Temples in India
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple information

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

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 Sri 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. Lord 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 presiding 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. It is around 435 km (270.3 mi) from Vijayawada, 571.9 km (355.4 mi) from Hyderabad, 138 km (85.7 mi) from Chennai, 291 km (180.8 mi) from Bangalore, and 781.2 km (485.4 mi) from Visakhapatnam 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. 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.

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