Friday, September 11, 2009

Tirupati Venkateswara Temple

The temple is the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it one of the most visited holy place in the world.

According to the legend, the temple has a self-manifested idol murti of Lord Vishnu, with the Lord believed to have resided here for the entire Kali Yuga. In Sri Vaishnava tradition, the temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desam sites.

The Tirumala hills comprising of the seven hills of Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri are the abode of the Tirumala Venkateswara temple. The hill town (Tirumala) and the temple (Venkateswara Temple) are located on the Seshadri or Seshachalam hill. The temple complex comprises a smaller traditional temple building along with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites.

The varied names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Perumal, Venkateswara and Venkatachalapathy. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara, and thus he is also known by the epithet Srinivasa (the one in whom Sri resides). Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Padmavathi reside on his either chests. The deity is considered the Kali yuga varada, that is 'the boon-granting Lord of Kali yuga' (the fourth and final age of the Hindu cycle of ages). The temple is held in particular reverence by the Vaishnava sect of southern India, known as the Sri Vaishnava.

With his conch he creates the cosmic sound from which the creation has manifested.And with his disc he destroys ignorance and ego in the beings,thus liberating them. Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful deity form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.

The Holy mantra chanted is Om Namo Venkateshaya. "The Venkateswara Suprabhatam", the morning recital of prayers and songs of awakening, is written by Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan of Kanchipuram. Several composers composed beautiful kirtans about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya. Annamacharya is a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity.

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