Lord Venkateswara also known as Venkatesa, Srinivasa, Govinda or Balaji of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is perhaps the most popular of all the Hindu deities in India and the temple on the Tirumala hills gets fabulous income. He is popularly known as Perumal in Tamil Nadu. The image / idol in the temple is said to be an Udbhavamurthy (spontaneously manifested / not made by human) and does not conform to known Agama traditions.
The story goes that Lord Vishnu as Varaaha (the boar) decided to continue his stay on the earth and that Garuda brought down the hill of Vaikuntha to the earth for the Lord's residence. Lord Srinivasa or Venkatesa, another aspect of God Vishnu, also manifested himself there at that time to reside on the earth for the good of mankind. It is believed that Lord Srinivasa, married Goddess Padmavathi (also known as Alamelu Manga) who is an incarnation of Hindu Goddess Maha Lakshmi.
The annual Srivari Brahmotsavam of Lord Sri Venkateswara is considered as the most important event and a grand festival conducted over nine days in the month of September - October at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. It attracts lakhs of devotees from all over the world. It is believed that Lord Brahma himself descends on Tirumala hill to conduct this festival and hence it is known as Brahmotsavam.
During Brahmotsavam festival the processional deities (Utsava Moortis) Lord Malayappa Swamy and his two divine consorts SriDevi and BhooDevi are brought out in a grand procession on different Vaahanams such as Pedda Sesha Vahanam, Chinna Sesha Vahanam, Hamsa Vahanam, Kalpa Vruksha Vahanam, Garuda Vahanam, Hanumantha Vahanam, Gaja Vahanam, Simha Vahanam, Ashwa Vahanam, Soorya Prabha Vahanam, Chandra Prabha Vahanam etc.
Seven Hills (SapthaGiri)
Lord Shri Venkateswara / Balaji Temple is located on the seventh peak (Venkatadri) of Tirumala (a small town situated on a hill). The word Vengadam of Tamil origin signifies the hill. Venkatesa or Thiru Vengadam means Lord of hill.
Tirupati Tirumala Temple is easily accessible through both train and roads from major south Indian cities such as Chennai, Bangalore and Hyderabad.
One can reach Tirumala Temple either by walk (more than 3500 steps) or transport. From Tirupati there are regular bus service (free & paid) and private jeep / taxi facilities are available. It may take around 45 minutes to reach the Temple Town by transport from the foothills of Tirumala.
After undertaking darshan of Lord Venkateswara people throng to collect Laddu prasadam, which is unique in taste. It is prepared with rich ingredients such as pure ghee, high quality cashew nuts, cardamom and dried grapes.
At Tirumala devotees use to perform certain rituals and practices such as Hair offerings, Ear piercing for children, Tulabaram, Marriages etc.
TIRUMALA TIRUPATI TOURISM
Tirumala hills is not only a sacred place, also it has many tourist attractions for the visitors. Some of the important places to visit in and around Tirumala are Papavinasanam Dam, Akash Ganga waterfalls, Kumaradhara Theertham and Pasupudhara Theertham (Reservoir) in deep forest area, Natural Rock Arch (Sila Thoranam), Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park, Natural Bridges and Gardens. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has provided free Bus service to Papavinasanam and Akashganga for the convenience of the pilgrims.
Alamelu Mangapuram (Tiruchanur)
Tiruchanur / Alamelu Mangapuram Temple is situated in a few kilometers distance from Tirupati. Goddess Sri Alamelu Manga (daughter of Akasha Raja and Dharani Devi) is the presiding deity (Moolavar) in the Tiruchanoor Temple and Padmavathi Thayar (consort of Lord Venkateswara) is the processional (Utsav) deity in that temple. She is believed to be the manifestation of Goddess Maha Lakshmi. Since she emerged from lotus, she is known as Padmavati (Padmam means Lotus). Sri Annamacharya (divine Telugu poet) and Vedanta Desika (a Hindu saint) had composed many songs in praise of Lord Srinivasa and Goddess Padmavathi Thayar.
Tirupati City from Tirumala Hill
Sri Kalahasti Temple
Many devotees who visit Tirumala also pay visits to Srikalahasteeswara Temple which is located in Srikalahasti (a town in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh) at a distance of 40 km from Tirupati city. It is one of the most famous Panchabhoota temples of Lord Shiva representing one of the five basic elements 'Air / Wind'. The presiding diety of this temple is Sri Kalahasteeswarar (Vayu Linga) and his consort is Sri Gnana Prasunambika Devi. Special Poojas and rituals are performed in this temple by the devotees to nullify the effect of Rahu, Ketu and Sarpa doshas.
OM NAMAH SHIVAYA
OM NAMO NARAYANAAYA