Thursday, August 20, 2009

Tirupathi Balaji Temple

This temple is one of the most important Vishnu temples in India and is also the richest. It is the most visited temple in India and is one of the most visited religious places in the world. This magnificent temple is located 20km up a hill from Tirupati. It is a very peaceful place and coming to this temple is a very awe-inspiring and devotional experience. On a spiritual tour of South India it is an absolute must. On an average over 25,000 people visit daily, and on festival days over 100,000 visit. In 1989, over eleven and a half million people made their pilgrimage here.

The historic and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak of the Tirupati Hill. The temple of Sri Venkateswara fondly known as Balaji temple has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Tirupathi Balaji are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestower of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.

According to the tradition this temple has a self manifested idol of Vishnu and it is believed that Vishnu will reside on earth for the entire kaliyugam on tirumala hills. For this reason it attracts Hindus from across the world and is the most visited religious place in the world.All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram, the Cholas of Thanjavur, the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord. It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased.

Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day.Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is an independent trust which manages the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple now. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam was established in 1932 as a result of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams Act of 1932. According to the act, administration of the temple was vested to a committee of seven members and overseen by a paid commissioner as appointed by the Madras Government.The temple is the world's richest in terms of the wealth of offerings and gifts given by visiting pilgrims. On average around 60,000 pilgrims per day visit the temple, and on special occasions up to 3,00,000 per day.

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