Location of Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupati Balaji temple is located in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is to be found on Venkatachala or Ventaka Hill (the seventh peak of the Tirupati Hill).
Myths of Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupati Balaji Temple has attained a very sacred position in Indian religious teachings. Indian Scriptures like ‘Shastras’, ‘Puranas’ and ‘Sthala Mahatyams’ have acclaimed that the worship of Sri Venkateswara. Lord Vishnu took human appearance as Srinivasa and left ‘Vaikuntha’, in search of goddess Lakshmi. He then reached Tirumala Hills and started meditating. Goddess Lakshmi came to know about the condition of Srinivasa and prayed to Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma and they converted themselves into a cow and a calf and Goddess Lakshmi had handed over the cow and calf to Chola king ruling over Tirumala Hills at that period. The cow would give milk to Srinivasa daily while it was taken for grazing. One day, cowherd saw this and tried to hit the cow but Srinivasa had borne the injury. Srinivasa had cursed the Chola king to become a demon as ‘dharma’. The king then prayed for forgiveness after which Srinivasa told him that the king should take next birth as Akasaraja and should perform marriage of his daughter Padmavatiwith Srinivasa.
As per the legends, a loan of one crore and around 11.4 million gold coins was sought by Balaji from Kubera for his marriage with Padmavathi. To give back the loan, devotees from all over India visit the temple and donated funds.
Architecture of Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupati Balaji Temple is supposed to have been surviving since ages. It is embraced of 'Gopuram' (tower) and is a well defined example of Dravidian style of architecture. There is a gilded ‘cupola’ (Vimana) by the locks of "the Ananda Nilayam" over the central shrine. The shrine comprises three areas, which are also known as 'Prakarams'. The outmost area comprises the 'Dhvajastambha' (banner post) and the other fields have various statues including statues of ‘King Krishnadevraya’ and ‘Todarmal’ (minister of Akbar). The remarkable idol of ‘Sri Venkateswara / Balaji’ lies in the central chamber sanctorum of the temple.
The seven peaks represent the seven hoods of ‘Naag Adisesha’. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. The ‘Shastras’, ‘Puranas’, ‘Sthala Mahatyams’ and ‘Alwar’ hymns clearly say that in Kali Yuga, one will be able to attain ‘mukti’ only by worshipping Sri Venkateswara. The benefits of the pilgrimage to Venkatachalam are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. All the great dynasties from the southern peninsula paid homage to Lord Venkateswara in this ancient shrine - Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (10th century), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD). They competed with one another while giving endowments to the temple. In 1843 AD, the administration of the shrine and its estates were entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala.
Festivals of Tirupati Balaji Temple
Every day is a day of festival at Tirupati Balaji Temple. The most famous is the annual festival called 'Brahmotsava', celebrated on grand scale for nine days in September, and attracts pilgrims and tourists from all over. The fifth and ninth days of the festival are especially significant in as much as ‘Garudostavam’ and ‘Rathotavam’ takes place on those days. One of the essential customs followed by the devotees is hair tonsuring. A lot of pilgrims have their heads shaved, which is known as ‘Mokku’, at the temple as an offering to the God. Another appealing part of visiting the temple is the geographical indication tag attached ‘prasadam’ Laddu which is given as ‘prasadam’ at Tirupati Balaji Temple. It is famous for Lord Venkateshwara, the deity who is called Tirupati Balaji which here means the 'lord of Laxmi'.
Visiting Information of Tirupati Balaji Temple
The nearest airport to Tirupati Balaji Temple lies at a distance of 10 kilometres in Renigunta. Almost every town and city of Andhra Pradesh present regular bus services to Tirupati Balaji Temple.