Showing posts with label Tirupati Balaji. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tirupati Balaji. Show all posts

Sunday, September 27, 2009

World’s Richest God is flooded with gold and diamonds

I pray to the world's richest God to sprinkle some richness in my lap too! An Indian God is weighed down, not only with the prayers and requests of the millions of followers, but also with more than 11,000 kg of gold, ornaments and other precious jewels. On any given day, the 8ft main idol of Lord Venkateswara of Tirumala is decked up with at least 60-70 kg of gold ornaments. Just a single crown weighs about 30 kg. The temple, also known as Tirupati Venkateswara Temple, is the richest and the most visited place of worship of Hindus in the world.

Just last month, the reigning deity in Tirupati was offered a new and the most expensive gold crown studded with precious diamonds. The crown, made of 32 kilograms of pure gold and 70,000 diamonds was offered by the state’s minister for tourism and a well known industrialist. The crown cost $9 million, making it the biggest offering to the Tirumala temple. What makes the 2.5 feet long crown even more precious and valuable is the big emerald studded at its forehead. The 890 carat emerald was imported from Africa and has cost almost half a million dollars ($400,000) to the donor.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanams

The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. It is by the Lord's presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.

The Temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a piligrimage to Venkatachala 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.

The Temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect which advocates the principles of equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice.

The sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala.

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Saturday, September 12, 2009

the pilgrimage destinations of south India, Tirupati-Balaji

Among all the pilgrimage destinations of south India, Tirupati-Balaji has an inimitable position and is recognized for the much popular Lord Venkateshwara deity, which is visited by numerous tourists all the year round. The meaning of the name Tirupati-Balaji is ‘lord of Lakshmi’. The renowned shrine of the deity is located on a hill at Tirumala, which is a cluster of seven hills. When you travel to Tirupati-Balaji, you must pay a visit to this temple, which is one of the lively cultural and philanthropic institutions with an impressive history. The Dravidian architecture depicted through this shrine will take you back to the ancient times.

There are numerous places to see in Tirupati-Balaji and the Lord Venkateshwara temple is the best known among these. This temple is a Mecca for the Hindu pilgrims and devotees line up in long serpentine queues to offer prayers and offerings to the deity. The other leading places of tourist interest you will come across here are Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple, Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple and Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple. Due to the presence of these hallowed shrines at this picture perfect town, tourism in Tirupati-Balaji is increasingly growing in popularity.

Apart from these attractions, further excitement awaits you when you embark on the weekend excursions. On a fine day, you can set out for a journey that will take you to the interesting sites such as Chandragiri, Sri Kalahasthi, Agastyaswamy Temple, Kalyani Dam, Horsley Hills and Kailasakona Waterfalls. The fun and excitement get enriched when your tour covers the festive seasons. The entire town pulsates with a festive spirit. Brahmotsavam is the most prominent among the festivals here. The temple car festival is also marked with great excitement and enthusiasm.

Another festival that is also characterized by the same degree of fervor and zeal is the Vijayanagar Festival which is held at the famous Chandragiri Fort. To be a part of these festivals is equally an exciting experience.

Tirupati-Balaji offers a number of excellent lodging facilities for the travelers. You can put up in any choice of accommodation you like and expect the finest hospitality and world class facilities and services. There are many luxury and budget category hotels that are located in and around Tirupati-Balaji.

Tirupati-Balaji is well-linked by air, rail and road. The nearest airport and railhead is Chennai and the town can be easily reached from Bangalore and Hyderabad by road.

Arti of Tirupati Balaji

Tirumala - Tirupati - General

Tirupati is one of the holiest places in Hinduism and is well known as kaliyuga vaikuntam by its devotees. Tirupati, or Aadhi Varaha Kshetra, as it is known in the Puranas (Scriptures on Hindu Mythology), is an important mountainous pilgrimage site in the Hindu world. It is dedicated to Vishnu the second deity of the Hindu Holy Trinity who assumes the role of preserver of the cosmos. In this temple Vishnu resides as Venkateswara, an avatar or incarnation of Vishnu. The goddess Sri, or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort), resides on the chest of Venketeswara thus he is also known by the epithet Srinivasa (the one in whom Sri resides). The deity is seen by devotees as the Kaliyuga varada, that is the boon-granting lord of Kaliyuga (the fourth age of Hindu horology). Tirupati is held in particular reverence by the Vaishnava sect of South India, known as the Sri Vaishnava. Sri Venkateswara has another polular name Tirupati Thimmappa. Tirupati Thimmappa is very much alive in janapada (Dalit and Backward Castes) culture of south India. When people take piligrimage to Tirupati, they chant 'Tirupati Thimmappana Padakke Govinda'or 'Ezhu Gundala Vada Govinda'

Tirupati is the second richest religious institution after the Vatican City and is one of the most revered Hindu temples in India. The temple has universal appeal in India, regardless of state of origin.


Tirumala - Tirupati - History of the Shrine

The origins of the site are legendary. Its beginnings are shrouded in great antiquity and its origins are still a matter of scholarly debate. Sangam literature, the earliest of Tamil literature (dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D), mentions Tirupati as Thrivengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms. Sangam literature, such as Ilango Vadigal's Silapadikaram and Satanar's Manimeghalai, bear testimony to the existence of a shrine at Tirupati. Puranic literature which was composed roughly around the post-Mauryan and early-Gupta era also mentions of Tirupati as the Aadhi Varaha Kshetra. The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The Varaha shrine holds great importance in Tirupati and is said to be older than the main sanctum of Venkateswara. While some scholars accept the antiquity of the shrine they believe that the image of Venkateswara was not originally that of Vishnu but of a buddhist deity, perhaps bodhisattva avalokiteswara. The region of Andhra in which Tirupati is located in was already known for the existence of ancient Buddhist sites of the Satavahana era, namely Nagarjunakonda and Amravati, thus scholars suggest that the ancient site of Tirupati was probably a buddhist site prior to its transformation into a Hindu one after Buddhism saw its decline in the face of Guptan Hindu Rennaissance. Even up to the time of Ramanuja, the famous Vaishnava scholar of the 12th century, the identity of the deity was still disputed until Ramanuja confirmed it to be Vishnu.

Whatever its origins, it was probably a well established Hindu shrine by the 5th century A.D, whenceforth the Alvars or Vaishnava saints who led the Bhakti or Devotional movement in South India sung in praise of Lord Venketeswara as Vishnu. For the centuries to come Tirupati was richly endowed by the kings and emperors of various dynasties thus adding to its current reputation as the richest and most opulent temple in the world. The Imperial Cholas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara emperors were just some of the contributors for building the temple and donating gold and other ornamanents for the temple. Tirupati survived the Moslem plunder of South India without being plundered by the invading Moslem rulers of Delhi, unlike other temples such as the Meenakshi Sundareswara in Madurai and Srirangam. Under the invasions the idol of Sriranganatha, the deity of Srirangam was brought to Tirupati for safekeeping. To remember this event, a hall in Tirupati is still known as the Ranganatha mandapa. It was under the regime of the Vijayanagara emperors that the temple attained its current opulence and size. The emperors of the dynasty, in particular Krishna Deva Raya, lavished on the temple numrous objects of priceless value, ranging from diamond studded crowns to golden swords. The coronation ceremonies of the emperors were also held at Tirupati.

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Wednesday, September 2, 2009

On The Human Hair Tonsured at Tirumala Tirupati Temple

In 2007, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams is planning to sell human hair worth 450 million Indian Rupees. This is an all time record for the famous shrine in India dedicated to Lord Balaji (Vishnu). The human hair from Hindu temples like Tirupati is nicknamed ‘Temple Hair’ and is of great demand due to its spiritual value.

Head tonsuring at the 1200-year-old Venkateshwara temple is a symbolic gesture –surrendering one's ego to God. Hindu devotees also offer their hair to Lord Balaji for favors received, to show gratitude and respect. And go on a pilgrimage to Tirupati to shave off their hair.

It is not the men alone who partake in this ritual; children and women of all ages shave their head in Tirupati. And there is a high demand for the long hair of women in Europe. It is estimated that more than 1500 women partake in this tonsuring ceremony daily and the number goes high on festival and auspicious days. The women’s hair ends up in salons across the world for making hair extensions and wigs.

The tonsured hair from men is used to extract a protein called L-Cystein. This protein is used in a range of products including eatables. Men’s hair is also used in coat linings and Chinese hair industry mixes it with hair from china to make cheap wigs and hair extensions.

Now, who uses the hair from Tirupati? It is said that several Hollywood stars prefer Indian hair. Why? They are the best quality and also due to the spirituality angle. Majority of the Indian men and women use natural methods to protect their hair unlike people from other countries who use various chemicals (shampoo) to clean and beautify their hair. So the Indian hair is natural – strong and durable and can be colored, curled, heated and blow-dried. It is said that the final product made from an Indian hair is sold between $1000 to $3000.

Hundreds of barbers work round the clock to meet the high demand of tonsuring, which is carried out at kalyanakatta, an enclosure inside the temple. The hair is segregated in grades. Hair that is black and longer than 16 inches is of the highest quality. Second quality is the black hair in length between 8 and 16 inches. Next is black hair shorter than 8 inches. The next two categories are the lowest and consist of grey and other colored hair.

Till 2000, the sale of hair annually was between 100 to 150 million rupees. But then there was a global surge in demand for human hair and the temple decided to invite global tender for hair purchasing. Within a couple of years, the annual earning from human hair increased from 150 million rupees to 330 million rupees and this year it is expected to break all existing records.

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Govinda Hari Govinda - Vishnu Bhajan Song - Tirupati Venkateswara Bhajan

7 Wonders of India: Tirupati

Located on the Venkatachalam hill that forms part of the seven hills of Tirumala, the temple complex comprises of a smaller traditional temple building along with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, also known as Balajior Srinivasa. In Vaishnava tradition, the temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desam sites. As a tradition, pilgrims shave off their hair on visiting the temple. Also known as Seshachala. It is the most visited Hindu place of worship, and is the world's second richest in terms of the offerings made by pilgrims to the God. It is the second most visited holy place after the Vatican.

Monday, August 31, 2009

Lord Balaji at Tirumala

There is an interesting story that Kubera has granted a huge amount of loan to Lord Balaji, the highest diety in kaliyug, for his marriage and Lord Balaji agreed to repay the interest from the collections of temple at Tirupati, Andra Pradesh State, India. We don't know how far the story is true. But, Hindu people have got much faith on Lord Balaji who is also known as Lord Venkateshwara.

It is said that a turning point will come in the life of a suffering person, if he visits this temple once. Many people regularly visit the temple before performing a good deed or before starting a new business. Common people will also make a visit to this temple with a hope that something good will happen in their life. The tourists from all the countries and all the parts of India come to Tirupati and like to have the darshan of Lord Venkateshwara. Many businessmen give a share of profit to this temple, on a regular basis. By the grace of Lord Balaji, the impossible things are made possible and the delighted people want to thank him in the form of putting some money in the Hundi at the temple. The daily Hundi collections exceed Rupee one crore and some people put gold, silver coins and jewellery also in the Hundi.

The people stand in long queues patiently, to have the darshan for few seconds. People believe that Lord Venkateshwara will come to our rescue if we give him a call and relieve us from our problems, whether we are a strong devotee or not. Many people give a vow to the Lord that they will visit Tirupati temple and leave the ego by tonsure, that is giving away the prestigious hair. Some people engage in fasting and do prayers to Lord venkateshwara to win his grace. Some people like to walk from foot of the Tirupati hills. Some people visit tirupati, before starting arrangement for marriage, to submit the wedding card at the lotus feet of Lord Balaji.

Special types of darshan facilities are also available. The VIPs and rich people make use of these to have the sacred darshan of Lord Balaji. On holidays, Saturdays and Sundays, there will be heavy rush. Special transport facilities are available from all parts of India, for visiting Tirupati. Also, advance booking for darshan can be made from many places and online booking facilities are also available.

The most auspicious function in Tirupati is the brahmotsavam festival and devotees from all over India and even from foreign countries, will be awaiting eagerly, to visit Tirupati at the time of this festival. It is believed that the creator of mankind the Lord Brahma first conducted this festival and hence, named as brahmotsavam. Normally, in the month of October, brahmotsavam is celebrated for a period of nine days. The rite of ankurarpana, that is sowing of seeds is performed in the evening, with a puja for Sri Vishvaksena, who removes obstacles, before commencement of brahmotsavam. On the first day, the commencement of brahmotsavam is marked by hoisting of the garuda flag at the Dhvajastambham. By this, Garuda will reach devalokam to invite all devas for this function.

Daily homas and procession of utsava murthi on different chariots are performed on all the nine days. The last day is the Birth star of Lord Balaji and so, it is celebrated very grandly with special alankarams and abishekams. The sudharshana chakra is bathed in pushkarani and the devotees are blessed with the holy water dripping down from this chakra which is placed on a high platform. The lowering of garuda flag is known as dhvajavarohanam, which marks the end of the festival. The common people join with the priests and pay respects to Gods and Sages. Ther Veda Mantras are chanted by all. The festival is really a feast for millions of devotees.

So, please visit Tirupathi once, and get the blessings of Lord Balaji.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Meaning of Tirupati Balaji

The word "Venkateshwara" or "Venkatesa" is a combination of three words, namely,(1) VEM meaning 'sin' or 'papam'(2) KATA meaning 'destroy' or 'wash away'(3) ISA OR ISHWARA meaning 'GOD' or 'Lord'.Thus, the word Venkateswara or Venkatesa means 'God who destroys sins of His devotees'.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Tirupati Balaji Tirupati Balaji

The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.It is by the Lord's presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.

Tirupati Tirumala Balaji TempleThe temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestowed of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.

There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara. 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 (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.

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. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.

Temple Legends
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.

The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.

According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Govinda Hari Govinda

Govinda Hari Govinda. Govinda Hari Govinda is the Bhajan Song of Lord Vishnu or Venkateswara. This is a slight variation of the Venkateswara Govinda Namavali devotional song of Mahavishnu by repeating "Govinda Hari Govinda Venkataramana Govinda" a few more times after each stanza. The beautiful devotional song was chanted by Tirupati Thirumala Devastanam Singers (TTD Singers).

Friday, August 21, 2009

Hare Krishna Kirtan by Radhanath Swami - Tirupati 31-01-2007

HH Radhanath Swami Maharaj leads an ecstatic kirtan during abhisheka at the Inauguration Festival of the new ISKCON temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, South India

Monday, August 17, 2009

Lord Venkateswara - Tirupati Balaji

he idol of Lord Vishnu, just to have a glimpse of whom people from different parts of India ...different parts of the world rushes to come and stand in queue for hours after hours is Tirupati Venkateswara.

Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati is believed as the last incarnation of Lord Vishnu. It is in the southern Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, 130 kms from the Chennai (Madras), on Tirumala hills from where Lord Venkateswara - popularly known as Balaji - showering his eternal blessing and kindness to the mankind. He is believed to be the one of the manifestation of Lord Vishnu.

The Tirumala Tirupati temple of Lord Venkateswara Balaji in Andhra Pradesh attracts millions of visitors every year. The deity is Extremely Lively and people keeps on standing hours after hours on the queue for offering pooja. This is one of the common belief in the mind of people that whatever you will give to Lord Venkateswara of Tirupati in the name of Puja, God will return you several multiple of that.

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.