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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What all should I know about the Tirupati Venkateswara temple complex?

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Tirumala Venkateswara Devasthanam or the Venkateswara Temple is located on the seventh peak,Venkatachala (Venkata Hill), of the Tirumala hills, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. The seven peaks of the Tirumala hills represent the seven heads of Adisesha. The most visited temple by Hindus, it is also one of the richest temple in the world. According to Hindu Mythology, 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.


  • History

    Around 5th century AD Tirupati was an established center of Vaishnavism when it was praised by Alvars (Vaishnava saints), belonging to the Bhakti movement. The temple was evolved and maintained by many kingdoms including Pallava (9th century AD), Chola (10th century AD) and Vijayanagar (14th and 15th century AD) but it was only during the time of Vijayanagar when the location got its identification and temple's assets were accumulated. Between 15th to 19th century, there was the invasion by the Islamic rulers and the British in southern part of India, but the temple survived both and the latter twice. In 1933 the Madras legislature passed a special act in which the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was given the powers of administration and control.

  • Architecture

    The temple has Dravidian architecture with exquisitely-carved doorways, mandapams and shrines. During the rule of Vijayanagar Kingdom, a lot of gold was donated to the temple which enabled the Vimana (inner shrine) and the roofing to be plated with gold. The inner temple or vimanam houses the main deity, Lord Sri Venkateswara who stands directly beneath a gilt dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana. This exquisitely made deity, called the Mulaberam, is believed to be self-manifested, no human being is known to have installed it in the shrine. Lord Venkateswara bears Sri Lakshmi Devi on his right chest and Sri Padmavathi Devi on his left chest. The main door is called the Padi Kavali Maha Dwara, which has a quadrangular base. A number of gods like Vaishnava, Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha can also be seen here.

  • Deities in the Temple

    The main deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara also known as Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram. Other deities include Bhoga Srinivasa so named as it enjoys all the Bhoga (worldly pleasures) which the Moolavirat has, Ugra Srinivasa which represents the anger part of Lord Venkateshwara, Utsava Beram which comes out of the temple to see the devotees and Koluvu Srinivasa which resembles the main deity and represents the presiding officer for all activities and rituals in the temple.


  • Darshan

    Around 50,000 pilgrims visit the temple everyday, so Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has organised efficient ways to ensure smooth movement of the pilgrims by providing different kinds of Darshan. The entry for the Darshan is through Vaikuntam Queue Complex which is a series of interconnected halls that leads to the main temple. The halls in the Queue Complex are clean, spacious and airy and TTD provides a wide range of facilities in the complex.
    The
    Sarvadarshan is for all, free of cost and at temple timings. Seeghra Darshan is to provide quick Darshan for the pilgrims and it cost INR 300 per pilgrim. Seeghra Darshan tickets are issued on all the Sarva Darshan timings. Divya Darshan is provided for pedestrian who come on foot to Tirumala through Gali Gopuram or Srivari Mettu. The Sudarsanam token system was introduced to minimise the waiting time for Sarvadarshanam, Special Darshan and other paid darshan or sevas and is priced at INR 50 per token.
    Keep in mind to collect your
    Sudarsanam token only from TTD run counters as the tokens issued by others are not valid. Remember no to exchange tokens and do not trust touts.


  • Sevas and Festivals

    The temple has various sevas including daily, weekly and annual sevas which costs between INR 120 to INR 12500. It is believed that Lord Sri Venkateswara enjoys festivals (utsavams) so every moment in Tirumala is considered a festive occasion. The most important festival celebrated in the temple is the Brahmotsavam. Other festivals include Vaikuntha Ekadasi, Rama Navami, Vasanthotsavam, Rathasapthami and Janmashtami.

  • Offering Hair

    It is a unique custom in Tirumala to offer hair known as the Tonsure ceremony. Tonsure and Tirumala go together as devotees vow and offer their hair to the Lord. This forms a symbolic sacrifice of the ego. The ceremony is done at Kalyana Katta which is a massive four floor building operating round the clock. It costs only INR 10 per head and is followed by a holy dip in the Pushkarini Lake after which the devotees proceed to the Temple for darshan. Everyday around a ton of hair is collected which is gathered and sold a few times a year by public auction to international buyers. It is believed that hair offered by the devotees is accepted by Neela Devi on whose name The hill Neeladri is named.


The sacred and ancient temple entails divinity in the pilgrims and brings them closer to the God. Keep in mind the Darshan timings for a smooth visit.

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