Tirupathi Balaji Temple located in Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh is a famous Hindu temple, dedicated to Lord Vishnu’s incarnation- Venkateshwara. According to Hindu Mythology, Lord Venkateshwara is believed to have appeared on earth to save mankind from the trials and sufferings of people during the ‘Kaliyug’. Lord Venkateshwara is another form of Lord Vishnu, who is known for running and nurturing the earth. Some common other names of Lord Venkateshwara are Venkatachalapathi or Venkataramana or Tirumal devar or Varadaraja or Srinivasa or Balaji or Bithala.
Location of the Tirupati Balaji Temple
Tirupathi Balaji Temple, also known as Venkateswara Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to Venkateswara, a form of Lord Vishnu. It is located in the hill town of Tirumala, at Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. These hills are part of the Seshachalam Hills range
Location: Tirumala, Tirupati, District Chittoor (Andhra Pradesh)
Also known: Kaliyub Vaikuntha
Managed by: Tirumala Tirupathi Devsthanams (TTD)
Tirupati Balaji Temple – Origin of the Name
The name of Lord Venkateshwara, the idol of Tirupati Balaji Temple means the “Lord of Venkata”. Together this name originated by combining two names together, Venkata meaning “a hill in Andhra Pradesh” and iswara which means “the Lord”.
The History of the Tirupati Balaji Temple, Andhra Pradesh
The first temple at Tirumala Tirupati was built by a Tamil ruler from ancient Thondaimandalam dynasty, King Thondaiman in the 8th century.
The first endowment to the temple came in 966 CE when the Pallava Queen Samavai donated some jewels and 2 parts of land 10 acres and 13 acres of land and ordered to use the amount from the sale of that land to celebrate major festivals in the temple. After this, the most celebrated ruler of the Vijayanagara dynasty, Emperor Krishnadevaraya made a huge contribution during his visits.
After the downfall of the Vijayanagara Empire, other rulers from the states of Mysore and the Gadwal Samsthanam began to worship and made their contribution with gold, coins and many other valuables. The temple went through several ups and downs and the control was handed over to many. Firstly, it was led by Golconda in 1956 and then went to the hands of the French followed by British rule. In 1933 the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams was established under the rule of Mahants, who to date manage the temples within Tirupati.
The Legend Associated with the Tirupati Temple
During ’Kaliyug’, on the advice of Narada, saint Bhrigu went to visit the ‘Trimurti’ to find
who among them is the greatest. The sage had a third eye on the sole of his feet, due to which he had an ego. When he visited Vishnu Dhaam, Lord Vishnu ignored him. This angered Bhrigu and he kicked Vishnu in the chest, hurting Goddess Lakshmi who is said to reside in Vishnu’s chest. But Lord Vishnu did not get angry and apologized to the Sage by massaging his feet. While doing so, he squashed the extra eye on the sole of Bhrigu’s foot.
Lakshmi felt insulted by Vishnu’s behaviour and left for Earth. Vishnu bore a human form as “Srinivasa; and found Lakshmi at Tirumala Hills and started meditating there. Lakshmi came to know about the condition of Srinivasa and prayed to Shiva and Brahma, who took the form of Cow and Calf. Lakshmi donated the cow to Chola king. The cow when taken for grazing daily would provide milk to Srinivasa daily.
One day a cowherd saw this started beating the cow, but it was Srinivasa who bore the injury marks. Srinivasa cursed the king to become a demon. When the king repented, Srinivasa said he would get liberated when he takes birth as Akashraja and marries his daughter with Vishnu as Srinivasa.
Depressed with this, Srinivasa, moved to Vakula Devis’ Ashram. There he met a Gandharva princess, ‘Neela’, who was attracted towards him. She realized that a chunk of Srinivasa’s hair was cut off because of the injury from the axe. Neela took pity on him and chopped off her hair and magically attached it to Srinivasa’s head on that spot. Srinivasa was moved by her devotion and changed her status to a goddess. Vishnu proclaimed that his devotees shall shave off their hair and donate it to her temple. From this day till today, hair tonsuring is considered a ritual to keep up the faith in God.
Around the same time, after being cursed by Srinivasa, the Chola king took rebirth as Akasaraja. Since he was childless, he performed a lowing ceremony, when they hit a golden lotus. A baby girl was in the middle, who was named Padmavathi, as she was born in a golden lotus.
Padmavathi soon grew up to become a very beautiful princess. One day while hunting, Srinivasa noticed Padmavathi and was attracted towards her. Suddenly an elephant arose and started chasing the princess. Padmavathi ran towards Srinivasa for protection. The elephant (Actually Ganesh) was actually. When Srinivasa realized this, he let the elephant go away. Srinivasa asked for Padmavathi’s hand in marriage, which was made fun of by her friends. Srinivasa told Vakula Devi about this. She said that she will personally go to Akasaraja and ask for this marriage. To avoid any embarrassment to Vakula Devi, Srinivasa went to Akasaraja’s palace disguised as a female fortune-teller. When the Queen asked about Padmavathi’s marriage, Srinivasa, in the form of the fortune teller said that Padmavathi was to wed Vishnu who is now in the form of Srinivasa, and that someone by the name Vakula Devi will soon come to ask about this marriage. So when Vakula came to ask for the marriage, the royal couple agreed.
The preparations started. But since Srinivasa was very poor, gods suggested Srinivasa pray to Kubera, (the god of wealth), who gave a huge amount of money, jewellery, etc., for the wedding. However, he wanted the money back, to which Srinivasa replied that his devotees will help him repay the loan. After the marriage, when Padmavathi (who was actually Lakshmi) decided to help him repay the loan by taking the form of Dhana Lakshmi, where she provided money to Srinivasa to help him pay back the loan. The couple lived many long years in Tirumala before returning back to Vaikuntha.
Hair Tonsuring at Tirupathi
This is a very unique ritual of this temple, which is considered a holy ritual in South India. In this, people devote a small portion of their hair which is collected by temples. The hair is sold out internationally to generate profits in the temple.
The Architecture of the Tirupati Balaji Temple
The Tirupati Balaji Temple has 3 entrances on 3 different sides. The biggest and main entrance is named Mahadwaram and 50 feet Gopuram is constructed right over this entrance. Following it is the silver entrance named Vendivakili and a golden entrance named Bangaruvakili.
The circumambulation of deities in the temple is known as Pradakshinam. There are two paths for this, known as Mahaprakaram and sampangiprakaram. There are many mandapas, prasadam distribution areas, balippetam etc. on each of the routes.
Anandanilayam vimanam and Garbha-griha spots are some of the marvellous attractions of the temple, where the main deity is housed along with other deities. The place is heavily ornamented with jewels. The deity has Goddess Lakshmi on the right chest and Goddess Padmavathi on the left chest. No pilgrims are allowed to step into this divine place.
Best Time to Visit Tirupati Temple
Summers are very hot here. So, the best time to visit this temple is November to February as the weather is considered pleasant. Since this temple is vast and crowded throughout the year, this span of time can be a better option as the temperature is pleasant.
Do not forget to get yourself registered before being into the temple as registration is a compulsion to enter the holy shrine. And your tour will exceed approximately 2 to 3 hours to visit the entire temple.
Major Festival Celebrated at Temple of Tirupati
The pilgrims believe that Lord Venkateshwara had prime interests in festivals and loved celebrating with all. Keeping this in mind, people at the temple believe to make every day an occasion to celebrate. However, the most important festival celebrated across the state, known as Srivari Brahmotsavam. The festival celebrates the welcoming of Lord Brahma during the month of Asvina.
Brahmotsavam fete is celebrated for around a month in the state as it is followed by various rituals. This festival comes in the month of Asvina (between the months of September and October according to the Gregorian calendar). During this procession, the Hindu deity Lord Venkateswara is taken on a tour across the city on vahanams (a holy vehicle used in historic times). This procession attracts pilgrims from across the nation.
How to Reach Tirupathi Balaji Temple Temple?
The nearest airport is Tirupati Airport. The International airport nearby is Chennai from which place has good connectivity with different corners of the country and abroad. You can easily get taxis from the airport to reach the temple.
The nearest station is Tirupati. From here, you can get a taxi/buses to reach the temple. There is one more station called “Renigunta” junction, which is around 35 km from the temple
Andhra Pradesh has a very good road network that connects Tirupati to other parts of the country. There are private and government bus agencies (both APSRTC and KSRTC) that have daily bus services to this temple. The nearest cities are Chennai (158 km), Bangalore (253 km), and Hyderabad (558 km).
Frequently Asked Questions about Tirupati Balaji Mandir
Q. 1: Who is the main deity at Tirupathi Temple?
Ans: Lord Vishnu
Q. 2: Where is Tirupathi temple located?
Ans: is located in the hill town of Tirumala, at Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
Q. 3: Who is Lord Venkateshwara?
Ans: Lord Venkateshwara is a form of Lord Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared on earth to save mankind from trials and sufferings of people during the ‘Kali yug’.
Q.4: What is Brahmotsav?
Ans: Bramhotsav is a festival that celebrates the welcoming of Lord Brahma during the month of Asvina.
Q. 5: What is the significance of ‘Mokku’ – a ritual of head tonsuring at Tirupathi Balaji?
Ans: As per a popular legend, when Lord Vishnu in the form of Srinivasa was hit on his head by a cowherd, a small portion of his scalp became bald. This was noticed by a Gandharva princess, Neela. Immediately, she cut a portion of her hair and, implanted them on his scalp. Srinivasa was touched by her devotion. He promised her that all his devotees who would visit his abode would offer their hair to him, and she would be the recipient of all the hair received. As per the belief, the hair offered by the devotees is accepted by princess Neela.