Monday, July 7, 2014

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Venkateswara Temple


Tirumala Venkateswara Devasthanam
Tirumala gopurams.JPG
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is a famous Vedic temple in the hill town of Tirumala, near Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. It is around 600 km (370 mi)[2] from Hyderabad, 138 km (86 mi)[3] fromChennai and 291 km (181 mi)[4] from Bangalore.
The Tirumala Hill is 853m above sea level and is about 10.33 square miles (27 km2) in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanari and Venkatadri. The temple is on Venkatadri (also known as Venkatachala or Venkata Hill), the seventh peak, and is also known as the "Temple of Seven Hills". The presidingdeity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of lordVishnu. Venkateswara is known by other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.[5] The temple lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. The temple complex comprises a traditional temple building, with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites.
The temple is the richest pilgrimage centre, after the Sree Padmanabhaswamy Temple in Thiruvananthapuram, Kerala, of any faith (at more than INR 500 billion[6][7]) and the most-visited place of worship in the world.[8][9][10] 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.[11]
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has a murti(deity) of Lord Venkateswara, which it is believed shall remain here for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga.

History of the temple[edit]

Medieval history[edit]

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.[14] 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.[15] There is an idol of Raja Todar Mal who was the revenue minister of Akbar, greeting pilgrims in the premises of the temple.

Temple today[edit]

TTD is operated by a Board of Trustees, and has increased in size through adoption of various Acts from five in 1951 to fifteen in 1987. The operations and management of TTD is the responsibility of an Executive Officer (EO), who is appointed by the government of Andhra Pradesh.
The temple attracts, on an average of approximately 60,000 pilgrims every day.[18] The popularity of the temple can be judged by its annual budget. The annual income is estimated at INR 10 billion in 2008. Most of its income is derived from the donations in SriVari Hundi. Devotees donate to the TTD, which runs into the millions of rupees. TTD, the organisation running the welfare of the temple, runs various charitable trusts, whose funds are derived from the budget, and donations from the devotees.[19]

Deities in the temple[edit]

1.   Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram — The main stone deity of Lord Venkateswara is called Dhruva Beram (berammeans "deity", and dhruva means "pole star" or "fixed"). The deity is about 8 feet (2.4 m) from the toes to the top of the crown and is considered the main source of energy for the temple.
2.   Kautuka Beram or Bhoga Srinivasa — This is a tiny one-foot (0.3 m) silver deity, which was given to the temple in 614 AD by Pallava Queen Samavai Perindevi, and has never been removed from the temple from the day it was installed. This deity is popularly known as Bhoga Srinivasa, because it enjoys all the Bhoga (worldly pleasures) which the Moolavirat has. This deity sleeps in a golden cot every night and receives Sahasra Kalashabishekam every Wednesday. This deity is always placed near the left foot of Moolavirat and is always connected to the main deity by a holy Sambandha Kroocha. The deity is always faced at an angle of 45 degrees towards the devotees, because it holds a Prayoga ("ready to strike") Chakra.
3.   Snapana Beram or Ugra Srinivasa — This idol of the Lord represents the anger part of Lord Venkateswara. He remains inside the sanctum sanctorum, and comes out on only one day each year: on Kaishika Dwadasi, before the sunrise. Snapana means "cleansing". The idol is cleansed daily with holy waters, milk, curds, ghee, sandalwood paste, turmeric, and so on.


Malayappa swami along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi during the annual Vasanthotsavam ceremony
1.   Utsava Beram — This is the form of the Lord which comes out of the temple to see the devotees. This deity is also called Malayappa, and its consorts are Sridevi and Bhudevi. These three deities were found in a cave called Malayappan Konai in the holy Tirumala Hills. Originally Ugra Srinivasa was the Utsava Beram (the procession deity), and frequently disastrous fires were happening whenever the deity was taken out for processions. People prayed to the Lord for a solution. The Lord appeared in dreams, and ordered the people to find a suitable set of idols hidden in the Holy Tirumala hills for the Utsavar (procession). The hunt began, and the villagers called the idol they found Malayappa, which means "King of the Hills". After these idols were brought to the temple, the number of programmes increased to include Nitya Kalyanaotsavam, Sahasra Deepalankara Seva, Arjita Brahmotsavam, Nityaotsvam, Dolotsavam, and others. Jewels worth millions of rupees have been donated as offerings to these idols.
2.   Bali Beram or Koluvu Srinivasa — This panchaloha idol resembles the main deity, and represents the presiding officer for all activities and rituals in the temple. The idol is also called Bali Beram. Koluvu Srinivasa is regarded as the guardian deity of the temple that presides over its financial and economic affairs. Daily offerings are made to the deity, with a presentation of accounts. Every year during July i.e. according to Hindu calendar "Dakshinaya Sankaramana" the temple celebrates "Anivar Asthanam" which is the end of the fiscal year.

Worship[edit]



Tirumala Temple entrance
The names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Venkateswara,Malayappa (Father of hill in Tamil), Elumalaiyaan(Lord of seven hills in Tamil), Edukondalavadu (Lord of seven hills in Telugu) andVenkatachalapathy' 'or Venkataramana. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara; thus, he is also known by the epithet "Srinivasa" (the one in whom Sri resides). The goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavathi reside on either side of his chest. The deity is considered the Kali yuga varada, that is, 'the boon-granting Lord of Kali yuga'. (Kali yuga is the fourth and final age of the Hindu cycle of ages). The temple is held in particular reverence by the sect who hails from "Naimisharanya" (north India), known as the Sri Vaikhanasa/ Adhi Vaikhanasas followers of Sri Vikanasa Muni.
For worshippers, the deity Venkateswara symbolises goodness. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant the mantraEzhumalayanukku Govinda Govinda or Venkataramana Govinda (in Tamil),Yedukondalavada Venkataramana GovindaGovinda (in Telugu) or Om Namo Narayanaaya or Om Sri Venkatesaya Namah (in Sanskrit). Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.
Several composers composed beautiful kirtanas about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya, who composed mostly in Telugu. Annamacharya (1408–1503) was a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity.
Lord Vishnu is worshiped in the Temple as per Vaikhanasa traditions. The ancient texts of the sage Marichi (theBhagvad Shastram and Vimanarchana Kalpam) state that Lord Vishnu here should be worshipped six times a day.
1.   UshaKala Aradhana — worship (or Aradhana) should start and finish before sunrise
2.   Prathakala Aradhana — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
3.   Madhyanika Aradhana — worship should start and finish at noon
4.   Aparahana Aradhana — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
5.   SandhyaKala Aradhana — worship should start and finish around the sunset
6.   Ardharatri Aradhana — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark
All the Aradhana is done by hereditary Vaikhanasa priests, who have performed the services for generations. Only these priests have the right to touch and offer services to the Lord. These set of Archakas are called Mirasidars (owners and shareholders of the temple). The four families of the Tirumala Temple which are in this Mirasi are the Gollapalli, Peddintti, Paidipalli, and Tirupathammagari family.
To assist the Archakas in temple work and rituals,other Vaikhanasa who don't belongs to this family & Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja, would take care of the temple work. Currently Thridanda Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy heads the Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja.

Epigraphical lore of Tirupati[edit]

This Temple bears on its walls several inscriptions which are of historical, cultural and linguistic importance. The number of inscriptions on the Hill Temple and in the temples of Lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur exceed one thousand and they furnish a continuous and authentic record of the transactions of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for over seven or eight centuries. We have evidence to believe that many early inscriptions on the walls of the temples have disappeared beyond recovery due to restorations and renovations undertaken from time to time.
As many as 1060 inscriptions are found engraved on the walls of the temples under the management of the Devasthanam. They are published by the T.T, Devasthanams and are classified as follows:
·         Sri Venkateswara's Temple, Tirumala: # of inscriptions: 640.
·         Sri Govindaraja's Temple, Tirupati: # of inscriptions: 340.
·         Other Temples: # of inscriptions: 80.
Excepting a few, almost all the epigraphs of the Tirupati Temples are in Tamil language and in alphabet interspersed with Grantha characters. About 50 inscriptions are in Telugu and Kannada.[1]
Additionally, in the temple, there is a unique collection of about 3000 copper plates on which the Telugu Sankirtanas of Tallapaka Annamacharya and his descendants are inscribed. This collection forms a valuable source of material for a historical linguist in Telugu, apart from its importance to musicologists.
Under the patronage of almost all important dynasties of South India, this sacred Temple of Tirumala enjoyed full benefits and glory. The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, Kadavarayas, Yadavarayas, Telugu Cholas, Telugu Pallavas, Vijayanagara kings (Sangama, Saluva and Tuluva lines) have left the marks of their patronage and endowments on the walls of the Temples of Tirumala and Tirupati.[1]

Worship[edit]



Tirumala Temple entrance
The names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Venkateswara,Malayappa (Father of hill in Tamil), Elumalaiyaan(Lord of seven hills in Tamil), Edukondalavadu (Lord of seven hills in Telugu) andVenkatachalapathy' 'or Venkataramana. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara; thus, he is also known by the epithet "Srinivasa" (the one in whom Sri resides). The goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavathi reside on either side of his chest. The deity is considered the Kali yuga varada, that is, 'the boon-granting Lord of Kali yuga'. (Kali yuga is the fourth and final age of the Hindu cycle of ages). The temple is held in particular reverence by the sect who hails from "Naimisharanya" (north India), known as the Sri Vaikhanasa/ Adhi Vaikhanasas followers of Sri Vikanasa Muni.
For worshippers, the deity Venkateswara symbolises goodness. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant the mantraEzhumalayanukku Govinda Govinda or Venkataramana Govinda (in Tamil),Yedukondalavada Venkataramana GovindaGovinda (in Telugu) or Om Namo Narayanaaya or Om Sri Venkatesaya Namah (in Sanskrit). Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.
Several composers composed beautiful kirtanas about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya, who composed mostly in Telugu. Annamacharya (1408–1503) was a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity.
Lord Vishnu is worshiped in the Temple as per Vaikhanasa traditions. The ancient texts of the sage Marichi (theBhagvad Shastram and Vimanarchana Kalpam) state that Lord Vishnu here should be worshipped six times a day.
1.   UshaKala Aradhana — worship (or Aradhana) should start and finish before sunrise
2.   Prathakala Aradhana — worship should start after sunrise and finish before noon
3.   Madhyanika Aradhana — worship should start and finish at noon
4.   Aparahana Aradhana — worship should start when the sun starts to descend
5.   SandhyaKala Aradhana — worship should start and finish around the sunset
6.   Ardharatri Aradhana — worship should start after the horizon is completely dark
All the Aradhana is done by hereditary Vaikhanasa priests, who have performed the services for generations. Only these priests have the right to touch and offer services to the Lord. These set of Archakas are called Mirasidars (owners and shareholders of the temple). The four families of the Tirumala Temple which are in this Mirasi are the Gollapalli, Peddintti, Paidipalli, and Tirupathammagari family.
To assist the Archakas in temple work and rituals,other Vaikhanasa who don't belongs to this family & Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja, would take care of the temple work. Currently Thridanda Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swamy heads the Jeeyar Mattam established by Ramanuja.

Epigraphical lore of Tirupati[edit]

This Temple bears on its walls several inscriptions which are of historical, cultural and linguistic importance. The number of inscriptions on the Hill Temple and in the temples of Lower Tirupati and Tiruchanur exceed one thousand and they furnish a continuous and authentic record of the transactions of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams for over seven or eight centuries. We have evidence to believe that many early inscriptions on the walls of the temples have disappeared beyond recovery due to restorations and renovations undertaken from time to time.
As many as 1060 inscriptions are found engraved on the walls of the temples under the management of the Devasthanam. They are published by the T.T, Devasthanams and are classified as follows:
·         Sri Venkateswara's Temple, Tirumala: # of inscriptions: 640.
·         Sri Govindaraja's Temple, Tirupati: # of inscriptions: 340.
·         Other Temples: # of inscriptions: 80.
Excepting a few, almost all the epigraphs of the Tirupati Temples are in Tamil language and in alphabet interspersed with Grantha characters. About 50 inscriptions are in Telugu and Kannada.[1]
Additionally, in the temple, there is a unique collection of about 3000 copper plates on which the Telugu Sankirtanas of Tallapaka Annamacharya and his descendants are inscribed. This collection forms a valuable source of material for a historical linguist in Telugu, apart from its importance to musicologists.

Under the patronage of almost all important dynasties of South India, this sacred Temple of Tirumala enjoyed full benefits and glory. The Pallavas, the Cholas, the Pandyas, Kadavarayas, Yadavarayas, Telugu Cholas, Telugu Pallavas, Vijayanagara kings (Sangama, Saluva and Tuluva lines) have left the marks of their patronage and endowments on the walls of the Temples of Tirumala and Tirupati.[1]d
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