The abode of Almighty
|State||: Andhra Pradesh|
|Type of Tourism||: Pilgrimage|
|Area||: 450 square kilometers|
|Altitude||: 161 meters|
|Languages spoken||: Telugu, English, Tamil, Hindi, Kannada, Malayalam|
|Clothing recommended||: Loose Cotton in summer, light woolen in winter|
|Best Tourist Season||: September to March|
|Telephone Code||: India (08574), International (+91)|
|Pin Code||: 517501|
|What to buy||: Woodcarvings, Whitewood Toys, Kalamkari, Works on Paper Pulps, Traditional Tanjore Style Gold Leaf Paintings, Devotional Music, Hindu Religious Books & Periodicals, SAPTHAGIRI Magazine, Photos, Idols, Statues of the Deity, Brass Lamps, Souvenirs, Terracotta Products like Pots, Lamps, Face Masks, Toys, Silver Jewelry, Bangles, Bracelets, Anklets, Vermillion in Garish Boxes, Rangoli Stickers, Mud Piggy Banks, etc.|
|Food Specialties||: Tirupati Laddu, Sweet Rice, Halwa, Semia Payasam, Kaja, Shreemal, Andhra Meals loaded with variety of spicy Sambhars, Rasams, Vegetables and Chutneys, Idly, Dosa, Uttapam, Pesarattu, Free Meals (Prasad) at the Temple|
|Local transportation||: Buses, Free Bus Service provided by TTD (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthnam), rental cabs, taxis, auto rickshaws|
The sacred abode of Lord Venkateswara and the busiest and wealthiest pilgrim destination in the whole world - Tirupati is the most precious jewel in the crown of Indian Pilgrimage and Tourism. Tirupati, the seventh largest city of Andhra Pradesh is located at the footings of Eastern Ghats in Chittoor district. The literal meaning of the word Tirupati is, ‘The Lord of Lakshmi’. Renowned world wide for the auspicious shrine of Lord Venkateswara, worshipped as Lord Balaji in North India and revered by the name of Lord Govinda in South, Tirupati draws millions of devotees every year.
The holy temple of Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as Tirupati Balaji is perched at the top of Tirumala Hills which is nearly 3200 feet above the sea level. The Tirumala Hills, the second oldest rock mountains in the world altogether has seven peaks which is why it is also known by the name Saptagiri. Saptagiri represents the seven hoods of Adisesha: the celestial serpent on whose coil the Lord Vishnu relaxes in Vaikuntha. The blessed temple is nestled on the seventh peak named Venkatadri.
The city Tirupati majestically skirting the foothills of Tirumala is always throbbing with the devotees and tourists who arrive here full of devotion and hope. The city never sleeps since the devotees start queuing from the late hours of midnight as the first Seva in the temple is offered at 3 am in the morning. Tirupati Balaji, the Lord of seven Hills receives the highest amount of revenue in the form of offerings and contributes a major part in the economy of the state. The city itself boasts of many temples and that’s why it is considered as one of the foremost pilgrim centers both for the Indian people and the globe trotters. One of the most visited pilgrimage city – Triupati is regarded to be a leading economical and educational hub of Southern part of Indian Peninsula.
History of Tirupati
The Tirumala Hills that harbor the world famous Venkateswara Temple is believed to be the second oldest rock mountain on the earth. During the Sat Yuga, this vicinity was called Rishavadri and during Dvapara Yuga the Tirumala Hill was known by the name Sheshachala or Sheshadri. For ages, the surrounding area of the temple was called Venkatachala - the title given by Lord Brahma himself. There are many speculations and controversies about the true origins of the temple as we lack the clear and authentic record of the details about who actually constructed that shrine. Though it is said that King Thondaiman of Thonda dynasty who ruled ancient Tondai Naidu had received the vision from Lord Vishnu in his dream following which he constructed this temple.
The ancient Tamil literature (Sangam Literature of 500 B.C. to 300 A.D) addresses this place as Thiruvengadam and notes the existence of this famous shrine in the literary works like IIango Vadigal’s Silapadikarm and Satanar’s Manimeghalai Bear. We gain the information that the temple was maintained and upgraded by various kings of different dynasties who ruled that region over the years. Chola Kings, the ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu who held the reigns of this domain from 2nd Century BC to 10th century AD greatly improved the temple. In 5th century AD, it was rendered a center of Vaishnavism when Alvars Saints of Bhakti movement worshipped Lord Venkateswara.
The Venkateswara temple received most of its current glory, wealth and size under the regime of Devraya Rulers. Apart from the Devrayas, the Tamil Pallvas of Kanchipuram (9th Century AD), the Cholas of Tanjore and Kings from other states like Mysore and Gadwal developed the temple and offered ornaments and valuables at the feet of Lord Venkateswara. In 11th century the great Vaishnavite saint Ramanujacharya formalized the temple rites and rituals. The meritorious King of Vijayanagara Empire; Krishna Deva Raya donated tremendous amount of gold and other ornaments and constructed extending shrines which led to the increasing popularity of the temple. Tirupati faced several Muslim invasions in 12th century and during this time only the deity of Srirangapatna was shifted to Tirupati for safety.
Maratha General Raghoji Bonsale used to pay a visit to the temple regularly. He took the responsibility of setting up permanent administration for the conduct of worship. During the British Raj, the administration of this Shrine went under the Hathirmji Mutt administration and remained so for about 100 years. TTD Act (Tirumala Tirupati Devasthnam’s Act) was passed in 1932 who oversees the administration of temple till date.