by on March 9th, 2015
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The abode of Lord Venkateshwar (Balaji), Tirumala is about 3200 feet above the sea level and is spread over an area of around 27 square kilometre. The seven peaks of the hill are known as Sheshadri, Neeladri, Garuradri, Anjanadri, Vrushavadri, Naryananadri and Venkatadri. The temple of Lord Venkateshwar is on the Venkatadri. the seventh peak of the hill and is also known as the “Temple of Seven Hills” or Saptagiri. Lord Venkateshwar, a form of Lord Vishnu, is the presiding deity of the temple. The other names of Lord Venkateshwar, besides Balaji are Govinda, Srinivasa. The temple, a magnificent piece of south Indian style of architecture, is situated on the south bank Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. The devouts join the long queue for darshan of Balaji and wait for several hours patiently. The temple of Lord Venkateshwar is daily visited by 100000 to 125000 pilgrims and on festive occasions the number of visitors increases further more by several lakhs.

The inner temple of the Vimanan houses the presiding deity Lord Venkateshwar or Balaji or Srinivasa. Vimanan is a very beautiful monumental tower with golden roof. Beneath a gilt dome called Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana, the exquisitely wrought deity stands directly. It is believed that the deity is self manifested and none has installed it in the shrine. The Lord Venkateshwar is seen wearing a gold crown with a large emerald embedded in the front and on festive or special occasion the Lord is adorned with a diamond crown. The speciality of Tirupati Balaji is that He has a thick double tilaka on his forehead which almost covers his eyes. A set of beautiful golden earrings decorate his ears. The right hand of the Lord is raised in a fist, which holds a beautifully decorated gem-set Chakra while the left fist contains a Shankha or conch shell. The front right hand fingers of the Lord point at his feet while the front left hand is akimbo. The Lord looks very nice in yellow clothings with gold string and belt. The Yagnapavita – the sacred thread- is flowing down crosswise from the left shoulder of the Lord, appears unique.

It is believed that Sri Lakshmi Devi resides on the right chest of the Lord while Sri Padmavati Devi is on the left chest and as such the Lord is called Srinivasa. Tirupati temple is the richest pilgrimage centre and the system of worship and the procedure has been worked out by the architect of the temple and the father of the Vaishnava community of the region Sri Ramanuja. The flower garden of the temple was also designed by him. There are several waiting halls for the devouts to wait in queue for the darshan of the Lord and the waiting period may range from 8 hours to 24 hours or even more. There is a Hundi (donation pot) in the temple wherein the devotees drop their contribution in the form of gold and money etc. and the collections go as high as 22.5 million Indian rupee a day and the annual gold collections work out to 3000kg. It is believed that during his marriage with Padmavati, the Lord Venkateshwara had to arrange for money to meet the expenses of marriage, which was provided by Kuber and the devotees put their donation in the Hundi so that the loan may be repaid. The deity Lord Venkateshwar symbolises goodness for the worshippers The devouts believe that Lord Venkateshwar is a very merciful form of Lord Vishnu and He fulfills every wish made to Him by the deevotees. On the way to Tirupati, people chant mantras in praise of Lord, like Om namo Narayanaya, Govinda, which give them strength and solace.

During the festival of Adhayanotsavam, the shrine is prominently decorated. This festival is a typical Pancharatra observance. Special worship is conducted during Bhasyakara and Gandhapodi Utsavam when the presiding deity of Ramanuja is taken in a grand procession to meet Malayappa near Padi Kavali

The journey to Tirumala is very interesting with several sharp U turns and the road left behind gives a serpentile look amid picturesque landscapes and hillscapes. The hill top is very beautiful and abound with all sorts of modern facilities, markets, hotels and Devosthanam cottages. A visit to Tirupati Balaji will not only purify your heart but may also fulfill your cherished desire. You will carry with you the pleasure of a devine darshan and the ever lasting taste of special Laddu Prasadam of Balaji together with the other sweet memories of this pious land.

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