Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Tirumala Temple

The Tirumala temples nestles amidst the peaks of the seven hills of Tirumala. The temple can be approached from Tirupati by a 15 km. Road, it is a pleasant drive many pilgrims even today take this path by foot making a 11 km. trek to the temple. For the devotees, the deity Venkateshwara symbolizes goodness, with his conch he creates the cosmic sound that destroys ignorance. Venkateshwara is considered to be the most powerful Hindu deity, he is believed to be the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees. There are never less then 5,000 pilgrims here at any time. In a single day. The total number of pilgrims even goes upto 10,000 in a day. The temple staff alone accounts to a number of 18,000. The popularity of the temple can be judged by the annual income which is around two billion rupees per annum. The devotees offer money, precious articles etc. in the hundi or collection box placed at various sites in the temple. Silver model of the feet or a silver heat are also put in the hundi, these models are available outside the temple.

This entire sum is administered by a temple trust, who plough this bulk of money back into hundreds of choultries and charities such as schools, colleges, art academies, craft training centers and in the homes of the poor and orphans. It is considered to be very auspicious to have your head shaven when visiting the temple. People donate their hair to the deity, as an act symbolic of renouncing the ego, this applies to men, women and children alike. The temple is very large and has a huge courtyard. Te main shrine which contains the image of Sri Venkateswara is a complex of structure. It begins with the sanctum at the western end and ends with the Tirumamanimandapam at the eastern end. The main temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Its glittering gold Vimanam, rising protectively over the sanctorum seems to be lit with some inner fire touched glow. It is called as Ananda Vimanam. The innermost enclosure ‘Vaikunda Pradakshinam’ is opened only once a year. Splendid gold covered gates guard the entrance of the main sanctum sanctorum. The ‘Swayambhu’ or naturally formed two metres high idol of Sri Venkateswara depicts the Lord’s standing image on a lotus. It has four arms and on the chest are the images of Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavati. The majestic jet black idol is adorned by a mass of gold and precious stones.

Most striking is the fabulous crown which is said to be the costliest single ornament ever made in the world. The darshan of the deity is a heavenly experience. The aura created by the magnificent jewellery adorning the deity, the powerful vibrations of the prayers offered day in and day out is overwhelming, every devotee coming out of the sanctum sanctorumhas the feeling of being special. The prasad cooked in the temple kitchens is also of great value among the devotees. The prasad is first offered to the deity before distribution, it is not only of special significance to the pilgrims but also a great delicacy. The pilgrims enjoy the bracing climate on the hill. Comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation are available, alongwith delicious South Indian food and coffee.

1 comment:

  1. Tirumala Venkateswara Temple (Telugu: Kannada: Tamil:), also known as Tirupati Venkateswara Temple is a famous Hindu Temple of Lord Venkateswara located in the hill town Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Venkatachalam hill that forms part of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence the temple is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills (Saptagiri in Sanskrit, Edukondalu in Telugu , elu betta in Kannada and Ezhumalai in Tamil). The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Venkateswara, is also known by other names - Balaji or Srinivasa or Perumal.