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Tuesday, April 22, 2008

India : Tirumala : Tirupati - Attractions and Excursions - 2

Guys, the town of Tirupati is one of the most ancient and sacred pilgirmage spots in India. The name "Tirupati" means the "Lord of Lakshmi", and should have been applied to the village on the Venkat hill, the swelling of Lord Venkateshwara. However, Tirupati is the town and transport bub at the bottom of the hill. The hill near the temple is called "Tirumala" or the "sacred hill". The temple here is said to be the busiest in the world, eclipsing even Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca in the number of pilgrims visiting it.

The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq. miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.

Lord Venkateswara Temple :

The temple of Balaji at Tirumala Hills is famous the world over and millions of pilgrims from across the globe visit the temple annually. The temple, which finds mention in ancient texts, was patronized by the Pallavas, Pandyas, Cholas, the Vijyayanagar rulers and Maharaja of Mysore.

The main temple is an excellent example of ancient Indian temple architecture, particularly from South India. The vimana over the sanctum santorum as also the Dhwajasthambam (flag post) are gold plated, done with meticulous care.

The idol of Lord Venkateswara itself is divine t behold and pilgrims are blessed with a sense of complete bliss and satisfaction the moment they glimpse the idol during the "darshan".

Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple :

The temple has an imposing gopuram (elaborate gateway) that can be seen from a distance. The temple was consecrated by Saint Ramanujacharya in AD 1130. The main sanctuaries in the temple are dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna.

Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple (3 kms) :

It is the only temple dedicated as Lord Siva. The temple has an attractive setting and there is a sacred waterfall called Kapila Teertham or Alwar Teertham located here.

Sri. Kodandaramaswami Temple :

Build by a Chola King during the tenth century AD, the temple has Rama, Sita and Lakshamana as the presiding deities.

Akasa Ganga :

About 3 km north of the main temple is a perennial stream that is said to flow from the feet of the deity. The Akasa Ganga, as it is called, is considered sacred as the Vedas describe it as flowing from the feet of Lord Vishnu. The water from here is used for the daily rituals in the temple.

Goddess Alameumanga Temple (Padmavati Temple) :

Being in a temple town at the foothills of the world famous Balaji shrine at Tirumala, one is bound to visit such temples as the Alamelumanga temple at Tiruchanur, four kms from Tirupati. The temple dedicated to goddess Padmavati, the consort of Lord Venkteswara is here and people visiting the Tirumala hills make it a point to visit Alamelumanga too. The town lies on the bank of the River Swarnamuki.

Sri Kalyana VEnkateswaraswami Temple (12 kms) :

Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri. Padmavathi Devi before proceeding to Tirumala.
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