From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

God of the Seven Hills[1]
Venkateshwara at the ISKCON Bangalore
Other namesVenkatesha, Venkata Ramana, Venkatachalapati, Srinivasa, Govinda, Yedukondalavadu, Balaji, Tirupati Timmappa, Perumal
AffiliationSri Vaishnavism
AbodeVaikuntha, Tirumala
MantraOm Namo Narayanaya
Om Namo Venkateshaya
WeaponShankha, Chakram
TextsDivya Prabandham[2]
RegionAndhra Pradesh, India
Personal information
SpousePadmavathi, Sridevi, Bhudevi

Venkateshwara[a] (IAST: Venkaṭeśvara), Venkatachalapathi, Balaji, or Srinivasa, is a form of the Hindu deity Vishnu and is the presiding deity of the Venkateshwara Temple, located in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India. Venkateshwara is also known by various other names.[3] The deity is worshiped by North Indians by the name 'Balaji'.

Etymology and other names[edit]

Venkateshwara literally means, "Lord of Venkata".[4][5] The word is a combination of the words Venkata (the name of a hill in Andhra Pradesh) and iśvara ("Lord").[6] According to the Brahmanda and Bhavishyottara Puranas, the word "Venkata" means "destroyer of sins", deriving from the Sanskrit words vem (sins) and kata (power of immunity).[7]

Venkateshwara is known by many names such as, Srinivasa (in whom Lakshmi dwells), Narayana (The Primordial One), Perumal (the great lord), Malayappa (the lord of the Hill) and Govinda (Protector of Cows).[citation needed] In Tamil, he is commonly called as " 'Elumalayan' " : Lord of Seven Hills. likewise, In Telugu also, he is commonly known as "'ఏడు కొండలవాడా”, romanized as Ēḍu Koṇḍala Vāḍā: the Lord of the Seven Hills.[8] Also, In Tamil, the hill name was 'Venkatam, Vēṅkaṭam', which is anonther form of 'Vaikuntam', and it clears that Lord Venkateswara means Lord Vaikunteswara or God of Vaikunta.[9] Vaikunta means residence of Lord Vishnu.


Every year, hundreds of thousands of devotees donate a large amount of wealth at the Venkateshwara Temple at Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh.[10] A legend provides the reason for the same.

Once, the sages wanted to decide the deity to dedicate a ritual. The sages appointed the sage Bhrigu to select the god. Bhrigu decided to test the gods. He first went to the god-king of heaven, Indra, who ignored the sage, and was busy in enjoying the dance of apsaras. Bhrigu cursed Indra that he would only be referred to as an egoistic soul, all over the universe. He next visited Brahma. Brahma was busy with his four heads in chanting the Vedas, performing meditation, creating the world, and spending his time with his wife, Saraswati. Next, he visited Shiva. Shiva was engaged in meditation with his wife, Parvati. Bhrigu cursed Shiva that he would be worshipped only in the formless lingam. At last, Bhrigu went to Vishnu. Vishnu was sleeping on the serpent Shesha, and his consort Lakshmi was at his feet. When Bhrigu arrived, he first saw Vishnu's feet, and felt humiliated. Enraged, he kicked Vishnu on his chest. Awakened, Vishnu started massaging Bhrigu's feet, and served him with great hospitality. Bhrigu was pleased, and ordered the sages to perform the rites to Vishnu. Lakshmi quarreled with Vishnu, as she felt that Bhrigu insulted her indirectly by hitting Vishnu on his chest where she lived, and thus left Vaikuntha.[citation needed]

Lakshmi settled on earth in the ancient city of Karavira, and meditated the name of Vishnu (regarded by adherents to be the site of the Mahalakshmi temple). Vishnu soon arrived on earth, searching for his consort. He failed to find her, and instead settled on the Seshachalam hills, the abode of the god Varaha. Vishnu sat inside an anthill, which was situated under a tamarind tree, and started chanting the name of his wife, Mahalakshmi.[11]

The whole earth became gloomy. On the request of Parvati and Saraswati, Shiva and Brahma incarnated as a cow and a calf respectively, in the Chola kingdom. While taken on daily grazing in the Seshachalam hills by their owner cowherd, the cow would pour her milk into the anthill to sate the thirst of Vishnu. Once, the cowherd saw this act, and he threw an axe (parashu) on the cow and calf. Vishnu noticed, and in order to protect them, he arose from the anthill and the axe hit his own forehead (the blood poured as his namam on his head). An enraged Vishnu cursed the cowherd that he would die immediately, and the latter succumbed to the blow of his own axe. This news reached the Chola king. The ruler suspected the absence of the cowherd. He went near the grazing field, and was surprised to see the corpse of the cowherd. He went to the grazing field, where the cows were offering their milk to Vishnu. However, Vishnu was in disguise, and so the king could not identify him. The king strung his arrow, believing that the milk should serve the kingdom rather than the boy he saw. Vishnu, once again, emerged, and grew enormous, stopped the arrows from passing further and he cursed the king for not maintaining the dharma of his kingdom. The king repented and surrendered at the deity's feet. Unlike the cowhered, the king had realised his mistake, which pleased Vishnu, and hence presented him with the boon that he would marry the king's daughter in his next birth.[citation needed]

In his next birth, Vishnu incarnated as Srinivasa, to a woman named Vakula Devi. It is said that in the Dvapara Yuga, Krishna presented Yashoda with a boon that he would be born to the former in the Kali Yuga. Vakuladevi is regarded as the reincarnation of Yashoda. Meanwhile, the goddess Lakshmi was born at the palace of Akasha Raja, the rebirth of the Chola king. Srinivasa was a forest-dweller. One day, he met a beautiful girl named Padmavati, the princess of the Chola dynasty. Padmavati fell in love with Srinivasa, and decided to marry him, according to the boon granted by the deity to her father. For the wedding expenses, Srinivasa borrowed riches from Kubera, and promised to repay the loan with interest at the end of the Kali Yuga.[citation needed]


Skanda Purana[edit]

The Skanda Purana extols the significance of worshipping this deity:[12]

If people wish for perpetual happiness and kingdom in heaven, let them joyously bow down at least once to the Lord residing on Veṅkaṭādri.

Whatever may be the sins committed in the course of crores of births, all of them perish by visiting Veṅkaṭeśvara.

If anyone remembers Veṅkaṭeśa, the great Lord, on account of his association with other people, or out of curiosity, or due to covetousness or on account of fear, he shall not be miserable here or hereafter.

One who glorifies and worships the Lord of Devas on Veṅkaṭācala shall certainly attain Sārūpya with Viṣṇu. There is no doubt about it.

Just as a well-kindled fire reduces firewood to ash in a moment, so also a visit to Veṅkaṭeśa destroys all sins.

— Skanda Purana, Chapter 18


Venkateshwara, an aspect of Vishnu, is the presiding deity of the Tirupati temple. It is believed that the deity is Swayambhu (self manifested). Ten Puranas out of fifteen puranas said deity is Lord Vishnu. Even deity appears similar to 108 Divya desham - Vaishnava temple Vishnu deities. The deity possesses the power of the Trimurti: Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva, and some sects believe that Venkateshwara holds the power of Shakti and Skanda as well. In some ancient time local people in Tirumala worshipped deity as Shakthi. It was supported by lion images on the temple. Also, some people say that, Brahmotsvas during Devi Navratrhi or Dasherah is because once lord was woshipped as Goddess Maa Bala Tripurasundari or Shakti. Some people say that was the reason to call as 'Bala'ji. Regarding 'Skanda' or 'Kumara Swamy', Lord Venkateswara deity appears similar to other 'Skanda' deity in Murugan temples in Tamilnadu. In conclusion, Sage Annamacharya praised Venkateshwara as the 'Supreme Lord' who appears as Dattatreya for yogis, Shiva for Shaivas, Shakthi for Shakteyas and appears as whichever form the devotee desires.[citation needed] So, it was Lord Venkateswara in many forms and names. Deity consists multiple ornaments such as Naga ornament same as Lord Shiva's ornament along with Lord Vishnu's ornament. It proves Lord Venkateswara displays the Viswarupa which consists all God forms as said by the Lord himself in Bhagavadgeetha.

In the 12th century, Ramanuja visited Tirupati to settle a dispute that had arisen between the Saivites and Vaishnavites regarding the nature of the deity set up in the Tirumala temple.[13] Until that, Deity was worshipped as Shiva for six months and Vishnu as another six months in a year. Ramanuja streamlined the rituals at Tirumala temple according to Vaikanasa Agama tradition, and introduced the recitation of the Naalayira Divya Prabandham. He also set up the Tirupati Jeeyar Matha in 1119 AD, in consultation with Tirumalai Ananthalwan to institutionalise service to the deity and supervise the temple rituals. The Jeeyars, to this day, ensures that the rituals ordained by Ramanuja are observed.[14][15][16] The deity is believed to be as old as the "Shila thoranam" in Tirumala. Tirumala has tremendous fame from the ancient period. The deity is referred to as 'Balaji' by north Indians. The scriptures state that Venkateshwara is the saviour of all suffering people in the Kali Yuga. Emperors like Krishnadevaraya and many devotees have paid homage to Venkateshwara.[citation needed]

A replica of the Garbhagriha of the Sri Venkateshwara Temple in Tirumala depicting Left - Sridevi and Bhudevi and Malayappa Swami, Center - Venkateshwara Main Deity (Dhruva beram), Center bottom - Bhoga Srinivasa, Right- Ugra Srinivasa, Koluvu Srinivasa, Sri Rama ,Sita and Lakshmana and Sri Krishna, Rukmini

Five Deities[edit]

According to the Vaikhanasa Agamas, Venkateshwara is represented by five deities (berams) including the Moolavirat, which are together referred to as the Pancha beramulu in Telugu (pancha means five; beram means deity).[17] The five deities are Dhruva Beram (Moolavar), Kautuka Beram, Snapana Beram, Utsava Beram, and Bali Beram. All the pancha berams are placed in the Garbha griha under Ananda Nilayam.[17]

  1. Moolavirat (Chief deity) or Dhruva Beram: In the centre of the Garbha griha, under the Ananda Nilayam Vimana, the Moolavirat of Venkateshwara is seen in a standing posture on lotus base, with four arms, two holding shanka and chakra, one in the Varada posture, and the other in the Kati posture. This deity is considered the main source of energy for the temple, and is adorned with the Vaishnavite nama and jewels, including vajra kiritam (diamond crown), Makarakundalas, Nagabharana, Makara Kanti, Saligrama haram, Lakshmi haram.[17] Venkateswara's consort, Lakshmi, stays on the chest of the Moolavirat as Vyuha Lakshmi.
  2. Bhoga Srinivasa or Kautuka Beram: This is a small one-foot (0.3 m) silver deity that was given to the temple in 614 AD by the Pallava queen, Samavai, for conducting festivals. Bhoga Srinivasa is always placed near the left foot of Moolavirat, and is believed to always be connected to the main deity by the holy Sambandha Kroocha. This deity receives many daily sevas (pleasures) on behalf of Moolavar, and is hence known as Bhoga Srinivasa (Bhoga: pleasure). This deity receives Ekanthaseva daily[18] (the last ritual of the day), and Sahasra Kalasabhisheka (a special abhishekam (ablution) with sacred waters in 1008 kalashas (pots)) on Wednesdays.
  3. Ugra Srinivasa or Snapana Beram: This deity represents the fearsome (Ugra: terrible) aspect of Venkateshwara.[19][20] This deity was the main processional deity until 1330 CE, when it was replaced by the Malayappa Swami deity.[17] Ugra Srinivasa remains inside the sanctum sanctorum, and is carried out on a procession only one day in a year, on Kaishika Dwadasi, before the sunrise.[20][19] This deity receives daily abhishekam on behalf of Moolavirat, offering it the name Snapana Beram (Snapana: cleansing)
  4. Malayappa Swami or Utsava Beram: Malayappa is the processional deity (Utsava beram) of the temple, and is always flanked by the idols of his consorts, Sridevi and Bhudevi. This deity receives veneration on all festivals, like Brahmotsavams, Kalyanotsavam, Dolotsavam, Vasanthotsavam, Sahasra deepalankarana seva, Padmavati parinyotsavams, pushpapallaki, Anivara asthanam, Ugadi asthanam, etc.
  5. Koluvu Srinivasa or Bali Beram: Koluvu Srinivasa represents the Bali Beram. Koluvu Srinivasa is regarded as the guardian deity of the temple, that presides over its financial and economic affairs. Daily Koluvu seva (Koluvu: engaged in) is held in the morning, during which the previous day's offerings, income, expenditures. are notified to this deity, with a presentation of accounts. Panchanga sravanam is also held at the same time, during which that particular day's tithi, sunrise and sunset time, and nakshatra. are notified to Venkateshwara.


The Venkateswara Suprabhatam is the first and pre-dawn prayer performed to Venkateshwara at Sayana Mandapam, within the inner sanctum of the Tirumala Temple. 'Suprabhatam' is a Sanskrit term, which literally means 'morning salutations', and is meant to wake up the deity from his celestial sleep.[21][22] The Venkateshwara Suprabhatam hymns were composed by Prathivadhi Bhayankaram Annangaracharya during the 13th century, and consists of 70 slokas in four parts, including Suprabhatam (29), Stotram (11), Prapatti (14), and Mangalasasanam (16).[22][21]

The Dayashataka, a Sanskrit work containing ten decads, was composed by the philosopher Vedanta Desika in praise of the deity.[23]

Tallapaka Annamacharya (Annamayya), the poet saint[24] of 14th century, one of the greatest Telugu poets and a great devotee of Venkateshwara, had sung 32000 songs in praise of Venkateshwara.[25][24] All his songs, which are in Telugu and Sanskrit, are referred to as Sankirtanas and are classified as Sringara Sankirtanalu and Adhyatma Sankirtanalu.[24]

Notable Venkateshwara temples[edit]

United States of America

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Sitapati, Pidatala (1968). "Sri Venkateshwara, the Lord of the Seven Hills, Tirupati".
  2. ^ Holdrege, Barbara A. (February 2012). Veda and Torah: Transcending the Textuality of Scripture. ISBN 9781438406954.
  3. ^ Tourist Guide to Andhra Pradesh. Sura Books. 1992. p. 21. ISBN 9788174781765.
  4. ^ Daniel C. Maguire; Harold Coward (2000). Visions of a New Earth. SUNY Press. p. 115. ISBN 9780791499962.
  5. ^ William Schweiker (2008). The Blackwell Companion to Religious Ethics. John Wiley & Sons. p. 474. ISBN 9781405144445.
  6. ^ John Stratton Hawley; Vasudha Narayanan (2006). The Life of Hinduism. University of California Press. p. 233. ISBN 9780520940079.
  7. ^ Nanditha Krishna (2000). Balaji-Venkateshwara, Lord of Tirumala-Tirupati. Vakils, Feffer, and Simons. p. 49. ISBN 9788187111467.
  8. ^ Kumar, P. Pratap (2014). Contemporary Hinduism. Routledge.
  9. ^ (17 June 2020). "Venkatam, Vēṅkaṭam: 3 definitions". Retrieved 27 March 2024.
  10. ^ Avinash P. Subramanyam (31 January 2020). "Tirupati Lord Venkateshwara earns Rs 3.18 crore per day". Deccan Chronicle. Retrieved 19 June 2023.
  11. ^ HS, Anusha (2020). Stories on Lord Venkateshwara Series - 1: From various sources. Independently published (April 25, 2020). pp. 1 page. ISBN 979-8640227642.
  12. ^ (25 February 2020). "The Glory of Śrī Veṅkaṭeśvara [Chapter 18]". Retrieved 12 August 2022.
  13. ^ R., Sreenivasa Ayyangar, C. (1908). The life and teachings of Sri Ramanujacharya. R. Venkateshwar. p. 181. OCLC 30865934.{{cite book}}: CS1 maint: multiple names: authors list (link)
  14. ^ "Pontiffs Jeeyangars, the Ombudsman of Tirumala Temple rituals – TTD News". T. T. D. News. Archived from the original on 3 August 2022. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  15. ^ "Voice of a mighty philosophy". The Hindu. 25 March 2010. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  16. ^ Narasimhan, T. A (16 June 2016). "He streamlined the rituals at Tirumala temple". The Hindu. Retrieved 6 June 2022.
  17. ^ a b c d Sri Venkateshwara. Shantha Nair. 7 January 2014. ISBN 9788184954456.
  18. ^ "Tiruppavai to replace Suprabhata Seva". times of india. 8 December 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  19. ^ a b "Much awaited Kaisika Dwadasi falls on November 11". times of india. 6 November 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  20. ^ a b "Fervour marks 'Kaisika Dwadasi' at Tirumala". The Hindu. 2 December 2016. Retrieved 27 July 2018.
  21. ^ a b V.K., Subramanian (1996). Sacred Songs of India, Volume 10. Abhinav publications. p. 59. ISBN 81-7017-444-9.
  22. ^ a b "Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams-Suprabhatam". Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams. Archived from the original on 8 October 2015. Retrieved 29 July 2015.
  23. ^ Dr. Ramaswamy Ayyangar (2015). Daya Satakam Of Vedanta Desika By Dr. Ramaswamy Ayyangar In English. TTD.
  24. ^ a b c Poet Saints of India. Sterling Publishers Pvt. Ltd. 1996. ISBN 9788120718838.
  25. ^ 101 Mystics of India. Abhinav Publications. 2006.


  1. ^ Telugu: వేంకటేశ్వరుడు, Tamil: வெங்கடேஸ்வரா, Kannada: ವೆಂಕಟೇಶ್ವರ, Sanskrit: वेङ्कटेश्वरः

External links[edit]