Tirupati – Tirumala Tour Packages
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The temple of Lord Venkateswara is one of the holiest pilgrimages of Lord Vishnu. The temple stands on the Venkachala Hill which is the highest peak of the seven sacred hills of Tirumala called Saptagiri. The hills, river and the temple are celebrated in many mythological stories found in the Venkatachala Mahatmya and many Puranas like the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana.
Lord Venkateswara is also called Balaji and Srinivas by his devotees. This ancient temple has called pilgrims from across the land and beyond the seas to its golden doors for centuries. It has seen kings and preachers, singers and poets, the rich and the poor stand at the threshold of the sanctum with folded hands. And the benign Lord listens to all their prayers.
Tirupati is a major pilgrimage and cultural city in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is located at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats, at a distance of 349 kms from Vijayawada, 150 kilometers from Chennai, 250 kilometers from Bangalore and 550 kilometers from Hyderabad. It is one of the richest pilgrimage cities of any religious faith in the world.
Tirupati is famous for Venkateswara Swamy temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, located about 20 kilometers north west of Tirupati in the Tirumala hills at an elevation of 853 meters (2,799 ft). 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. Tirupati has several temples and is a major economical and educational hub in the southern region of the state.
There are seven peaks in the Saptagiri range that are said to be the seven heads of Adishesha, the divine serpent of Lord Vishnu.
The god is often depicted lying on the coils of Adishesha, with the seven hoods of the snake flaring above him, as he rests on the waters of Ananta, the celestial ocean in his heaven Vaikuntha. Today the seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
The temple stands on the highest peak of Venkadri or Venkatachala Hill.It is considered to be another Vaikuntha and there are many myths about this hill. In Hinduism, time has been divided into four ages or yugas and this hill has had a different name in every yuga. In the Krita Yuga it was called Vrishabhachala; in the Treta Yuga it was Anjalachala; in the Dvapara Yuga, Seshachala and the present Kali Yuga it is Venkatachala. And each yuga has its own fascinating mythology.
In the Krita Yuga, a demon named Vrishabhasura prayed and performed mighty penances until Vishnu finally granted him a boon. The demon said he wanted to face Vishnu in battle because he knew that anyone killed by Vishnu immediately gained salvation or moksha and his wish came true as Vishnu’s discuss cut off his head. The hill then was called Vrishabhachala.
Treta Yuga Anjanadevi, the wife of a tribal leader who lived by the banks of the Pampa River came here to pray to Vishnu for a son. She prayed for 12 years and lived on water and fruits brought by Vayu, the God of the Wind. Finally she was blessed with a son named Anjaneya. He was the son of Vayu and we know him as Hanuman. It is said that Lord Rama came here to meet Anjanadevi and bathed in the temple tank Swami Pushkarini. Thus the hill came to be called Anjalachala.
In the Dvapara Yuga , there was a mighty battle between Vayu, the God of the Wind and Adishesha, the divine serpent. Adishesha wrapped himself around the Ananda Mountain in Swarga and Vayu could not blow him away. All the worlds trembled as the battle would not end and finally Vishnu suggested that Adishesha should let Vayu win. At this the serpent stopped fighting and he and the hill were blown to earth. As Adishesha felt sad, Vishnu promised him that he would always reside on this hill which now came to be called Seshachala.
In the Kali Yuga Madhava, a young Brahmin, abandoned his parents, wife and child to live with another woman. He got leprosy and wandered about seeking salvation until he met a group of pilgrims going up the hill. He stood before the deity and begged for forgiveness for his sins and his body was covered in flames and he was cured. Venkata means the power to forgive sins and so the hill is now called Venkatachala.
There are many legends about how Vishnu came to stay on Venkatachala Hill. One of them is around his second avatar of Varaha, the boar. It is said in the Varaha Purana that 8000 yugas ago there was a great flood, a pralaya, and Prithvi, the Goddess Earth sank to the bottom of the ocean and it seemed as if creation had come to an end.
Whenever creation is threatened, Vishnu always comes to the rescue. He assumed the form of a boar and descended to the bottom of the ocean in search of Prithvi. Here, in the netherworld, called Patalaloka, he was attacked by a demon called Hiranyaksha and they fought a mighty battle. Varaha defeated the demon and then a triumphant god emerged from the ocean standing on the hood of the Adishesha and with Prithvi resting on his tusks.
Varaha decided to stay on earth and he chose the Venkatachala Hill as his earthly home. However as people were afraid of his form as a boar, he took the more benign form of Vishnu. So in the temple he stands holding the shankha (conch) and the chakra (discus), with his two consorts, Bhudevi and Sridevi beside him.
This myth of the Varaha avatar is connected to another myth about the building of the temple. It is said that when Venkateswara decided to build his temple, the land was given to him by Varaha. It is a bit confusing as both Venkateswara and Varaha are avatars of Vishnu but then faith needs no logic!
Vishnu the god of the Venkatachala Hill is thus called Lord Venkateswara (Lord of Venkatachala) and he is the destroyer of all sins and the generous giver of prosperity. He is called by many names by his devotees. He is Balaji as he floated on the ocean; Srinivasa as Lakshmi resides in his heart; Perumal, the Great Lord; Malaiyappa, Lord of the Hill; and Govinda, the divine Krishna.