Sri Venkateswara Temple Tirumala
History Of Lord Venkateswara
The origins of the site are legendary. Its beginnings are shrouded in great antiquity and its origins are still a matter of scholarly debate. Sangam literature, the earliest of Tamil literature (dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D), mentions Tirupati as Thrivengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms. Sangam literature, such as Ilango Vadigal's Silapadikaram and Satanar's Manimeghalai, bear testimony to the existence of a shrine at Tirupati. Puranic literature which was composed roughly around the post-Mauryan and early-Gupta era also mentions of Tirupati as the Aadhi Varaha Kshetra. The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. The Varaha shrine holds great importance in Tirupati and is said to be older than the main sanctum of Venkateswara. While some scholars accept the antiquity of the shrine they believe that the image of Venkateswara was not originally that of Vishnu but of a buddhist deity, perhaps bodhisattva avalokiteswara. The region of Andhra in which Tirupati is located in was already known for the existence of ancient Buddhist sites of the Satavahana era, namely Nagarjunakonda and Amravati, thus scholars suggest that the ancient site of Tirupati was probably a buddhist site prior to its transformation into a Hindu one after Buddhism saw its decline in the face of Guptan Hindu Rennaissance. Even up to the time of Ramanuja, the famous Vaishnava scholar of the 12th century, the identity of the deity was still disputed until Ramanuja confirmed it to be Vishnu.
Whatever its origins, it was probably a well established Hindu shrine by the 5th century A.D, whenceforth the Alvars or Vaishnava saints who led the Bhakti or Devotional movement in South India sung in praise of Lord Venketeswara as Vishnu. For the centuries to come Tirupati was richly endowed by the kings and emperors of various dynasties thus adding to its current reputation as the richest and most opulent temple in the world. The Imperial Cholas, Hoysalas, the Vijayanagara emperors were just some of the contributors for building the temple and donating gold and other ornamanents for the temple. Tirupati survived the Moslem plunder of South India without being plundered by the invading Moslem rulers of Delhi, unlike other temples such as the Meenakshi Sundareswara in Madurai and Srirangam. Under the invasions the idol of Sriranganatha, the deity of Srirangam was brought to Tirupati for safekeeping. To remember this event, a hall in Tirupati is still known as the Ranganatha mandapa. It was under the regime of the Vijayanagara emperors that the temple attained its current opulence and size. The emperors of the dynasty, in particular Krishna Deva Raya, lavished on the temple numrous objects of priceless value, ranging from diamond studded crowns to golden swords. The coronation ceremonies of the emperors were also held at Tirupati.
Places To See In Tirupati
How To Reach Tirupati
By Air: The nearest airport is at Renigunta(15 kms). Tirupati is connected by air with Hyderabad, Chennai and Bangalore. From the airport you can hire a taxi or an auto rickshaw or you can take a bus to reach the temple.
Tirupati-Balaji is a sacred town and is famous for the shrine of Lord Venkateshwara, which is visited by a large number of pilgrimages from far corners of India. The breathtakingly beautiful setting of this holy town makes it another lure for the tourists who want to experience a spiritual tinge on their tour of Tirupati-Balaji. There are many tourist attractions in Tirupati-Balaji among which the notable ones are:
Sri Venkateswara Temple:
It is the most prominent landmark in the entire town and the presiding deity is said to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself. The temple is located on the southern bank of Swami Pushkarni. The temple is a wonderful example of Dravidian architecture featuring gold plated Cupola and called as “Ananda Nilayam”. The Gopuram of the temple is dexterously carved out and attracts a significant number of tourists who come here to seek the blessings of the deity.
Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple:
It is located three kms to the north, at the foot of the Tirumala Hill and is devoted to Lord Shiva. This is one of the most remarkable among the tourist attractions in Tirupati-Balaji and has a gorgeous setting. There is also a sacred waterfall called Kapila Teertham located beside the temple that adds to its beauty quotient.
Sri Kodandaramaswami Temple:
It is a charming temple located in the heart of the town and was built by a Chola king during the tenth century AD. The presiding deities at the temple are Rama, Sita and Lakshmana. According to the legend, this particular temple celebrates the visit of Lord Rama.
Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple:
This temple dedicated to Sri Venkateshwara remains the most visited one and is characterized by its imposing spire that captures the interest of everyone with its massive size. You should not miss out this captivating temple whose presiding deities are Lord Vishnu and Lord Krishna (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu). The shrine was sanctified by Saint Ramanujacharya in the year 1130 AD.
It is located about 5 kms from the Tirupati Temple and is home to the well-known temple of Sri Padmavathi Devi (Goddess Lakshmi), who happened to be the consort of Sri Venkateshwara. According to legends, a visit to Tirupati temple is worthwhile only after paying deference to Sri Padmavati Devi Temple. Several other temples located here are Sri Krishnaswamy Temple, Sri Sundara Rajaswamivari Temple and Sri Suryanarayana Swamivari Temple.
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