Posted/Updated on April 24, 2010
The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.

It is by the Lord’s presidency over Venkatachala, that He has received the appellation, Venkateswara (Lord of the Venkata Hill). He is also called the Lord of the Seven Hills.

The temple of Sri Venkateswara has acquired unique sanctity in Indian religious lore. The Sastras, Puranas, Sthala Mahatyams and Alwar hymns unequivocally declare that, in the Kali Yuga, one can attain mukti, only by worshipping Venkata Nayaka or Sri Venkateswara.

The benefits acquired by a piligrimage to Venkatachala are mentioned in the Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics, Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestower of boons. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala.

The temple has its origins in Vaishnavism, an ancient sect which advocates the principles of equality and love, and prohibits animal sacrifice.

The sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala.

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple


Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple


Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple



Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple - Festival


Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple

Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple - Padalu (foot prints)
Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple - Padalu (foot prints)

History

The history of the temple dates back to as far as 9th Century A.D, when Pallavas, the rulers of Kancheepuram, patronized this shrine. But it was not until the time of Vijayanagara dynasty in 15th Century AD that the temple got recognition, and the contributions started pouring in.

From 1843 AD, when the Empire started rising in India till 1933 AD, the administrative activities of the Tirumala temple were overseen by Mahants of the Hatiramji Mutt.

In 1933, the Madras government took over and handed the reins of administration to an autonomous body known as the Tirumala-Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) Committee.

Again in 1951, the TTD was reconstituted with a board of trustees, while an Executive Officer operated as its administrative head.

Legend Behind the temple

Lord Venkateswara or Balaji is considered to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu himself. It is believed that he came to reside on the southern bank of Swami Pushkarni, a tank which passes by Tirumala.

The seven hills around Tirumala-Tirupati are also known as Sapthagiri after the seven hoods of Sheshnag – the cosmic serpent. The temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatadri.

According one legend, as Saint Ramanuja born in 11th Century AD climbed the seven hills of Tirupati, Lord Srinivas- another name for Lord Venkateswara- appeared before him and gave him his blessings. And after that he is believed to have been blessed to live till the ripe age of 120 years to spread the gospel of Sri Venkateswara.

People are encouraged to visit Tirumala on the day of Ekadasi in the month of Vaikunta, at which time all pilgrims in the abode of God will be forgiven of all their sins. They also would definitely attain salvation after they die, it is believed.

As more than fifty thousand pilgrims visit the Sri Venkateswara Temple every day, TTD has organized efficient systems to ensure the smooth movement of pilgrims.


Sarva Darshanam:

Sarvadarsanam, which means 'darshan for all', of Lord Sri Venkateswara begins from 07.30 hrs in the morning till the entrance queue is closed on certain days other than Wednesday, Thursday and Friday. On lean days 18 hours are allotted for Sarvadarsanam and on peak days, it goes on for 20 hours. The entrance for Sarvadarsanam is through the Vaikuntam Queue Complex. There is now a computerized system in place which allows the pilgrims to book tickets and they are given a specified time slot. In addition, there are free darshans, and special darshans, which cost a bit more. There is a special darshan for the physically disabled and the aged through a separate gate at the Maha Dwaram - the main temple entrance. These pilgrims can ask for an escort.

Vaikuntham Queue Complex:

The entrance for darshan is through the Vaikuntam Queue Complex. The complex is a series of inter-connected halls that leads to the main temple. An efficient queue system ensures that pilgrims move in an orderly fashion through the Queue Complex, towards the main temple.

The halls in the Queue Complex are clean, spacious and airy. Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam provides different facilities in the queue complex, as the distance from the portals to sanctum sanctorum is quite long. The following are:
1) Canteens with food packets at subsidized rates.
2) The Andhra Pradesh Dairy Development Corporation counter which sells milk.
3) Medical aid.
4) Sale of photographs, calendars and other TTD publications.
5) Toilets.
6) Closed Circuit Television, through which devotional programmers and music are relayed.
7) Cloakrooms are near the Vaikuntham Queue Complex entrance.
8) At the entrance there is a place for footwear to be deposited. (Free of cost).

There are appointed officials who expressly manage facilities in the Vaikuntam Queue Complex. People can approach them for help, for redressal of complaints and so on.

Facilities

Tiruamala-Tirupati Devastanam, whose primary function is to provide convenient facilities to pilgrims, has shored up the infrastructure in Tirumala and Tirupati by building free dormitories in addition to the cottages and guesthouses which are leased out on different rates as per the facilities offered. Central Reception Office of the TTD takes care of the booking of rented accommodations. Tirupati town boasts of wide range of hotels to suit all income groups.

Accommodation:


In Tirumala most people stay for free in the huge dormitories around the temple. There are rooms in guesthouses and cottages available on rent too at various rates offering various degrees of comfort and luxury. All bookings have to be made with the Central Reception Office of the TTD. Off-season you can reserve up to a month in advance by sending them a letter and a draft for Rs. 100.

Tirupati has a whole range of hotels, air-conditioned or otherwise, pricey and inexpensive.


Free Bus: A bus service is operated between Tirumala-Tirupati, in addition there are free buses which travel and in and around Tirumala. APSRTC runs bus services from the airport to Tirumala and back for the benefit of air passengers.

Airlines Coach: APSRTC runs Bus Services for the convenience of air passengers from the airport to Tirumala and back.

Railway Booking Office: A Railway Booking Office is also located at the Central Reception Office building of the TTD, apart from one in Tirupati town. Bus tickets for inter-city travel through state transport could also be bought here.


Automobile Clinic : In case of vehicle breakdowns on the ghat roads passengers can contact the Toll Gates either at Tirupati or at Tirumala. A mechanic will be sent in a mobile van equipped with spares, to attend to the problem. Charges are on a case-to-case basis.

Food: TTD has four marriage halls under its management which it leases out to interested parties. One is at Srinivasa Kalyana Mandapam and three others are at Padmavathi Kalyana Mandapam.

Marriage Hall: Tirumala - Tirupati is providing large marriage halls with modern cooking facilities at Srinivasa Kalyana Mandapam and other three marriage halls at Padmavathi Kalyana Mandapam.

Online Seva Portal

1.Internet Booking :Advance Booking of Srivari Arjitha Sevas can be booked from the Website www.ttdsevaonline.com, 90 days in advance.

Tirupati By Air

Tirupati airport is located at Renigunta, which is about 15 km away from the city. Regular flights are available from Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore to Tirupati. Taxi services are available from the airport to the city centre and it charges about Rs 300. Nearest International airport is Chennai, which is connected to all major cities in India and many cities abroad.

Tirupati By Bus

APSRTC buses connect all towns in Andhra Pradesh with Tirupati. Tamil Nadu public transport corporation buses connect many cities in the state with Tirupati. KSRTC buses connect many cities in Karnataka with this holy city. Many tourist service providers arrange package tours to Tirupati from Bangalore, Chennai and Hyderabad. The charge is about Rs 3 - Rs 4 per km per person.

Tirupati By Train

Tirupati Railway Station is connected by trains from Bangalore, Chennai, Visakhapatnam, Madurai and Mumbai. A major railhead nearby is Renigunta, which is 15 km away. Renigunta is located in Trivandrum – Delhi route, which is connected to all cities in India by rail.

More information see website:
http://www.tirumala.org