Friday, December 26, 2008

The legend of Tirupati

In the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh state in S. India is the sacred shrine of Sri Venkateswara (Balaji). The varied names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Venkateswara and Venkatachalapathy. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara, and thus he is also known as Srinivasa (the one in whom Sri resides). This famous ancient shrine occupies the Venkatachalam hill that forms part of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence the temple is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills. The temple is the most visited Hindu place of worship, and is the world's second richest in terms of the offerings made by pilgrims to the God and gifts given by visiting pilgrims. The temple is visited by about 60,000 pilgrims daily! On special occasions and festivals the number of pilgrims shoots up to 200,000, making it the second most visited holy place after the Vatican, annually.

Not many people who visit the temple are aware of the other temples in and around the Tirupati. They include Alamelu mangapuram at Tiruchanooru, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Sri Kalahasteeswara Temple, Kapila Teertham, Govindaraja Swamy Temple, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple and Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami.

The legend surrounding the origin of the temple is described beautifully in the official temple website at http://tirumala.org/maintemple_legends.htm

1 comment:

  1. There is a picture story link in the website. It is nice for the kids.

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