Location: Tirupati is a town in the Chittoor district of the
Southern portion of Andhra Pradesh and is at a convenient train
journey away from Chennai (formerly Madras) in Tamilnadu.
Tirumalai, on the last of the seven Hills, is home to this temple
and is connected by a well maintained and picturesque mountain
road constructed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devastanam.
Significance: Tirupati/Tirumala is a pilgrimage center of
great significance and is visited by hundreds of thousands of
pilgrims throughout the year.Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji
as the presiding deity Vishnu is known, is enshrined in this
temple, located on a range of the Eastern Ghats, called the Seven
Hills.It is an ancient temple and its glory has been sung by the
saints of the yesteryears.
Said to be the richest temple in India, this temple is a
vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand
history spanning several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all
over the country and it is not unusual for pilgrims to stand in
line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding
deity for a few fleeting seconds.
TTD, or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam manages the affairs of
the temple, the well being of the pilgrims, the upkeep of the
environs in and around the Tirumala hills and sponsors several
undertakings that are religious, charitable, social and
educational in nature.
References to Tiruvenkatam abound in early Tamil
literature(Tolkappiam and Silappadikaram) . Explicit reference to
the Lord of Tiruvenkatam is found in the works of the early Tamil
Saint Poets Poigai Alwar, Bhuthathu Alwar and Pay Alwar as well
as in the poems of the later Alwars. The great religious leader
Ramanuja Acharya is said to have visited here in the 11th - 12th
References to Venkatachalam are also found in several of the
Puranas. Tirumalai constitutes one of the 108 Sri Vaishnava Divya
Desams - sacred shrines in the Sri Vaishnavite tradition. Krishna
Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar Empire is said to have visited this
temple 7 times. An image of his is also found in the temple. The
Venkatesa Itihasa Mala and the Varaha Purana contain several
legends connected with Tirumalai.
The temple of Lord Venkateswara is built on top of Seshachala
hill, one of the seven hills known as the Thirumalai hills. The
temple covers an area of about two acres. It consists of three
'praharam' (circumambulatory path). The Kalyana Mandapam
located in the second praharam dates back to the 16th century. In
front of the sanctum is the Tirumani Mandapam, a hall with a door
made of gold. The innermost praharam is opened only once a year
on Vaikuntha Ekathasi day. The sanctum is 12 feet square housing
the image of the Lord. It is topped with a golden vimanam called
the Ananda Nilaya Vimanam. This three-tiered tower is about 38
feet high. The entrance Gopuram is about 50 feet high and faces
The deity is worshipped as Sri Venkateswarar or
Venkatachalapathy and the image is in a standing posture on a
pedestal of lotus flower. The image is adorned with ornaments
studded with precious stones and gems. There are also images of
Krishna, Rama, Sita and Lakshmana in the sanctum. Sri Devi and
Boodevy both adorn the Lord's chest in the form of two images
sculptured in gold.
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas,
of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the
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
One day, Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, in the course
of his pilgrimage, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going up
the Tirumala Hill for the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara.
After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed
and blue-bodied Vishnu beneath a tamarind tree. Vishnu was
exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was only protected by the
extended wings of Garuda.
Rangadasa was astounded by the wonderful sight. He raised a
rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying
flowers faithfully to Gopinatha everyday for Vishnu's
One day, Rangadasa was distracted by a Gandharva king and his
ladies. Consequently, he forgot to supply flowers to Gopinatha
for Vishnu's worship. The Lord then revealed Himself and told
Rangadasa that He had been testing the latter's continence,
but Rangadasa had not been steadfast and had succumbed to
However, the Lord accepted and appreciated Rangadasa's
devoted service to Him till then, and blessed Rangadasa that he
would be reborn as an affluent ruler of a province and would
enjoy the earthly pleasures. He would continue to serve the Lord,
construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding
walls, and thereby earn eternal glory.
Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, the son of the royal couple,
Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman enjoyed a pleasurable life as a
young man. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the
Tirumala Hill, and with the help of a forester, saw Vishnu under
the tamarind tree. Tondaman returned home, deeply affected by the
vision of Vishnu.
Tondaman later inherited his father's kingdom,
Tondamandalam. In accordance with the directions given by Adi
Varaha to a forester, Tondaman constructed a prakaram and dvara
gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord (according
to Vaikhanasa Agama).
In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja came to rule over Tondamandalam.
His daughter Padmavathi was married to Venkateswara. The
marriage, officiated by Brahma, was celebrated with great pomp
Festivals and Opening Hours
The temple opens for 'Subrapatham' in the early
morning at 2.30 am and closes after 10.30 pm after the last
'seva' of the day, the 'Ekantha seva'. Devotees
throng to this temple every day, but there are four grand
festivals when the devotees swell to thousands. The grandest of
them all is the festival in September/October that runs for ten
days when the idols are taken out in procession.
Vaikuntam Queue Complex
The entrance for darshan is through the Vaikuntam Queue
Complex. The complex is a series of inter-connected halls that
leads to the main temple. An efficient queue system ensures that
pilgrims move in an orderly fashion through the Queue Complex,
towards the main temple. The halls in the Queue Complex are
clean, spacious and airy.TTD provides a wide range of facilities
in the Queue Complex:
Sarvadarsanam means 'darshan for all'. The timings for
Sarvadarsanam are different on different days of the week. Please
refer the weekly temple programme for the timings. On normal
days, about 18 hours are allotted for Sarvadarsanam and on peak
days, it is open for 20 hours. Around 50,000 pilgrims visit the
main temple every day.
The entrance for Special Darshan is through the PPC (Queue
Complex). The queue merges with the Sarvadarsanam queue at
Bangaruvakili. Pilgrims who use this queue will have a shorter
waiting time. There are two categories of special darshan, with
tickets costing Rs. 40.00 and Rs. 50.00 per head. The darshan
timings are the same as that for Sarvadarsanam.
Sudarsanam Token System
The Sudarsanam token system was introduced to minimise the
waiting time for Sarvadarsanam, Special Darshan and other paid
darshan/sevas. Some of its features:
The tokens are available free of cost at the First Choultry
(opposite the TiruRailway Station), Second Choultry (behind the
Railway Station), Alipiri Bus Stand, Tirupati, Vaikuntam Queue
Complex, Pilgrim Amenities Centre (Near CRO) and near the
Rambagicha Guest House in Tirumala.
The time of darshan is indicated on the tokens. Pilgrims can
enter the Vaikuntam Queue Complex at Tirumala at the time
indicated on the tokens They can have darshan within two hours of
entering the Queue Complex. As this system saves on waiting time,
it provides pilgrims with enough time to visit temples in the
vicinity like Sri Govindarajaswami Temple and Kapila Teertham at
Tirupati, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple at Tiruchanur and Sri
Kalyana Venkateswara Swami Temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram. To
help TTD keep a track of the number of pilgrims and ensure their
smooth flow, one token is issued per head. Collective tokens for
groups are not issued. Some precautions for you to take:
Collect your Sudarsanam token only from TTD-run counters.
Tokens issued by others are not valid. Keep the token tied to
your wrist till you finish darshan. Do not exchange tokens. Do
not trust touts.
Special Darshan for the Physically Disabled and the Aged This
special darshan is arranged for the physically disabled and the
aged through a separate gate at the Maha Dwaram,the main temple
entrance. If necessary, such pilgrims can be accompanied by an
Other places to visit
The Govindaraja Perumal in Thirupathy and the Pathmavathy
temple in Thiruchanoor are two other temples in the area well
worth a visit.
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