Wednesday, September 5, 2007
Tirupathi Navratri Brahmaotsavam
Tirumala has seven hills, representing the seven heads of a huge serpent called Sesha Saye on which Lord Vishnu rests resides. The black idol of Balaji is covered in gold, jewellery and previous ornaments and is 2 metres high.
Tirupathi is believed to be the richest temple in the country with picturesque surroundings. The temple is also a fine example of Dravidian Art & Style. It is also a famous center for wood carving.
In this service we arrange to offer an easy darshan & accommodation for the devotees of any far off places – both out of state and out of country devotees. Right from the Train Ticket Reservations of your choice (including return tickets) to the accommodation (cottage booking) and darshan of the Lord we can arrange things done precisely. If you wish so, a four-wheeler will also be at your service. As the need arises we may also arrange a guide to make the devotees quite acquainted with the place.
We hope to extend this facility to other pilgrimage places in India shortly.
TIRUMALA – The Abode of Lord Venkateswara
Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, is one of the most popular Hindu shrine in the country. The temple dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala is perched at height of 874 metres above mean sea level and 15 km. North-west of Tirupati, the temple town is located at the foot of the seven hills of the Eastern Ghats in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
The 12th century Vaishnavite shrine is one of the richest shrine of the world, with annual income of the temple being more than two billion rupees. Often referred as the ‘Vatican of the East’, the size of the visiting pilgrims and the wealth the temple town offers in terms of religious, cultural and natural splendour, make it an unsurpassed pilgrimage site.
HISTORY: The exact period in which the temple was founded is not known, and tradition has it that the temple is Swayambhustala, meaning, it came into existence on its own without anyone making it. As per folk legends there was a huge anthill at Tirupati. A farmer heard a voice from the heavens asking him to feed the ants. By chance the local king heard the voice and began supplying milk for the ants, himself. His compassion resulted in the liquid uncovering a magnificent idol of Lord Venkateshwara hidden beneath the anthill.
According to some evidences the history of the temple dates back to almost 2,000 years. In the ancient times a queen called Samavai belonging to Pallava dynasty (614 AD.) is said to have consecrated the first silver image here. The temple is also mentioned in the Sangam poetry (500 BC. – 2000 AD.). Numerous temple inscriptions from the 9th century record details of the temple and contributions made by both Pallavas and Chola Kings. It is believed tat originally there was only one shrine at Tirumalai. When the Vaishnavite saint, Ramanuja, visited Andhra in the 12th century, the temple at Tirupathi was built. The Chola period saw the temple complex prospered and expanded. In 1517, Krishnadevaraya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. The Maratha general Raghoji Bhonsle visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple. Among the later rulers who endowed large benefaction were the rulers who endowed large benefaction were the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal. In 1843 with the coming of the East India Company, the administration of the Shri Venkateshwara temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century, till 1933 when the temple was under the administrative charge of the mahants. The Madras legislature passed a special act in 1933 whereby the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was invested with powers of administration and control through a commissioner appointed by Govt. of Madras. A Ryot Advisory Council was formulated for the management of the estates of the TTD, this was assisted by Religious Advisory Council with regard to religious matters.
The Tirumala Temple: The Tirumala temples nestles amidst the peaks of the seven hills of Tirumala. The temple can be approached from Tirupati by a 15 km. Road, it is a pleasant drive many pilgrims even today take this path by foot making a 11 km. trek to the temple. For the devotees, the deity Venkateshwara symbolizes goodness, with his conch he creates the cosmic sound that destroys ignorance. Venkateshwara is considered to be the most powerful Hindu deity, he is believed to be the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.
There are never less then 5,000 pilgrims here at any time. In a single day. The total number of pilgrims even goes upto 10,000 in a day. The temple staff alone accounts to a number of 18,000. The popularity of the temple can be judged by the annual income which is around two billion rupees per annum. The devotees offer money, precious articles etc. in the hundi or collection box placed at various sites in the temple. Silver model of the feet or a silver heat are also put in the hundi, these models are available outside the temple. This entire sum is administered by a temple trust, who plough this bulk of money back into hundreds of choultries and charities such as schools, colleges, art academies, craft training centers and in the homes of the poor and orphans.
It is considered to be very auspicious to have your head shaven when visiting the temple. People donate their hair to the deity, as an act symbolic of renouncing the ego, this applies to men, women and children alike.
The temple is very large and has a huge courtyard. Te main shrine which contains the image of Sri Venkateswara is a complex of structure. It begins with the sanctum at the western end and ends with the Tirumamanimandapam at the eastern end. The main temple is a masterpiece of the Dravidian architecture. Its glittering gold Vimanam, rising protectively over the sanctorum seems to be lit with some inner fire touched glow. It is called as Ananda Vimanam. The innermost enclosure ‘Vaikunda Pradakshinam’ is opened only once a year. Splendid gold covered gates guard the entrance of the main sanctum sanctorum.
The ‘Swayambhu’ or naturally formed two metres high idol of Sri Venkateswara depicts the Lord’s standing image on a lotus. It has four arms and on the chest are the images of Goddesses Lakshmi and Padmavati. The majestic jet black idol is adorned by a mass of gold and precious stones. Most striking is the fabulous crown which is said to be the costliest single ornament ever made in the world. The darshan of the deity is a heavenly experience. The aura created by the magnificent jewellery adorning the deity, the powerful vibrations of the prayers offered day in and day out is overwhelming, every devotee coming out of the sanctum sanctorumhas the feeling of being special.
The prasad cooked in the temple kitchens is also of great value among the devotees. The prasad is first offered to the deity before distribution, it is not only of special significance to the pilgrims but also a great delicacy. The pilgrims enjoy the bracing climate on the hill. Comfortable and reasonably priced accommodation are available, alongwith delicious South Indian food and coffee.
The Festivals: The Brahmosavam festival is celebrated here in Sept./Oct. Sacred texts are recited each day. Every morning and evening images of the deities are taken in a colourful procession around the temple. The chariot of Lord Brahma believed to be the instigator of the festival, leas the procession. On account of Adika-masam which comes in every third year.
A second Brahmaotsava is held which is known as Navratri Brahmaotsavam. These festivals attract thousands of pilgrims from various parts of the country.