Tirupathi Balaji,Andhra Pradesh,india

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Published: 20th December 2010
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Tirupati Tirumala Devasthanam, or the abode of the Lord Tirupati, is probably Hindu India"��s most visited holy place. Situated amidst lush greenery atop a hill surrounded by outcroppings of red rock, the Tirupati temple which attracts the devout in thousands everyday, is dedicated to Sri Venkateswara one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

The temple is the reason that this town gets visitors, usually pilgrims who"��ve travelled hundreds of kilometres to undertake this sacred pilgrimage to ask a wish of the Lord. Tirumala"��s Balaji shrine is among the more famous pilgrimage temples of India and attracts the largest number of pilgrims for any shrine in India. Tirupati is also known for being one of the richest shrines in the world.

Tirumala-Tirupati is built around seven hills that are also known as Sapthagiri after the seven hoods of the cosmic serpent Sheshnag. The temple of Sri Venkateswara is situated on the seventh peak called Venkatadri. Many a pilgrim get their head shaved when they visit the Tirupati temple and

offer their hair to Balaji as an act that oblirates the ego. This tonsuring of the head is a ritual that si strongly associated with Tirupati. This hair shaving is done at acentral hall called Kalyana Katta, a huge building near the temple where the barbers sit. The selling of hair by the TTD is big business and tenders are floated globally for the sale of Indian human hair which are eventually sold as wigs that are much sought after in the western world!

Historically Speaking
Legend has it that the rulers of Kancheepuram the Pallavas patronnized this shrine way back in the 9th Century AD the temple shot into fame with contributions started pouring in only during the time of Vijayanagara dynasty in 15th Century AD. From the year 1843 till about 1933, the administrative

activities of the Tirumala temple were overseen by Mahants of the Hatiramji Mutt. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam was formed in 1933 and this autonomous body looks after the functioning of the temple complex even today.

Within the temple complex you can buy various figures of the deities and CDs that recite the various shlokas. You could also take some ''prasadam'' or "��laddu"�� for your family and friends back home.

The Brahmotsavam festival celebrated in the month of October is performed over nine days and is one of the most important and auspicious events in Tirupati. Legend has it that this celebration was started by Brahma, the creator God, who first conducted this festival to Sri Balaji at Tirupati

as a thanksgiving for the Lord"��s protection of mankind.

Night Out
It is considered very auspicious to eat at the temple. Food is served on banana leaves and a variety is available with the most popular being the "��sweet rice"��. Other than that there are many stalls and restaurants offering south Indian cuisine.

Tirupati is all about spiritualism. The temple houses a heavily garlanded idol of Sri Venkateswara before whom one is allowed only a few moments before the next enclosure load of visitors is to be ushered in. In that time you"��ll see the stupendously opulent vimana covered in gold and finely

sculpted columns. The "��darshan"�� is followed by a round of "��prasad"��, food that has been blessed by the deity and must be received with both hands cupped, right palm above the left one. With over 50,000 devotees visiting the temple everyday, the darshans are very well organized and orderly. The temple offers a wide variety of darshans and sevas that suit most devotees. There are daily sevas, weekly ones and some sevas are performed only periodically. The different daily sevas are ones that are the most widely attended. The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), which manages the everyday affairs of the temple, has made extensive arrangements in recent years to ease the troubles and streamline the massive inflow of devotees. TTD has built the Vaikuntam Queue Complex, which is a series on interconnected halls through which the devotees proceed towards the main temple. Some of the daily sevas that you can take part in are Suprabhatam, Thomala Service, Archana, Archanananthara Darshanam, Amanthranotsavam, Ekantha Seva and Kalyanotsavam. The darshans are held at different times of the day and tickets are in the range of Rs 100-200 only. Vijaya Bank issues the tickets a day in advance and if you want, you can also send a demand draft to the bank to book your tickets in advance. Since the space is limited, the bank issues only a limited number of tickets each day. There are also special darshans for the physically challenged and the aged. They are ushered into the main temple through a separate entrance. For information on darshans log on to www.tirumala.org or contact TTD Info Centres.

How to get there by Air
Tirupati has an airport that is situated 14 kms away from the town and there are regular flights from Hyderabad and Delhi.

How to get there by Rail
There are train connections from many places in the region including Hyderabad, Mumbai, Chennai and Bangalore.

How to get there by Bus
There are a lot of bus connections from within Andhra Pradesh and from Tamil Nadu. Express buses are much faster than the ordinary variety. Cabs are a comfortable road travel option though somewhat expensive. The distance from Chennai is 137kms and driving time is around 3 hours by road.

Best time to Visit
Though Tirupati is an all year round destination as any time is a good time to pay your respects to the gods, it may be best to avoid the summer months of May and June as it get very hot.

Hotels in Tirupati Balaji
There are many hotels in the 1st class category that are located close to the shrine "�" among them the Fortune Kences Hotel, Ramee Guestline Hotel and the Temple Valley are popular choices. 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.

What to Pack
Pack comfortable walking shoes and mosquito repellant.

Emergency Number
POLICE: Police Station: 100 HOSPITAL: S.V.R.Ruia Hospital 0877-2286666 Svims Hospital 0877-2287777 Ambulance 0877-2220120 TOURISM BOARD OFFICE: APTDC Tourist Info Centre 0877-2255386

Nearby Places
Goddess Padmavati temple is situated 4kms away. The Kalyana Venkateshwara Swamy Temple 11 kms away is located at Srinivasamangapuram.

For more information for this Destination please check india Travel Guide

budget hotels in Hyderabad

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