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Thursday, July 2, 2009

Andhra Pradesh Thirupathi


About the place

Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara is a widely visited Hindu pilgrimage in India. The temple town of Tirupati is situated amidst the thickly wooded hills and deep forests of Chittoor district. Lord Venkateswara, the presiding deity who is worshiped as “Balaji” by north Indians is a living God for all south Indians.This temple town is among the busiest pilgrimages of the world with 40, 000 pilgrims visiting the site everyday. As Tirupati and Tirumala are used concurrently but the difference is that – the hill on which the temple is located is called Tirumala and the town at the foot of the hill is Tirumala.Tirumala is one of the seven peaks of Seshachalam hill range and is a symbolic representation of the seven headed serpent God Adisesha, the snake on which Lord Vishnu reclines.Major Attractions

Shri Venkateshwara TempleThe temple of Venkateshwara is one of the richest and widely visited temple complexes in the world. The temple dated back to 9th century but renovated from 15th century onwards. The gold Vimana and flagpole and the gold plated doorway into the inner sanctum proclaims the temple’s wealth. The jet-black stone image (2 m high) stands on a lotus and is adorned with rubies, diamonds and gold witnessing its wealth. The deity also wears a diamond crown, believed to be the single most precious ornament in the world.The entire complex is built in such a way to accommodate large pilgrims who rush to the place to have Lord’s grace. This is one of the few temples in India where non Hindus are allowed into the inner sanctum. Devotees irrespective of religion stand in long queues for special darshans and offer money, gold and valuables of their choice. During festivals the numbers of devotees exceed 1, 00,000. The temple complex includes a ritual bathing tank, and a small Art Museum with images of deities, musical instruments and votive objects. The temple is surrounded by green valleys and the Akash Ganga waterfall which is the source of water for bathing the deity.Govindarajaswami Temple

The second most important temple in Tirupati is Sri Govindarajaswami temple. The temple was created in 1130 by a Saint namely Ramanujacharya. The main attraction is the imposing gopuram that can be seen from a short distance.During festivals and functions the temple premise is full with large visitors. One such festival is the Brahmotsavam celebrated in the month of Vaishakha every year that attracts large crowds. The annual float festival is also celebrated here with great enthusiasm.Sites NearbyChandragiri

Chandragiri was once the former capital of Vijayanagar Empire, located just 12 kms away from the temple city of Tirupati. The site has magnificent forts and mahals which are attracting and fascinating. Chandragiri signifies the “Hill of the Moon” is traditionally associated with the Moon God who is said to have performed penance at this place to please Lord Shiva. The temple complex includes religious structures like temples of Venugopala, Karttikeya, Siva and Hanuman at the entrance of the fort as guardian deity; ponds, tanks and many sculptured mandapas.Chandragiri’s glorious past can also be seen in its fortress dating back to 16th century. The most important palace inside the fort is the Raja Mahal where Francis Day of the East India Company granted land in 1639. Close to this monument is another magnificent edifice called Rani Mahal with tall pyramidal towers and fa├žade decorated with foliate and geometric motifs.Sri Kalahasti
Srikalahasti is a town located between two steep hills on the southern banks of the river Swarnamukhi, a tributary of river Pennar. The town is famous for its temple dedicated to Lord Shiva and the art of Kalamkari fabrics. This is one of the most important pilgrimages of India.On one end of the main street of the town lies the 36.5 m high gopura erected in 1516 by the emperor Krishna Deva Raya of Vijayanagara. Nearby the town, a similar but smaller gopuras provide access to the Kalahastishwara temple, the prime attraction of the town. The temple has one lingam in the form of Kalahasti is believed to have been worshipped by a spider, a snake and an elephant. The word Srikalahasti consists of three words sri, kala, and hasti signifying the name of spider, serpent and elephant respectively. The main lingam in the temple forms the shape of the trunk of an elephant with tusks on either side and a figure of a spider at the bottom.
How to ReachBy Air: Tirupati has an airport (14 kms from downtown) connecting to Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. It takes only around 30 minutes from Hyderabad and 1 hour from Bangalore/Chennai to reach Tirupati by air.By Rail: Tirupati is an important railhead of south India connecting several destinations of the country. There are regular express and super-fast trains running from Chennai, Bangalore, Vishkhapatnam and other destinations.By Road: Tirupati is well connected by roads to/from cities like Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Regular buses ply between Tirupati and Tirumala. Private and state owned buses connect almost all parts of the state with a well maintained network of roads.