Divine Traveller
Divine Traveller

Sree Venkatesa Perumal Temple-Tirumala

Venkatesa
Sree Venkateswara Perumal (file picture)

This is one the 108 divya desams and a very popular temple in India and overseas situated in Tirumala Hills,AP. The crowd is always perinneal about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily and several times more on special occassions.The temple is situated at about 138 km from Chennai, 291 km from Bangaluru

The temple in Thirumala is surrounded by seven 'Parvathams' (seven hills)Venkatathri,Neelathri,Garudachalam,Vrushabadri,Anjanthri,Narayanathri and Seshachalam.

Thee are many legends associated with Thirumala from puranas such as Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa Purana, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Legend from the Varaha Purana is considered popular. However, the crux of all the legends is that Lord Maha Vishnu assumed the form of Sri Venkateswara to save the living beings on the earth from the hardships of the Kali Yuga.

Balaji Temple
Venkatesa Perumal temple

A five storied Gopuram about 50 feet leads to the temple. You have to go via big devotees' waiting halls in batches that will lead you right into the praharam.Even in normal days you will be jostled by the crowds and you will rarely have any time to see around and appreciate. Frankly, though I have visited several times, I hardly recollect the architecture and apperance of the temple structure. Your concentartion will be on seeing the Lord among the frantic chants of 'Govinda','Ezhumalai vasa' etc.

The moolavar Srinivasa or Sree Venkatachalapathy or Balaji or Thiruvekandamudian or Govinda as he is fondly knaown by many names, is seen in 'Nindra kolam' (standing posture). with chatur pujam (four hands) one in varada posture, one placed over his thigh and other two holding the Conch (Sangu) and Sudarshana Chakra respectively. The sanctum (garbagriham) is lit with oil lamps only and the lord with his costliest costumes of gold and precious stones looks beautiful,displaying Goddess Lakshmi on the right chest and Goddess Padmavathi on the left.You are lucky if you can have darshan of the Lord Srinivasa for 60 seconds. You will be forcibly pushed out by the guards in an effort to control the crowd.

There are other deities in the praharam such as deities of Rama,Sita, Lakshmana, Rukmini and Sri Krishna,Chakratalwar,Garuda, Yoga Narasimha, Varadaraja, Kubera, Anjaneya in their respective small shrines or the niches of the wall.The vimanam ( gopuram over the sanctum) is a beautiful gold plated structure with Vimana Venkateswara. It is customary to have a darshan of this when you come out.

Utsavar Kalyana Venkateswarar,Malayappa swamy

Prathyaksham King Thondaiman, Lord Subramanya

Thayar  of this sthalam is Sree Padmavathi Thayaar, but her sannidhi is at Tiruchanoor or Alarmelmangapuram.

Other Sannidhis: There is a seperate sannidhi for Sri Adi Varahar situated in Sri Bhu Varaha Swamy temple which is located to the north of Lord Sri Venkateswara Swamy temple, on the banks of Swami Pushkarini. The moolavar Sri Bhu Varaha Swamy, an avatar of Lord Sri Maha Vishnu in the form of a wild boar,is said to have been on the hills when Lord Sri Venkateswara as Srinivasa descended onto the earth.It is customary to visit here first and then proceed to see Srinivasa perumal. Neivethyams (offerings) are first made to this deity and only then taken to Sri Venkatachalapathy.

Mangalasasanams The temple is revered by 202 verses by Andal and other Alwars.

Restrictions and dress code Gents must enter the temple in a decent attire. Not shorts or lungis.Ladies should come in saree or half saree or Chudidars with dupatta(upper cloth)

The security checks are as stringent as you can see in airports, with metal detectors,body frisking,bag scanning.

The temple is very strict in allowing electronic items such as mobile phones,camera,ipads,walkman,earphones and even your smart watches and Fitbits. All the prohibited items are to deposited in the cloak room near the temple entrance. The devasthanam designated cloak room does a good job of taking care of your personal items and the visitors need not worry.

Temple location The temple is located at the town of Tirumala hills. As the saying goes, all the roads lead to Tirumala temple in Tirumala.

Temple Timings
03.00 am to 11.00 pm almost without any break. There are free darshan queues and pre paid queues where you are assured of darshan. You will be given a bar coded band after booking at designated counters or online and you are required to carry an ID proof. Senior citizens and physically disabled are offered a much shorter queue at certain period of the day.
Beleifs and Practices Devotees offer their hair here at Tirumala as a fulfilment of wishes. Many devotees walk from foothils of Tirupathi till the temple at Tirumala. Some ardent devotees even undertake 'pada yatra' from places far off such as Chennai.There are sevas such as Kalyan Utsavam,Unjal seva etc which devotees perform after their wishes are fulfilled.

There is a big Hundi and several other Hundis in the praharam where people offer cash,gold,ornaments in fulfillment of their wishes or anticipation of fulfillments. Thulabaram is another ritual where a devotee offers equivalent to his weight jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana,rice etc. It is rare in elders but mostly done for newborn or children.

Festivals

There are many festivals celeberated almost throughout the year.The following are some important festivals. Nine day event Sri Venkateswara Brahmotsavams,is celebrated every year during month of October, is the major event of Sri Venkateswara Temple. During brahmotsavams the processional deity Malayappa along with his consorts SriDevi and BhuDevi, is taken in a procession in the streets around the temple on different vahanams. Some of the vahanams are Hamsa Vahanam, Simha Vahanam, Garuda Vahanam, Hanumantha Vahanam, Swarna Rathotsavam(Golden Chariot), Gajavahanam, Ashwa Vahanam and many others. Vaikunta Ekadasi is very important in Vaishanva temples, where nearly 100 thousand devotees on a single day wait here to have a darshan of the Lord through a special door "Vaikunta Vasal". Rathasapthami is another festival celebrated during February. The other annual festivals include Rama Navami, Janmashtami, Ugadi, Sri Padmavati Parinayotsavams,Pushpa yagam, Pushpa pallaki,Teppotsavam(Float Festival),Vasanthotsavam

Prasadams Tirupathi Laddu is the most famous of all prasads among the Indian temples. It is delicious and people long for it. Devotees are offered free Laddus according to the value of the entrance ticket. They can buy at seperate counters by paying for them too. Relatives and friends back home surely will ask for one after you return from Tirupathi.

Foot path routes
Alipiri foot path end
trekking path
Alipiri foot Path

How to reach? Tirupathi has an airport with flights from most of the major Indian cities. It also has a rail head and the major railway junction is Renigunta.There are many buses from Chennai,Bangalore and other major cities to Tirupathi. From Tirupathi you have to take the buses chartered by the TTD every 10 minutes almost 24 hours. You can drive your vehicle upto the hills. Be aware that speed restriction apply. If you reach earlier than the stipulated time by speeding, you will be fined haevily. They have mechanisms to monitor the start and arrive time. Many walk from the foothills upto Tirumala for pleasure or as a fulfillment of their prayers. During the climb,footwear is prohibited,you can wear socks. For such devotees who trek uphill,refreshments like buttermilk,water are offfered at frequent intervals.

Parking Parking is a hassle here though lot of spaces available. It is a gamble that you might park nearer to the Temple complex. Remember the place where you park else you will spend time searching as entrance to the temple and exit could be at different gates and directions.

There are many day package services including darshan offered by various travel and tour operators from Chennai. They pick you up from your home or at designated place, take you to Tiruchanoor Padmavathy Thayar temple and to Tirumala Venkatesa temple and back home at various budgets.

Best time to visit The temple is usually less crowded during February to March end where the school public exams are in progress and on Tuesdays, a day the locals usually avoid visiting.

Where to Stay? There are plenty of rooms and cottages available at the Devasthanam at various rates. You are advised to book in advance.There are many choultries of various religious maths are also available free of cost.

Where to eat? The temple provide sumptuos lunch in two various big halls if you can brave the queue and the crowd.There are many restaurants around the temple complex. Use your judgement to visit those. Pack a lunch if you are on a day trip. You can picnic at certain designated spots.

Contact Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams,
TTD Administrative Building, K.T. Road,
Tirupati - 517 501,
Andhra Pradesh, India.
+91-877-2277777 Available (24X7)
Inquiries should be mailed to helpdesk@tirumala.org
WhatsApp No: 9399399399
Most of the requests and bookings such as for darshan,accommodation,seva etc are only through online where you have to register and complete your bookings.
Local offices There are TTD extension counters at major cities of India where you can contact for guidance.


Useful data
State: AP
District:Chittoor
Famous for: Pilgrimage
Languages: English,Tamil,Telegu and a little Hindi
Best Season: Throughout the year.
Weather: Summer 28-35°C, Winter 12-25°C .
Altitude: 853 metres (2,799 ft) above Sea level


Places nearby

Tirupathi or Keezh Tirupathi for Govindaraja Perumal, Tiruchanoor for Padmavathy Thayaar temple,Srinivasa Mangapuram (those who could not go to the Tirumala, They have darshan of Sri Srinavasa Perumal very similar to that of Tirumala. The famous Kalahasthi temple is around 40 kms from here.

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