Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a Hindu temple in the hill town of Tirumala, near Tirupati in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
Where is Tirupati
Tirupati is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh, in Chittoor district. it is around 600 km from Hyderabad, 138 km from Chennai and 291 km from Bangalore.
Tirupati is known as the abode of the Hindu god Venkateshvara (also spelt as ‘Venkatesvara’), “Lord of Seven Hills“. About 10-km northwest of Tirupati, at an elevation of 750m, is the sacred hill of Tirumala, which was considered very holy.
Richest Temple in the World
The temple is the Richest Temple, after the Kerala Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, of any faith (at more than INR 50,000 crore and the most-visited place of worship in the world.
The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually on average), while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world.
History of Lord Venkateswara Temple Tirumala
There is no clear history on the origin of the temple of Lord Venkateshwara, but it was maintained and upgraded by various kingdoms. The Pallavas of Kanchipuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Tanjore (10th century), and Vijayanagara pradhans (14th and 15th centuries) were committed devotees of Lord Venkateswara.
During the invasion of Srirangam by Malik Kafur in 1310-11 AD, the Ranga Mandapam of the temple served as the shelter for the presiding deity of Srirangam, Ranganatha Swamy. Later, under the rule of the Vijayanagara emperors, was when the temple gained most of its current wealth and size, with the donation of diamonds and gold.
In 1517 Vijayanagara ruler Sri Krishna Deva Raya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels, enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. Statues of Sri Krishna Deva Raya and his spouse stand in the premises of the temple.
After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire, kings from states such as Mysore and Gadwal worshiped as pilgrims and gave ornaments and valuables to the temple. Maratha general Raghoji I Bhonsle (died 1755) visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple.
There is an idol of Raja Todar Mal who was the revenue minister of Akbar, greeting pilgrims in the premises of the temple.
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD)
In 1843, with the coming of the Madras Presidency, the administration of the Sri Venkateswara Temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century until the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) was established as a result of the TTD Act in 1932.
After independence Andhra state was created on linguistic grounds, wherein Tirupati which had and still has a majority of Telugu speaking population was assigned by Govt. of India, integrating it as part of Andhra.
TTD is operated by a Board of Trustees that has increased in size from five (1951) to fifteen (1987) through the adoption of Acts. The daily operation and management of TTD is the responsibility of an executive officer who is appointed by the government of Andhra Pradesh.
Darshan at Sri Venkateswara Temple
As more than fifty thousand pilgrims visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple every day, TTD has organised efficient systems to ensure the smooth movement of pilgrims.
Vaikuntam Queue Complex
The entrance for darshan is through the Vaikuntam Queue Complex. The complex is a series of inter-connected halls that leads to the main temple. An efficient queue system ensures that pilgrims move in an orderly fashion through the Queue Complex, towards the main temple.
The halls in the Queue Complex are clean, spacious and airy.TTD provides a wide range of facilities in the Queue Complex:
- Food is provided for the waiting pilgrims free of cost.
- Milk, Coffe & Tea provided for waiting pilgrims free of cost.
- Medical aid
- Sale of photographs, calendars and other TTD publications
- Closed Circuit Television, through which devotional programmes and music are relayed
- Cloak rooms near the Vaikuntam Queue Complex entrance
- Places where footwear can be deposited, free of cost (at the entrance)
There are officers to look after the facilities in the Vaikuntam Queue Complex, regulate the queues and attend to complaints.
Sarvadarsanam means ‘darshan for all’. The timings for Sarvadarsanam are different on different days of the week. Please refer the weekly temple programme for the timings.
On normal days, about 18 hours are allotted for Sarvadarsanam and on peak days, it is open for 20 hours.
Around 50,000 pilgrims visit the main temple every day.
Special Entry Darshan (Seeghra Darshan)
The Seeghra Darshanm facility is introduced 0n 21-09-2009 to provide quick Darshan for the Pilgrims. The cost of the Ticket is Rs.300/- per pilgrim. The tickets will be issued at VQC-I in a separate queue line with 4 counters, after taking the tickets, the pilgrims are directly allowed for Darshan. Seeghra Darshan tickets will be issued on all the Sarva Darshan timings.
The darshan timings are the same as that for Sarvadarsanam.
Special Entry Darshan Timings
- Saturday,Sunday, Monday 4.00am to 5.00am , 7.00am to 6.00pm and 9.00pm to upto Ekantha seva.
- Tuesday, Wednesday 08.30am to 01.00pm ,
- Thursday 09.00am to 6.00 pm and 9.00pm to upto Ekanthaseva.
- Friday 10.00am to 6.00pm and 9.00pm to upto Ekanthaseva.
- Divya Darshan facility is provided for pedestrian who come on foot to Tirumala through Gali Gopuram or Srivari Mettu.
- Bio-metric counters are established on these foot paths, to facilitate free darshan, free accommodation (P.A.C) and free food facilities at Tirumala.
Sudarshan token System
The Sudarsanam token system was introduced to minimise the waiting time for Sarvadarsanam, Special Darshan and other paid darshan/sevas. Some of its features: The tokens are available Rs.50/- token at the
- Second Choultry (behind the Railway Station),
- Bhudevi Complex,
- Alipiri Tollgate,
- Sreenivasam in Tirupati,
- Srivari Sannidhi, Tirupati,
- RTC Bus stand in Tirupati,
- TTD Information centre ,Renigunta (opposite to the Renigunta Railway Station).
The time of darshan is indicated on the tokens.Pilgrims can enter the Vaikuntam Queue Complex at Tirumala at the time indicated on the tokens. . As this system saves on waiting time, it provides pilgrims with enough time to visit temples in the vicinity like Sri Govindarajaswami Temple and Kapila Teertham at Tirupati, Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple at Tiruchanur and Sri Kalyana Venkateswara Swami Temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram.To help TTD keep a track of the number of pilgrims and ensure their smooth flow, one token is issued per head. Collective tokens for groups are not issued.Sudarshan tokens to a tune of 5000 perday, Tuesday and Wednesday 2000 perday will be issued from 05:00am
Some precautions for you to take:
- Collect your Sudarsanam token only from TTD-run counters. Tokens issued by others are not valid.Do not exchange tokens.
- Do not trust touts.
Special Darshan for Physically disabled and Aged
This special darshan is arranged for the physically disabled and the aged, the infants along with parents through a separate gate at the Maha Dwaram,the main temple entrance. If necessary, such pilgrims can be accompanied by an attendant.
Places of Interest around Tirupati
Tirumala Balaji Temple
Tirupati is one of the most important pilgrimage centres in India. It has the historic shrine of Sri Venkateswara or Balaji, an incarnation of Vishnu. Also known as the ‘Lord of the Seven Hills’, the 2m high standing idol of Venkateswara on a lotus flanked by his consorts Bhudevi and Sridevi, is believed to grant any wish made in front of it. The most striking feature of the awe-inspiring black idol is its fabulous diamond crown, which is said to be the most precious single ornament in the world. This temple draws millions of pilgrims and is believed to be the busiest pilgrimage centre in the world. The richest temple in India, it is a master piece of South Indian Architecture. The Sanctorum ‘Ananda Nilayam’ has a glittering gold covered ‘Vimana’ and gold covered gates guard the sanctum sanctorum. It is considered auspicious to offer the hair as sacrifice to the deity.
Govindaraja Swami Temple
Located in the heart of Tirupati is Sri Govindaraja Swami Temple, which was consecrated by Saint Ramanujacharya in 1130 AD. It is built by the Nayakas, the successors to the Vijayanagar empire. The temple has an impressive outer gopuram. The inner most gopuram is the earliest dating from the 14th-15th centuries. The main shrines are dedicated to Vishnu and Krishna.
About 1km from Tirumala Temple is a rare naturally formed arch. Believed to be the source of Lord Venkateswara’s idol, the rocks resemble hood of a serpent, a conch and a discus. It is a geological wonder.
Located in the heart of the Tirupati town, the Kodandaramaswami Temple was built by a Chola king in the 10th century AD. The presiding deities here are Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. The temple of Anjaneyaswami, which is directly opposite, is a sub-shrine of this temple.
Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple
Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple, is situated about 3-km north at the foot of the Tirumala Hills. This is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shiva, in Tirupati. Annual ‘ Brahmotsavams’ and festivals like ‘ Vinayaka Chavithi’, ‘ Maha Shivaratri’, ‘ Skhanda Shasthi’ and ‘ Annabhishekam’ are performed in a grand manner. The sacred and beautiful waterfall, ‘Kapila Teertham’ or ‘Alwar Teertham’ is located here.
In Tiruchanur, about 3 km south of Tirupati is the temple of goddess Padmavati, the consort of Lord Venkateswara (Balaji). The large temple is also known as ‘Alamelumangapuram’ and it is said that a visit to Tirumala is fruitful only after visiting the Sri Padmavati Devi temple.
Sri Venkatesvara Museum
This museum is situated at the Sri Govindarajaswamy Temple compound, Tirupati. This museum contains exhibits of temple arts. The entrance of the Tirumalai temple exhibits an interesting collection of Indian musical instruments. The Sri Venkatesvara University Oriental Research Institute has the collection of stone images, wood and metal images, pottery, coins and inscriptions.
Chandragiri Palaces and Fort
Located 11 km from Tirupati, in Chittoor district, Chandragiri was the former capital of the mighty Vijayanagar Empire. The fort here was built on a 180m high rock. The fortifications, ‘Raja Mahal’ with its romantic lily pond and the ‘Rani mahal’ are well preserved. The Museum in Raja Mahal contains Chola and Vijayanagara bronzes.
Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple
Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami temple is located 12 km west of Tirupati at Srinivasa Mangapuram. It is believed that Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri Padmavati Devi, before proceeding to Tirumala.
Sri Prasanna Venkateswaraswami Temple
Sri Prasanna Venkateswaraswami is situated in Appalayagunta, 4-km from Tirupati. Sri Venkateswaraswami, after marrying Sri Padmavati Devi, blessed Sri Siddeswara and other sages here.
About 60-km from Tirupati, Srikalahasti is situated on the banks of the Swarnamukhi river at the foot of the Kailasagiri hills. This16th century town is famous for its ‘Kalahasthisvara Temple’, one of the most sacred Shiva shrine and the production of ‘Kalamkari’ paintings. The temple is particularly revered for the ‘Siva lingam’ in white stone. The shrine of ‘Vayu Deva’ the Wind God is the only one of its kind in India. ‘Kalamkaris’ are brightly coloured hand painted textiles used as Temple decoration and wall hangings.
Thalakona is a forest located 30-km from Tirupati. Deep in these forests is a 6m perennial waterfall known as ‘Talakona’. It is an enchanting picnic spot of great scenic beauty.
Horsley hills, situated at an altitude of 1,265m is a hill resort located 151-km from Tirupati and named after WD Horsley, who was the collector of Cuddapah district. Horsley chose this spot for his summer residence. The place is luxuriously green and cool, with a maximum summer temperature of 32°C, and minimum of 20°C.