Showing posts with label Lord Venkateswara - Balaji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Lord Venkateswara - Balaji. Show all posts

Sunday, September 20, 2009

TIRUMALA – The Abode of Lord Venkateswara

Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, is one of the most popular Hindu shrine in the country. The temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala is perched at height of 874 metres above mean sea level and 15 km. North-west of Tirupati, the temple town is located at the foot of the seven hills of the Eastern Ghats in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The 12th century Vaishnavite shrine is one of the richest shrine of the world, with annual income of the temple being more than two billion rupees. Often referred as the ‘Vatican of the East’, the size of the visiting pilgrims and the wealth the temple town offers in terms of religious, cultural and natural splendour, make it an unsurpassed pilgrimage site. HISTORY: The exact period in which the temple was founded is not known, and tradition has it that the temple is Swayambhustala, meaning, it came into existence on its own without anyone making it. As per folk legends there was a huge anthill at Tirupati. A farmer heard a voice from the heavens asking him to feed the ants. By chance the local king heard the voice and began supplying milk for the ants, himself. His compassion resulted in the liquid uncovering a magnificent idol of Lord Venkateshwara hidden beneath the anthill. According to some evidences the history of the temple dates back to almost 2,000 years. In the ancient times a queen called Samavai belonging to Pallava dynasty (614 AD.) is said to have consecrated the first silver image here. The temple is also mentioned in the Sangam poetry (500 BC. – 2000 AD.). Numerous temple inscriptions from the 9th century record details of the temple and contributions made by both Pallavas and Chola Kings.

It is believed tat originally there was only one shrine at Tirumalai. When the Vaishnavite saint, Ramanuja, visited Andhra in the 12th century, the temple at Tirupathi was built. The Chola period saw the temple complex prospered and expanded. In 1517, Krishnadevaraya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. The Maratha general Raghoji Bhonsle visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple. Among the later rulers who endowed large benefaction were the rulers who endowed large benefaction were the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal. In 1843 with the coming of the East India Company, the administration of the Shri Venkateshwara temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century, till 1933 when the temple was under the administrative charge of the mahants. The Madras legislature passed a special act in 1933 whereby the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was invested with powers of administration and control through a commissioner appointed by Govt. of Madras. A Ryot Advisory Council was formulated for the management of the estates of the TTD, this was assisted by Religious Advisory Council with regard to religious matters.

The Seven Sacred Hills

The picturesque Tirumala hills is situated 2820 ft above MSL and is about 100sq.m in area . It comprises seven peaks ,representing the seven hoods of Audisesha , thus earning the name Seshachalam.

The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Vedadri, Garudadri, Anjandri, Vrishabhadri, Narayandri and Venkatadri (Adri in sanskrit means Hill).The Venkatam hill is believed to be a part of the celestial mount meru, brought to the earth from Vaikuntam by Garuda.The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatdri and there are several legends associated with the manifestation of the lord in Tirumala. The shrine of the lord is very ancient and there are ample references to it in the early inscriptions belonging to the Chola and Pallava periods as well in the Sangam literature.

The abode of the lord is about 10 Km north-west of Tirupati and there are footsteps leading to the hill as well as two separate serpentine roads to reach the shrine. According to legend ,God Vishnu revealed himself earlier in the previous incarnations as Varahaswamy on the banks of the present temple tank..This manifestation of the white boar (Sveta Varaham) is enshrined in the Adi Varahaswany temple situated on the northeastern banks of the tank.

The Sanctum sanctorum called the Garbha Griha is where the main idol of lord Venkateswara resides. The idol stands majestically to a height of eight feet, in the centre of the sanctum directly beneath a gold guilded dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divay Vimana.The exquisitely wrought idol called the Mulabera is believed to be Svayambhu(self manifested) ,according to the legends. Further ,no human being is known to have either sculpted or installed the idol in the shrine.

On normal days the imposing idol is adorned with a golden Kiritam which has a large emerald embedded on its front. On special occasions like the Brahmothsavam, he is adorned with his precious diamond crown worth Rs 30 Crores. On his forehead ,the lord has a thick double patch of upright Namam drawn with refined camphor which screens his eyes. In between the two white patches is the Kasturi tilakam .His ear's are bedecked with shinning golden Makara Kundalas. The fist of his right raised hand is implanted with a gem-set chakra and the correponding left fist is with the Sankha. The slightly outstretched right hand has its finger pointing to his lotus feet, as the only recourse to his devotees to attain oneness with him and enjoy eternal bliss. . His right hand is akimbo to assure his devotees of protection and to show the proverbial SamsaraSagara, the ocean of mundane life ,is only hip deep if they seek refuge in him.

He has on the right side of his chest a clear impression of Goddess Lakshmi's, his consort. The deity has a unique magnetism, many devotees who go through the fleeting Sarvadarsanam have unusual psychic experience. They leave with a sense of spiritual satisfaction, coupled with a religious hunger to stand in front of Lord Venkateswara and experience the bliss again and again.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Darshan of Tirupati Balaji

every day. There are different Pujas one can perform at different timings of the day by paying fees. All details of pujas are available at Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams official web site. Darshan can be booked from many e-Darshan counter available in different cities operated by TTD. You can see one such e darshan counter at Visakhapatnam. For Darshan all member has to be present at the counter where photo of every devotee is taken by using web cam and finger print also taken. Booking tickets along with accommodation reservation tickets can be taken from such e Darshan counters.

Electronic gadgets like mobile phone, cameras etc are not allowed inside the temple. All handbags are scanned before the main entry for Darshan. Devotees can deposit there footwear at the counter provided and take a token. This service is also free of cost provided by TTD. There are different types of Darshans offered by TTD, most popular darshan is Sudarshan darshan, in which rupees fifty is charged for each member. Reporting time for the Darshan will be mentioned in the ticket and devotees are to be report at Q complex ( the complex is build to accommodate devotes in the queue ). Usually one has to wait for two hours ( minimum ) in the queue to have Darshan of Lord Balaji. Different types of Darshan has different queue systems and different waiting time. In side the Q Complex good facility like drinking water, toilet , tea stalls are available.

Two free Ladus of Balaji are given as Prasad to each member after the Darshan. The Ladus are popularly known as Tirupati Ladu.

After the Darshan one can drop the offerings at the Hundi inside temple known as Srivari Hundi. Devotees offerings at Hundi are collected and counted inside a glass house within the complex. Devotees offer ornaments to cash and many other valuable items in the Hundi.

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.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Lord Venkateswara - Tirupati Balaji

Tirupati/Tirumala is a pilgrimage center of great significance and is visited by hundreds of thousands of pilgrims throughout the year.Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji as the presiding deity Vishnu is known, is enshrined in this temple, located on a range of the Eastern Ghats, called the Seven Hills.

It is an ancient temple and its glory has been sung by the saints of the yesteryears. Said to be the richest temple in India, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history spanning several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country and it is not unusual for pilgrims to stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds.

TTD, or Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam manages the affairs of the temple, the well being of the pilgrims, the upkeep of the environs in and around the Tirumala hills and sponsors several undertakings that are religious, charitable, social and educational in nature. References to Tiruvenkatam abound in early Tamil literature(Tolkappiam and Silappadikaram) .

Explicit reference to the Lord of Tiruvenkatam is found in the works of the early Tamil Saint Poets Poigai Alwar, Bhuthathu Alwar and Pay Alwar as well as in the poems of the later Alwars. The great religious leader Ramanuja Acharya is said to have visited here in the 11th - 12th century AD. References to Venkatachalam are also found in several of the Puranas. Tirumalai constitutes one of the 108 Sri Vaishnava Divya Desams - sacred shrines in the Sri Vaishnavite tradition.

Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar Empire is said to have visited this temple 7 times. An image of his is also found in the temple. The Venkatesa Itihasa Mala and the Varaha Purana contain several legends connected with Tirumalai.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Lord's Wedding

Tirupati, the Home of Lord Venkateswara has long been the destination of many a newly wed couple. The temple is believed to have a particular signification for newly weds as it is believed to be place where Lord Venkateswara married Padmavathy.

An interesting tale forms the backdrop to the temple. Quarrels are not unknown between happily wed couples and the divine ones are no different. Following a spat with Lord Vishnu, Goddess Lakshmi left her heavenly abode and came down to the earth. Here she stayed in a hermitage on the banks of the Godavari.

Missing his beloved, Lord Vishnu went to search of her and this search brought him to earth. Ultimately his quest brought him to the Seshadri hills where he stopped to rest in an anthill. Upset by the separation between Vishnu and Lakshmi, Lord Brahma and Lord Shiva decided to intervene. Taking the guise of a cow and a calf they went to live at the place of a Chola king.

The cowherd took them everyday to graze in the Seshadri hills where the cow would secretly visit the anthill where Vishnu was living without sustenance. Emptying her milk, the cow would then return to the palace.

The cowherd was angry as the cow never yielded any milk to him. He watched movements carefully and his explorations brought him to the anthill. In trying to ascertain what lay beneath the anthill, he struck it with an axe thus injuring Vishnu on the forehead.

In search of herbs to heal the wound, Lord Vishnu wandered far and wide. His wanderings brought him to the Shrine of Sri Varahaswamy - the third incarnation of Vishnu as a boar. Here, he sought permission to stay, but Varahaswamy wanted a rental to be paid; Vishnu pleaded that he was poor now and needed rent free accommodation. To reciprocate this gesture of goodwill, he said he would tell his devotees to worship Varahaswamy before they worshipped him. The contract sealed, Vishnu built a hermitage and lived there waited on by a devotee, Vakuladevi who looked after him like a mother. In a nearby kingdom ruled King Akasha Rajan. Childless for many years, he had one day found a beautiful baby girl sleeping on a golden lotus in a golden box while ploughing the fields. He had named her Padmavathy. A beautiful and accomplished girl, Padmavathy had been granted a boon in her earlier birth that she would be married to Lord Vishnu. One day, Vishnu, who had been renamed Srinivasan by his devotee and foster mother Vakuladevi, went hunting in the forest. His wandering led him to a garden with a pond. Srinivasan was thirsty and tired. After drinking from the pond, he rested in the shade of a tree. Soon the soft singing of Padmavathy who was dancing in the garden with her companions roused him. He was stunned by her beauty and drawn to her. She too seemed to be drawn to him, but the angry attendants thinking him a mere hunter drove him away.

Depressed and unhappy he poured his troubles out to Vakuladevi. Now for the first time, he revealed to her who he really was and also told her the story of Padmavathy.

In the meanwhile, Padmavathy was dreaming of Srinivasa. She had no idea who he really was and knew that her parents would never let her be married to a hunter.

Srinivasa urged Vakuladevi to approach Padmavathy's father, Akasha Raja, with the marriage proposal. In the meanwhile he disguised himself as a soothsayer and went to the court of Akasha Raja. There, he assured Padmavathy that the hunter she had fallen in love with was no ordinary man but the Lord and told her that the worries would soon be over. Padmavathy too poured out her heart to her parents. At about the same time, Vakuladevi arrived with the marriage proposal. After consulting with the sages Akasha Raja accepted the proposal and invited Srinivasa to attend the wedding on Friday, the 10th day of Vaikasi.

Srinivasa now had arrangements to make. He sought a loan of one crore and 14 lakh coins of gold from Kubera and had Viswakarma, the divine architect create heavenly surroundings in the Seshadri hills.

The day of the wedding arrived, Lord Srinivasa was bathed in holy waters and dressed in jeweled ornaments befitting a royal bride groom. Then he set off in a procession for the court of Akasha Raja. There Padmavathy waited radiant in her beauty. Srinivasa was hailed with an arthi and led to the marriage hall. There the queen and King washed his feet while sage Vasishta chanted the Vedic mantras. Soon the wedding was over and it was time for Padmavathy to take leave of her parents.

Together, they lived for all eternity while Goddess Lakshmi, understanding the commitments of Lord Vishnu, chose to live in his heart forever.

Tirupati, today, stands as a special place, commemorating the marriage between the two. Everyday, a kalyana utsavam celebrates the divine union in a celebration that stretches to eternity. Even today, during the Brahmotsavam at the temple, turmeric, kumkum and a sari are sent from the temple to Tiruchanur, the abode of Padmavathy. In fact Tirupati is rarely visited without paying a visit to Tiruchanur.

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Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Head Shaving at Shri Lord Venkateswara - Balaji

Tirupati Balaji Temple is almost famous for its head shaving, wealth and its laddus. Every day about 30000 devotees have offered their hair to Lord Venkateswara by thinking that their all troubles will disappear along with their hair.

As per the Vaishavite tradition in tirupati, it is compulsory for the devotees to offer their hair to the lord Venkateswara which symbolizes effacing of the ego. Not only for men who partake in this ritual but also have children and women of all ages shave their head in Tirupati.The tonsuring facilities are available at tirumala hills on cost of Rs. 10/- per head. The barber places at Kalyana Katta, a massive four floor building operating round the clock, near the temple. Devotee can take bath after tonsuring at near Kalyana Katta. Bathroom facilities are also provided by the TTD trust. After taking a holy dip in the Pushkarini tank, devotee can visit the temple for Darshan. There is a very short legend about hair offering at tirupati.

Story of Hair Offering at Tirumala-Tirupati

After the departure of Mahalakshmi due to Bhirigu rishi, Lord Vishnu left Vaikuntha and went to earth in the search of Mahalaxmi. Ultimately his quest brought him to the Seshadri hills where he stopped to rest in an anthill. Listening about the separation of Vishnu and lakshami, Brahma and Shiva got upset and decided to intervene. Thereafter Brahma and lord shiva took to form of cow and its calf and went to live at the place of a Chola king. The sun god informed to goddess lakshami about the plan of Brahma and shiva and requested her to sell the cow and calf to the king of the Chola country assuming the form of a cowherdess.

The chola king bought the cow and its calf and sent them to graze in the Seshadri hills. On this hill, the cow would secretly visit the anthill where Vishnu was living without sustenance. Emptying her milk, the cow would then return to the palace. The cowherd was angry because cow never yielded any milk to him. To find out the reason behind that, he watched movement carefully and his explorations brought him to the anthill. He discovered the cow emptying her under over the ant-hill. The cowherd got wild over the conduct of the cow, and he aimed a blow with his axe on the head of the cow. Because the cow was the actually Brahma, the Lord Vishnu rose from the ant-hill to receive a wound in the head, resulting in a loss of some hair.

When all this happen, there were one witnessed of this matter, named Neeladri, She quickly rushed forward to offer her own hair to replace what the Lord had just lost. Thus was born the tradition of offering hair to Lord Balaji at Tirumala.

Hair business at tirupati :-

TTD exports human hair on a lot of quantity to the many countries. There is a high demand for the hair in Europe especially long hair of women. The tonsured hair of Men is used to extract a protein called L-Cystein. This protein is used in a many products, also including eatable products. The hair is also used in coat linings and Chinese hair industry mixes it with hair from china to make cheap wigs and hair extensions Even Hollywood star also used the Indian hair. Because they think that other countries hair has damage due to use of various chemicals shampoo to clean and beatify their hair, Whereas Indian peoples use natural methods to protect their hair. So that Indian hair is natural, strong, durable and can be colored. It is assumed that the final product which made from Indian hair is very costly.