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Tirupati is a major pilgrimage and cultural city at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Tirupati is famous for Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, located about 20km north west of Tirupati in the Tirumala hills. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Seshnaga, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
Venkateswara Swamy temple is on Venkatadri hill. The presiding deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of lord Vishnu.Lord Venkateswara is also known by other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
One of the most important pilgrimage centers in the world, the temple draws millions of pilgrims and is the busiest pilgrimage center in the world. It is one of the richest pilgrimage cities of any religious faith in the world. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily and on special occasions and festivals that number reaches to around 500000. Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant the mantra Om Namo Narayanaaya or Om Sri Venkatesaya Namah (in Sanskrit).
So aao chale Tirupati-Balaji !!
Renigunta 10 km from Tirupati serves as an entrance city to Tirupati. The airport and railway station to Tirupati is Renigunta which serves direct flights from Delhi, Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore as well as trains. Also the Bangalore-Chennai National Highway passes through Renigunta and there are direct buses connecting it to Bangalore, Chennai,Hydrabad, Vizag and other cities. From Renigunta there are frequent buses as well as local taxis to Tirupati city as well as Balaji Temple. For your stay numerous hotels are available at Tirupati catering to the pilgrims. Also there are paid and free accommodations in Tirupati as well as Tirumala for pilgrims run by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). Do visit www.tirumala.org their official website for complete information.
Places Of Interest in Tirupati
Sri Venkateswara Temple Tirupati
Sri Venkateswara Temple opens at 3:00 am and closes at midnight. According to practice the Varahaswami Temple should be visited before visiting Sri Venkateswaraswami Temple
The main shrine includes the Gurbha Gruha and the three successive halls in front of it.
The Garbha Gruha or sanctum is where the main idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara resides. The idol stands majestically in the sanctum directly beneath a gilt and gold plated gopuram called the Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana. It is a 12 x12 feet square structure and its walls were built in 8 th or 9 thcentury with huge cut granite stones.The main idol is believed to be self-manifested and no human being is known to have installed it in the shrine. The idol is decorated with gold and diamond ornaments.The Lord has a thick double patch of upwrought namam drawn with refined camphor, which screens his eyes with a kasturitilakam. The jewelry, apparel and the daily decorations are feast for eyes of the devotees and a special team of priests and temple staff undertake the exercise with pious and devotion. The lotus feet of Lord are covered with gold frames and decked with clinging gold anklets. A strong curved belt of gold encompasses his legs. The Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana was covered with gilt copper plates and surmounted with a golden vase during the reign of the Vijayanagara king, Yadava Raya. Pilgrims are not allowed to enter the Garbha Gruha (beyond Kulasekhara padi (path)).
There is always a huge queue for darshan which can be done through the paid darshan or through the free darshan. The waiting time in the queue is typically 4-5 hours. Around 50,000 people are believed to visit the temple everyday.
The world famous Tirupati Laddu is given at Tirumala Temple as prasadam. Many devotees have their head tonsured as "Mokku" an offering to God. Many Pilgrims also participate in the various sevas performed in the temple by purchasing Arjitha seva ticket.
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