Lord Venkateswara

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Lord Venkateswara (also called Balaji) is considered to be Lord Vishnu himself. He is the presiding deity of the richest of the Hindu shrines at Tirumala. The temple is situated in a region of 7 hills in southern Andhra Pradesh in Chittoor District. It is around 120 km away from the city of Chennai. The presence of 7 hills had given the alternate name for the lord as EDu konDala vADu in Telugu (Elumalaiyan in Tamil) or the Lord of the Seven Hills.


sthala purANa

All Hindu temples have a legend behind their existence, known as sthala purANa. The legend of Venkateswara Avatara (incarnation) is as follows.

Sage BhRgu who is famed to have an extra eye in the sole of his foot once visited Sri Maha Vishnu. The lord was in private meeting with his consort, Goddess Lakshmi and failed to immediately receive and honour the sage. The sage felt humiliated and angry, and kicked Lord Vishnu in the chest. Lord Vishnu's chest is the abode of Goddess Lakshmi who felt highly insulted at the sage's misdemeanour and Lord Vishnu's silence at the act. She left VaikunTha( the abode of Vishnu and Lakshmi). Lord Vishnu had then incarnated Himself as Venkateswara and came to earth in search of Laskmi, who was born as Princess Padmavati in the household of AkASa Raju. The princess's father agreed to give his daughter's hand in marriage to Venkateswara if he provided proof of wealth. Towards this end, Venkateswara obtained a heavy loan from "Kubera", (a demi-god who is the wealthiest entity in the Universe). Princess Padmavati and Lord Venkateswara were then wed.

The Lord and his consort enshrined themselves at Tirumala Tirupati for the benefit of mankind. This phenomenon is called "swayambhu" loosely translated to mean "self-existent/ established (on earth) of one's own accord".

Lord Venkateswara's temple is at the top of the 7 hills in the place called Tirumala. The Goddess's temple is located at the foot of the 7 hills at Tirupati, in a town called Tiruchanur also popularly known as "Chinna Tirupati".


Socio-Cultural History

A temple was built many centuries later around the shrine and several kings have been responsible for the building of the temple, chief among them being Raja Todaramal.

Many saints visited the shrine during their times and offered worship to Lord Venkateswara. Notable among them are Sri Sankaracharya and Sri Ramanujacharya. The Venkateswara SuprabhAtam (Morning Prayer/Song of Awakening) is attributed to have been written/sung by one of Ramanuja's disciples who visited the temple with his Guru.

Several composers composed beautiful keertanas on the Lord. Chief among them are Tyagaraja and Annamarcharya. Annamacharya is a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively on the deity.


Some Facts

The temple has a Golden "Vimanam" or Pyramidical roof over the deity. The deity has also over 1000 kg of Gold and Diamond jewellery, making it one of the richest temple treasures.

About 60,000 to 150,000 devotees visit the temple complex every day for the auspicious darshan (visit) of the deity. Monthly donations given by devotees equal nearly $2 million every month. Complex queueing theories and emerging technologies have been evaluated and implemented to manage the unmanageable crowds.

The temple is managed by a trust called Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams.

The temple is the second most visited religious center after Vatican.

Laddu (a sweet) is offered as Lord's prasadam. TTD has procured machines from MICO BOSCH to automate the making of Laddus.

External Links

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