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Andhra Pradesh: Tirupati
Tirupati, one of the foremost pilgrimage spots for Hindu devotees, is attracting pilgrims and tourists from faraway places over the years. It is believed that this is the richest temple of the world. The temple authority always helps the needy people. Even though devotees know it as Tirupati but the main temple, located atop the hills, is known as Tirumala. The temple is not only known as the prime pilgrimage spot for the Indians but a large number of devotees and tourists congregate in Tirumala from overseas countries as well. Pilgrims worship the almighty and believe that the God will help to shed their sins.
The Venkateshwar or Balaji temple of Tirumala is in the shade of mango trees. The whole city of Tirumala, located at an altitude of 860 meters, is covering 4 square km of area. The temple is encircled by hills of red rocks.
The road to Tirumala offers a pleasing view to the pilgrims. 57 hair pin bends are there on the winding way to Tirumala. Trekkers and devotees who wish to enjoy the scenic beauty around should take a walk higher up to Tirumala from the foothills of Allypidi, about 4 km towards the north of the Tirupati bus stand. Take a walk and watch the holy Nrisingha and Ramanujacharya temples on the way to Tirumala. Local people opine that the pilgrims who don’t worship the deity of Nrisingha temple on the way miss the charm of Tirumala tour.
The ancient Balaji temple houses the deity which is a blend of the deities Shiva and Vishnu. The main temple can be accessed only after crossing three other temples which are cordoned with three huge fortifications. Sampangi, Biman and Baikuntha temples welcome the devotees before visiting the sanctified prime place of worship. Worshippers drench themselves in the divinity of the adjoining Venkateshwar kundo or swami pushkarini (pond).
The temple earns more than 5 lakh crores in one year. 13000 employees are working in the temple.
The magical process of worshipping the deity of the temple is noticeable and noteworthy. You have to walk all the way to the deity and it’s a long way. You have to spend and dedicate specific amount of money to the deity depending on the facilities you want. Take the special sweetmeat or rice with the blessings of the hallowed deity. Devotees can buy sweets separately as well.
The throne of Balaji looks awesome, and is a sight to behold. It is wrapped with 100 kg of gold. The 2 meter tall idol of the deity is residing on a lotus. The affluent deity is adorned with numerous precious ornaments. More than 12 crores were spent in 12 kg gold and 9 kg diamonds to adorn and design the cap of the deity. The façade of the deity looks even more fascinating in various occasions. Flowers all around the deity almost cover the whole idol. Two eyes of the idol are even hidden in the flowers, only the feet and the face of the idol are evident. Two wives of the main deity, Sri Devi and Bhu Devi are also residing in the temple along with their spouse. Twenty one and half feet tall golden chariout, built with 780.7 kg bronze and 29.922 kg gold, is the newest charm of the temple. A hefty amount of two and half crores were spent to form the chariot. Balaji resides and rides on this divine chariot during Navaratri festival in October. The temple authority offers the prasadam to the followers in dining hall. Only Hindu pilgrims are allowed to enter and watch the divine power. However, a special permission will allow Christians as well. The temple is kept open from 3 am to 9 pm. But the neighboring shops are kept open always.
The meeting room, standing on 1000 pillars, is a remarkably decorated place. 247 feet tall Galigopur Gopuram depicts dravid architectural grace and stylishness. But recently the height has been increased. Anand Nilayam, the airplane, placed at the peak of the temple, is designed and covered with gold. The temple looks amazing with its fine arts. The temple premise houses innumerable idols of kings, made up of stones and bronze. More than 20, 000 devotees are attracted towards the celestial power of Tirumala. However, on some special occasions, the number of devotees exceeds 1, 00,000. Pilgrims have to wait for many hours just to get a glimpse and worship the deity. Interested and capable pilgrims can donate 5, 00,000 to the temple authority to get special treatment for 5 long years. The yearly festival of Tirumala attracts devotees from distant places during September. Some pilgrims dedicate their hair to the deity when they worship.
31 temples and 7 kundas (ponds) are spread over the seven adjoining hills. Ardent tourists should visit the “pap binasham dam”, another pilgrimage spot, situated at a distance of 5 km from Tirumala temple. A bath in the water of the waterfall can shed the sins. Visit Akashganga water fall, about 3 km towards the south of pap binasham waterfall. Cross the stairways to watch the natural sight of the waterfall.
Go-garva, about 1 km from the Balaji temple, looks magical with the surrounding soaring hills and majestic waterfalls. Small idols of Panchapandava and the footsteps of the deity, Vishnu are evident on the hilly cave.
Sri Venkateshwar sanctuary, covering 500 acres of green territories, is another mesmerizing place, located adjacent to the Balaji temple.
Besides the holy Tirumala temple, innumerable sanctified temples are dotted around the lower Tirupati- Tirumala. This area is also famous in the propinquity as a business hub of the district. It is important to Watch Sri Padmabati Devi, the wife of the deity, Balaji, along with Balaji. The temple of Sri Padmabati Devi has a golden airplane which is enclosed by four lions at four of its corners. Devi Lakshmi, made up of black stones, is residing in the temple. The eyes of the deity are formed by silver.
It is believed that the Lord Venkateshwar Padmabati stayed in Sri Nivas Mangapurm village after marriage. In remembrance of the deity, a temple was built and dedicated to the Lord Venkateshwar Padmabati. Sri Govinda Raj Swami temple, built in 16th century, is another ancient temple of the village. The adjoining museum, Kapileshwar temple and Kapilatirtham pushkarini (pond) are other coveted destinations of lower Tirupati. Agasthya swami (the saint) temple, about 10 km from lower Tirupati and Kalyani dam, situated at a distance of 18 km from Lower Tirupati are other interesting destinations for the enthusiasts.
Chandragiri, about 11 km towards the south- west side from Tirupati, on the banks of Swarnamukhi River, is a famous fort which was built using granite stones, situated at an elevation of 182 meters. The adjoining palace depicts the excellent Indo- Serasenic architectures. Neighboring Rani Mahal is another attraction and it pulls huge crowds. A number of divine temples are also there in the palace premise. The newest enticement of the fort is its Light & Sound show.
Konai waterfalls: Konai, secluded and situated in the serenity, about 90 km towards the south-west side of Chennai, is a breathtaking and marvelous waterfall. The untamed waterfall looks even more dangerous during October- February. However, the number of tourists is increased in winters. It is believed that Sei Venkateshwar got married with Padmabati in the locale. A temple is built to remember the deities.
Narayanawanam is connected to Chennai by road and the Konai waterfall is situated at a distance of 2 km from Narayanawanam.
Pushpagiri: Pushpagiri or the hill of flowers, houses 8 temples on the hills. 12 other temples are located at the foothills. A lot of tales of different Hindu epics are written on the walls of the temple. The architectures on the walls of the temple are enamoring. The carvings of the temples look even more striking and stunning.
Renigunta is located at a distance of 11 km towards the southern side from Tirupati. Kuddapa is situated 131 km towards the north from Renigunta. Pushpagiri is situated at a distance of 16 km towards the north- east side of Kuddapa.
How to reach: Tirupati can be accessed directly by railways from Kolkata. You can also avail train to Chennai from Kolkata and get down at Gudur junction. Tirupati is connected to Gudur junction by road and by railways. Tirupati can also be accessed from Hyderabad and Secunderabad by road and by railways.
Where to stay: Modi Bhawan, Sriniketan, Indira Guest House and Haritha Hotel are few notable hotels in Tirumalai. Mamata Lodge, Gokula Tourist Lodge, Hotel Prashanth, Ajanta Lodge, Hotel Oorvasi, Hotel Amar, Kalyan Residency and Hotel Annapurna are there in Tirupati.
Check our hotel booking links below for photos, rates, options and online bookings.