorts of the lord. These three berams were found in a cave called "Malayappan Konai" in the holy Tirumala Hills. Originally Ugra Srinivasa beram was the Utsava Beram (the procession deity). However, it was noticed that many times when the deity was taken out for processions, disastrous fires were happening from fire-crackers, lamps, aarti flames and the torches used for lighting during procession. It was thought that because the beram used was of Ugra Srinivasa or Fearsome Srinivasa, therefore these things were happening. People prayed to the Lord for a solution. The Lord appeared in dreams, and directed the people to search in the Holy Tirumala hills for the proper Utsavar (Processional Lord). The devotee followed the directions, and the beram was found. The devotees called the idol they found Malayappa, which means "Lord of the Hills" because it was found in the hills, inside a cave. After these idols were brought to the temple and consecrated for use as utsava berams, (processional idols), there has never been a single bad incident like before, even though the number of programmes has increased to include Nitya Kalyanaotsavam, Sahasra Deepalankara Seva, Arjita Brahmotsavam, Nithyotsavam, Dolotsavam, and many others. Jewels worth crores of rupees have been donated as offerings to these idols.
- Bali Beram or Koluvu Srinivasa — This is a panchaloha idol, which means it is made from an alloy of five metals. This beram resembles the main deity very closely, and represents the presiding officer for all activities and rituals in the temple. The idol is also called Bali Beram. Koluvu Srinivasa is regarded as the guardian deity of the temple that presides over its financial and economic affairs. Daily offerings are made to the deity, with a presentation of accounts. Every year during July i.e. according to Hindu calendar "Dakshinaya Sankaramana" the temple celebrates Anivar Asthanam which is the end of the fiscal year.
The temple follows "Vaikhanasa Agama" tradition of worship, which is believed to be revealed by Sage Vikhanasa and is propagated by his disciples Atri, Bhrigu, Marichi, Kasyapa. Vaikhanasa is one of the principal traditions of Hinduism and primarily worships Vishnu (and his associated Avatars) as the Supreme God. This ancient texts recommends six times puja(worship) a day for Vishnu, of which minimum one puja is mandatory.
- Prathyusham puja — worship should start and finish before sunrise
- Prathakala puja — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
- Madhyahna puja — worship should start and finish at noon
- Aparahana puja — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
- SandhyaKala puja — worship should start and finish around the sunset
- Nisi puja — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark
At present only three pujas are performed in Tirumala Temple daily which includes UshaKala puja, Madhyahna puja, Nisi puja. All the Aradhana is done by hereditary Vaikhanasa priests, who have performed the services for generations. Only priests from Gollapalli, Peddintti, Paidipalli, and Tirupathammagari family have the right to offer services to the Lord inside sanctum sanctorum. To assist the Archakas in temple work and rituals, Vaikhanasas from other families and Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja, would take care of the temple work.
More than 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims will have Darshan of preciding deity, Lord Venkateswara, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavams, the number of pilgrims visiting the temple shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world. To manage the huge number of Devotees visiting the temple, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams had constructed two Vaikuntam Queue Complexes one in the year 1983 and the other in the year 2000. Vaikuntam Queue complexes will have rooms where Devotees can sit and wait until their turn for Darshan. According to tradition, it is important for a devotee to have darshan of Bhuvaraha swamy temple lying on the northern banks of Swami Pushkarini before having Darshan of Lord Venkateswara in main temple.
The daily sevas in Temple(in order of occurrence) include Suprabhata Seva, Thomala Seva, Archana, Kalyanotsavam, Dolotsavam (Unjal Seva), Arjita Brahmotsavam, Arjita Vasantotsavam, Sahasra Dipalankarana Seva, Ekanta Seva
Weekly sevas of the Temple include Vishesha Pooja on Monday, Ashtadala Pada Padmaradhana on Tuesday, Sahasra Kalasabhishekam on Wednesday, Tiruppavada Seva on Thursday, Abhishekam and Nijapada Darshanam on Friday. There are no weekly sevas on Saturday and Sunday.
Periodical rituals include Jyesthabhishekam, Aaniwara Asthanam, Pavithrotsavam, Koil Alwar Tirumanjanam.
|This section requires expansion. (September 2015)|
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple is a paradise of Festivals where over 433 festivals are being observed in 365 days of a year suiting the title "Nitya Kalyanam Paccha Toranam" where every day is a festival.
Sri Venkateswara Brahmotsavams, a nine-day event, which is celebrated every year during month of October, is the major event of Sri Venkateswara Temple. During brahmotsavams the processional deity Malayappa along with his concerts SriDevi and BhuDevi, is taken in a procession in four mada streets around the temple on different vahanams. Vahanams include Dwajarohanam, Pedda Sesha Vahanam, Chinna Sesha Vahanam, Hamsa Vahanam, Simha Vahanam, Muthaypu pandiri Vahanam, Kalpavriksha Vahanam, Sarava Bhoopala Vahanam, Mohini Avataram, Garuda Vahanam, Hanumantha Vahanam, Swarna Rathotsavam(Golden Chariot, Gajavahanam, Rathotsavam(Chariot), Ashwa Vahanam, Chakra Snanam. During Brahmotsavams, The temple will witness lakhs of devotees particularly on Garuda vahanam. Vaikunta Ekadasi, the day on which it is believed that Vaikunta Dwarams will be opened and the most important Vasihnavite festival, is celebrated with grandeur in Tirumala. The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple will be flooded with devotees on a single day with numbers reaching up to 1.5 lakhs, to have a darshan of Venkateswara through special entrance which encircles inner sanctum called "Vaikunta Dwaram". Rathasapthami is another festival, celebrated during February, when Lord Venkateswara's processional deity(Malayappa) is taken in a procession around the temple on seven different vahanams starting from early morning to late night. The other annual festivals include Rama Navami, Janmashtami , Ugadi, Teppotsavam(Float Festival), Sri Padmavati Parinayotsavams, Pushpa yagam, Pushpa pallaki, Vasanthotsavam (spring festival) conducted in March–April, were celebrated with great splendor.
The world famous "Tirupati Laddu" is given at Tirumala Temple as prasadam. Tirupati Laddu had got Geographical indication tag which entitles only Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to make or sell it. Many other prasadams are also available including daddojanam (curd rice), puliohora (tamarind rice), vada and chakkera-pongali (sweet pongal), miryala-pongali, Appam, Paayasam, Jilebi, Muruku, Dosa, seera (kesari), Malhora. Free meals are given daily to the pilgrims. On Thursdays, the Tirupavada seva is conducted, where food items are kept as naivedyam to Lord Venkateswara.
Many devotees have their head tonsured as "Mokku", an offering to God. The daily amount of hair collected is over a ton. The hair thus gathered is sold by the temple organisation a few times a year by public auction to international buyers for use as hair extensions and in cosmetics, bringing over $6 million to the temple's treasury. This is the second highest income generating activity in the temple next to the Hundi Collection.
When Lord Balaji was hit on his head by a shepherd, a small portion of his scalp became bald. This was noticed by Neela Devi, a Gandharva princess. She felt "such an attractive face should not have a flaw". Immediately, she cut a portion of her hair and, with her magical power, implanted it on his scalp. Lord Balaji noticed her sacrifice. As hair is a beautiful asset of the female form, he promised her that all his devotees who come to his abode would offer their hair to him, and she would be the recipient of all the hair received. Hence, it is believed that hair offered by the devotees is accepted by Neela Devi. The hill, Neeladri, one of the seven hills, is named after her.
Hundi (donation pot)
It is believed that Srinivasa had to make arrangements for his wedding. Lord Kubera credited money to Lord Venkateswara (a form of the god Vishnu) for his marriage with Padmavathi. Srinivasa sought a loan of one crore and 11.4 million (11,400,000) coins of gold from Kubera and had Viswakarma, the divine architect, create heavenly surroundings in the Seshadri hills. Together, Srinivasa and Padmavathi lived for all eternity while Goddess Lakshmi, understanding the commitments of Lord Vishnu, chose to live in his heart forever. In remembrance of this, devotees go to Tirupati to donate money in Venkateswara's hundi (donation pot) so that he can pay it back to Kubera. The hundi collections go as high as 22.5 million INR a day. Devotees offer gold as a token of their love for God. Temple sources said that in April 2010 the temple deposited 3,000 kg of gold with SBI as gold offerings in the temple hundi by devotees, which had accumulated for the last several years.
One of the most important offering in this temple, is the 'thulabharam.' In the Thulabaram ritual, a devotee sits on a pan of a weighing balance and the other pan is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee. Devotees usually offer sugar, jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana, gold, coins. This is mostly performed with newborn babies or children.
Songs and hymns
Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam is the first and pre-dawn seva performed to Lord Venkateswara at Sayana Mandapam inside sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala Temple. 'Suprabhatam' is a Sanskrit term which literally means ‘Good Morning’ and is meant to wake up the Lord from His celestial sleep. Sri Venkateswara Suprabhatam hymns were composed by Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya and consists of 70 slokas in four parts including Suprabhatam(29), Stotram(11), Prapatti(14) and Mangalasasanam(16). Suprabhata seva will be performed throughout the year except during Dhanurmasa during which Tiruppavai written by Andal is recited. The first sloka of Sri venkateswara Suprabhatam is as follows:
कौसल्यासुप्रजा राम पूर्वा संध्या प्रवर्तते ।
उत्तिष्ठ नरशार्दूल कर्त्तव्यं दैवमाह्निकम् ॥
kausalyāsuprajā rāma pūrvā sandhyā pravartate ।
uttiṣṭha naraśārdūla karttavyaṃ daivamāhnikam ॥
“ O Rāma, the noble son of Kausalyā! The Sandhyā of the East commences. O the lion amongst men! Arise, the daily tasks are to be performed. ॥ 1.23.2 ॥ ”
The outpouring divine grace of Sri Venkateswara inspired Tallapaka Annamacharya to sing His glories in Telugu and in Sanskrit. Keertanas like 'Brahma Kadigina Paadamu' and 'Adivo Alladivo Sriharivaasamu' are popular even today. His keerthana, Jo achyutanada is sung every night to the Lord by his descendants. Annamayya Keerthanas(Songs) were also sung by his descendants at the first corridor of the sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala Temple, at the same time of Suprabhatam. ‘Muthyala harathi ‘ composed by Tarikonda Venkamamba in Telugu is still sung by her descendants to Lord Venkateswara during Ekantha Seva. 'Daasana Maadiko Enna', 'Nambide Ninna Paadava Venkataramana' composed by Purandaradasa in Kannada and 'Tera Teeyagarada', 'Venkatesa! Ninnu Sevimpanu' composed by Tyagaraja in Telugu are worthy of mention. The temple had been praised in Divya Prabhandam, a collection of hymns in Tamil, in praise of Vishnu by 12 Alvars. Tiruppavai sung during Dhanurmasa is also a part of Divya Prabhandam. The songs like 'Srivenkatesam Manasa smarami', 'Sri Venkteswara Charitra Gaanamrutham' and 'Govinda Namalu'(108 names of Venkatesa) had gained more popularity which are in praise of Lord Venkateswara.
The Seven Hills
The seven hills, also called Saptagiri, represent the Saptarishi (seven sages). They sometimes called the Sapathagiri. Hence the Lord is named Saptagirinivasa. The following are the seven hills:
- Vrushabhadri – Hill of Nandi, the vahana of Lord Shiva
- Anjanadri — Hill of Lord Hanuman.
- Neeladri – Hill of Neela Devi – It is believed that hair offered by the devotees is accepted by 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
Varadaraja Temple is a subshrine in Tirumala Venkateswara Temple dedicated to Vararaja Swamy an incarnation of Vishnu. It is not known when this idol was installed. The shrine is located in Vimanapradakshinam, towards left of Vendivakili(silver entrance) while entering temple. The stone deity is sitting posture facing west.
Yoga Narasimha Temple
Yoga Narasimha Temple is a sub-shrine dedicated to Narasimha Swamy an lion headed fifth-incarnation of Vishnu. The shrine is said to have been built between 1330 A.D. – 1360 A.D and is located in Vimanapradakshinam, towards right of Vendivakili(silver entrance) while entering temple. The deity is in sitting-meditating posture facing west.
A small shrine dedicated to Garuda the vehicle of Lord Venkateswara is situated exactly opposite to the Bangaruvakili(Golden Entrance) of Jaya-Vijaya. This sub-shrine is part of Garudamandapam. The Garuthmantha deity is six feet tall and faces west looking towards Lord Venkateswara inside Garbhagriha.
Bhuvaraha Swamy Temple
Bhuvaraha Swamy Temple is the temple dedicated to Varaha an incarnation of Vishnu. This temple is believed to be older than Sri Venkateswara Temple. The temple lies on the Northern Banks of Swami Pushkarini. As per tradition, at first Naivedyam will be offered to Bhuvaraha Swamy before offering it to Lord Venkateswara in main Temple. And also as per tradition, devotees should have the darshan of Lord Bhuvaraha swamy before Lord Venkateswara.
Bedi-Anjaneya Temple is the sub-shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman. The temple lies exactly opposite to the Mahadwaram near Akhilandam(place where coconuts are offered). The deity in this temple has both of his hands handcuffed(Telugu Language:Bedilu).
Vakulamatha is the mother of Lord Venkateswara. There is statue dedicated to her in the main temple just ahead of Varadaraja shrine. The deity is in sitting posture. As per legend, she supervises the preparation of food that is to be offered to her son. For this reason a hole is made to the wall which separates Vakulamatha sannidhi and Srivari potu(Kitchen).
There is a sub-shrine dedicated to Lord Kubera within the Vimanapradakshina. The deity lies to the right side of Garbhagriha and faces south towards preciding deity.
The Shrine of Sri Ramanuja is located adjacent to the northern corridor of the Vimana Pradakshinam. It is also known as the Bhashyakara Sannidhi. The shrine was built around in the 13th century A.D.
Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya (or Annamayya) (9 May 1408 – 23 February 1503) was the official songmaster of the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, and a Telugu composer who composed around 36000 keertanas, many of which were in praise of Venkateswara, the presiding deity of the temple. The musical form of the keertanas that he composed have strongly influenced the structure of Carnatic Music compositions, which are still popular. He is widely regarded as the Pada-kavita Pitaamaha (grand old man of song-writing) of the Telugu language. His songs are classified into the Adhyaatma (spiritual) and Sringaara (romantic) sankeertanas genres. His songs in the "Sringaara" genre worship Lord Venkateswara by describing amorous and romantic adventures of Venkateswara and Alamel Manga, while "Adhyatma" describe the Bhakti of his devotees.
Purandara Dasa (born 1484) known as "Pitamaha" (father) of Carnatic Music has composed numerous songs on the lord. He is considered Naradaamsha(reincarnation of Narada). Most of his compositions are in Kannada but there are many in Sanskrit as well. Famous songs of Purandara dasa on Lord Venkateshwara include - Venkatachala Nilayam (Raga Sindhu Bhairavi), Venkatesha Daya Mado (Raga Ananda Bhairavi), Odi Barayya Vaikunta pati (Raga Bhairavi), Sharanu Venkata Ramana (Raga Bhairavi), Tirupati Venkata Ramana (Raga Saveri), Tirupathi Venkata Ramana (Raga Kharaharapriya) and many many more.
Tarikonda Venkamamba (born 1730) was a poetess and staunch devotee of Lord Venkateswara in the 18th century. She wrote numerous poems and songs in Telugu. Her works include Tarikonda Nrusimha Satakam, three Yakshaganams-Nrusimha Vilasa Katha, Siva Natakam and Balakrishna Natakam; and Rajayogamrutha Saram, a Dwipada Kavyam, Vishnu Parijatham, Chenchu Natakam, Rukmini Natakam and Jala Krida Vilasam and Mukthi Kanthi Vilasam (all Yakshaganams), Gopi Natakam (Golla Kalapam-Yakshaganam), Rama Parinayam, Sri Bhagavatham, Sri Krishna Manjari, Tatva Keerthanalu and Vashista Ramayanam (Dwipada), Sri Venkataachala Mahatyam (Padya Prabhandam) and Ashtanga Yoga,Saram (Padyakruthi).
Kakarla Tyagabrahmam (4 May 1767 – 6 January 1847), colloquially known as Tyagayya and Tyāgarājar, was one of the greatest composers of Carnatic music or classical South Indian music. Tyagaraja composed thousands of devotional compositions, most of them in praise of Lord Rama – most of which remain very popular even today. Of special mention are five of his compositions called the Pancharatna Krithis (English: 'five gems'). His compositions in praise of Lord Venkateswara include – 'Tera Teeyagarada', 'Venkatesa! Ninnu Sevimpanu' among others.
The temple is considered one of the eight Sywayambu Kshetras of Vishnu where presiding deity is believed to have manifested on its own. Seven other temples in the line are Srirangam Ranganathaswamy temple, Bhu Varaha Swamy temple, and Vanamamalai Perumal Temple in South India and Saligrama in Nepal, Naimisaranya, Pushkar and Badrinath Temple in North India.
The temple is revered in Nalayira Divya Prabandham, the 7th–9th century Vaishnava canon, by Azhwars. The Azhwars have sung praise on the different forms of Perumal. The temple is classified as a Divyadesam, one of the 108 Vishnu temples that are mentioned in these books. Many Acharyas have also written songs on the various forms of God in this Temple. 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 bestower of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala. The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect which advocates the principles of equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice.
There are many ancient temples nearby Tirumala. Sri Padamavathi Temple is temple dedicated to Padmavathi, the wife of Venkateswara, situated at Tiruchanur which is 5 km from Tirupati. Srikalahasteeswara Temple is the temple dedicated to Lord Shiva which represents "Vayu"(air) form of elements of Nature, is situated at Srikalahasti which is 38 km from Tirupati. Sri Varasiddhi Vinayaka Temple, situated at Kanipakam town, is a 10th-century Temple dedicated to Lord Vinayaka at 75 km from Tirupati. Other than these, temples like Govindaraja Temple, Kalyana Venkateswara Temple(Srinivasa Mangapuram), Kodandarama Temple, Kapila Theertham are situated within the Tirupati city.
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