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Lying at the bottom of the Tirumalai Hills in the Chittoor district of Andhra
Pradesh, Tirupati is one of the most ancient and sacred pilgrimage spots in
India. The town is at a distance of about 137 km from Chennai, 258 km from
Bangalore, and 562 km from Hyderabad. The main attraction here is the world
famous Sri Venkateswara temple which is believed to receive more pilgrims than
even Jerusalem and Mecca.
All the great dynasties of the southern
peninsula, including the Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, and the kings and
chieftains of Vijayanagar, were
believed to have been the devotees of this
shrine. Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the
portals of the temple. Even today, these statues can be seen there.
shrine at present is under the administration of the Tirumala Tirupati
Devasthanams (TTD) Committee which is managed by a Board of
Summers at Tirupati are generally hot and humid with the
temperature reaching as high as 40°C. Winters are warm and pleasant and are the
best time to visit Tirupati.
One of the major attractions in Tirupati is the world famous Sri Venkateswara Temple. As a large number of devotees visit this temple everyday, be prepared to wait for almost twenty hours before you can get the darshan of the deity. The other shrines that you can visit while on a trip to Tirupati are Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple, Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple, and Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple. You can also visit Tiruchanur, where the temple of Sri Padmavathi Devi is situated.
Besides continuing the religious trail, excursions around Tirupati take you to some beautiful picnic spots. You can take a trip to Chandragiri to see the famous Chandragiri Fort, or visit Kalyani Dam, Horsley hills or Kailasakona Waterfalls to enjoy the natural beauty. Some other well-known temples which you can see around Tirupati are Sri Kalahasthi, Agastyaswamy Temple, Sri Vedanarayana Swamy Temple, and a shrine dedicated to Kalyana Venkateswara at Narayanavanam.
SRI VENKATESWARA TEMPLE
||Lying on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini (a tank), the ancient temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak of the Tirupati Hills and is a major attraction here. The deity here has been described as the great bestower of boons, and the ancient Hindu texts talk of the benefits acquired by a pilgrimage undertaken to this temple.
A masterpiece of Dravidian architecture, this 12th-century Vaishnavite temple is located at about 18 km north west of Tirupati. The gold-plated spire (Ananda Nilaya Vimanam) over the sanctum sanctorum presents an
awe-inspiring sight as it comes alive with the early rays of the dawn. At night, the vimanam is well illuminated and is the focal point of the night sky atop the Tirumala. The temple flag post is also gold plated and stands tall in all its magnificence.
The idol of Lord Venkateswara, supposed to be a form of Vishnu, has four arms, one holding a conch, the second a discus, the third in the abhaya (blessing) pose, with the fourth resting on the hip. The girdle of the serpent, an emblem of Lord Shiva, encircles both the front arms.
Theoretically, the inner shrines of the temple are open only to Hindus but foreigners are also welcome.
|SRI KAPILESWARASWAMI TEMPLE
|Situated at about 3 km to the north of Tirupati, at the foot of the Tirumala Hill, is Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple. Amidst all the Vaishnava temples in Tirupati, Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple is the only temple dedicated to Lord Siva. The temple has an attractive setting and there is a sacred waterfall called Kapila Teertham or Alwar Teertham located here.
SRI KODANDARAMASWAMI TEMPLE
Built by a Chola king during the tenth century AD, Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple is situated in the heart of Tirupati town. The temple has Rama, Sita and Lakshmana as the presiding deities. Legend has it that this temple commemorates the visit of Lord Rama to Tirupati. The temple of Anjaneyaswami, which is directly opposite, is a sub-shrine of this temple.
Also known as Alamelumangapuram, Tiruchanur is situated at about 5 km from Tirupati. Here one can find a temple of Sri Padmavathi Devi or Goddess Lakshmi, the consort of Lord Sri Venkateswara. It is said that a visit to Tirumalai is fruitful only after visiting the Sri Padmavathi Devi temple. The sub-temples in its premises include the Sri Krishnaswamy Temple, Sri Sundara Rajaswamivari Temple, and Sri Suryanarayana Swamivari Temple.
SRI KALYANA VENKATESWARASWAMI TEMPLE
About 12 km to the west of Tirupati lies the Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram. Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri Padmavathi Devi before proceeding to Tirumala.
Excursions for Tirupati
About 12 km from Tirupati at the confluence of three rivers, namely, Swarnamukhi, Bhima and Kalyan, lies the Agastyaswamy Temple. The temple has three beautifully sculptured entrances that heighten the grandeur of the hall inside. A separate shrine for Goddess Parvati is also located within the temple.
Just opposite the shrine in the middle of the river is a mandap on which the statues of Balaji, Ayyappa and Ganapati have been installed. A small shrine dedicated to Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya is located near the tank.
The town of Chandragiri is located at about 11 km southwest of Tirupati. Once the capital of the Vijayanagar rulers in AD 1600, the town is famous for the Chandragiri Fort that has been built on a 180-metre-high rock. Here one can still come across well-preserved fortifications and some palaces and temples.
This charming little hill station lies on the southwest border of Andhra Pradesh at an altitude of about 1,265 metres above sea level. The resort, named after the former collector of Chittoor, is a fascinating place to visit. Here you can find out valleys clad with teak, mango, sandalwood and eucalyptus plantations.
Situated in the Nagary Valley, this beautiful waterfall is worth a visit. The water here is quite rich in minerals and is said to possess curative powers.
About 18 km from Tirupati, in the Rangampet forest on the Tirupati-Madanapallee Road, lies the Kalyani Dam. The dam is the main water source for Tirupati and Tirumalai.
Nagalapuram is a small town about 65 km south-east of Tirupati. The major attraction of this town is Sri Vedanarayana Swamy Temple. The temple, believed to have been constructed by the Vijayanagar emperor, Sri Krishna Devaraja at the behest of his mother, is a fine specimen of the Vijayanagar style of architecture. The sanctum sanctorum houses an image of Vishnu in his Matsya (fish) incarnation accompanied by Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side. An important aspect of the temple is the Sun worship. The temple has been constructed in a way that every year in the month of March the rays of the sun pass through its gopuram and fall on the idol in the sanctum for three days.
A shrine dedicated to Kalyana Venkateswara is a major attraction at Narayanavanam, a small town situated about 22 km south-east of Tirupati. Legend has it that Lord Venkateswara married Padmavathi Devi, the daughter of Akasa Raja, at this place. To commemorate this great event, Akasa Raja built the temple here.
Located between two steep hills on the banks of the river Swarnamukhi about 36 km from Tirupati, is Sri Kalahasti. Here you can find a temple dedicated to Vayu, the God of wind. The river running north touches the base of the temple.