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iXiGOers Dec 09 2012

What is the History and Culture of Tirupati?

Reema Bhalla DEC 10 2012
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Tirupati, the place which constantly reverberates with the holy chanting of Om Namo Narayanaya and reminds of delicious laddus distributed as prasadam, is a major pilgrimage city drawing devotees from all over the country and abroad.
Tirupati is prominently known for Tirumala, the place of seven hills which is the abode of great Lord Balaji usually called as Lord Venkateswara or Srinivasa. The city is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh, in Chittoor district, located at the foothills of Eastern Ghats. The temple here is said to be the busiest in the world, eclipsing even Rome, Jerusalem and Mecca with the number of pilgrims visiting it.
The term 'Tirupati' is made of two words, where 'Tiru' means 'Sri' and 'Pati' means 'Husband'. Thus, 'Tirupati' suggests 'Maha Vishnu' or 'Lord of Maha Lakshmi'. Tirumala is located atop the hill which comprises of seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam.

  • Earlier Findings
    Sangam literature, the earliest of Tamil literature (dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D) mentions of Tirupati as Thiruvengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms. The creation and source of this historic city is not well known but what is known is that it was evolved and maintained by many kingdoms including Pallava (9th century AD), Chola (10th century AD) and Vijayanagar (14th and 15th century AD). Even though The Chola and the Pallava maintained the shrine,it was only during the time of Vijayanagar when the location got its identification.

  • Bhakti Movement
    Around 5th century AD it was an established center of Vaishnavism when Tirupati was praised by Alvars (Vaishnava saints), belonging to the Bhakti movement. These saints propagated the saying of Lord Vishnu through poems, devotional songs and literary pieces and were responsible for Bhakti activity in Tirupati. During the 11th century temple rites were formalized by the Vaishnavite Saint Ramanujacharya himself.

  • Islamic and British Intrusion
    During 15th and 16th century, there was the invasion of the Islamic rulers in southern part of India. And later was the invasion on the British, but survived both and the latter twice unlike other temples such as the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and Ranganathaswamy Temple in Srirangam. It is believed that the hilly terrain of the southern ghats deceived the enemy.

  • 20th century to now
    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 through a commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. Earlier a part of Tamil Nadu under Madras Presidency, it was later joined as a part of Andhra Pradesh. The city till now has been famous for its Balaji Temple and been welcoming millions of pilgrims every year.

The holy city of Tirupati is a must visit for anyone, especially Hindus. The rich history and the religious tranquility set in the picturesque hills present a magical image and an unforgettable journey. Know more about the history and culture with Tirupati tourism. Find about your travel schedule to Tirupati at the IRCTC train enquiry page on ixigo.

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