Tirumala

Tirumala is located 3,200 feet above sea level and covers an area of approximately 26.8 square kilometers. Surrounding the hills are seven peaks of Seshachalam range,Eastern Ghats namely Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri,  Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The temple of Sri Venkateswara is on the seventh peak Venkatadri. Hence the presiding deity is also referred to as “Lord of Seven Hills”.

Tirumala, in all its right, is heaven. Its powers are indescribable.The Vedas have taken the form of rocks and appeared on Tirumala. Holiness has taken the form of water and is flowing as streams on Tirumala. Its holy peaks are Brahmaloka and other lokas. Srinivasa lives on Seshadri. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple deity, Lord Venkateswara, who is believed to, shall remain here for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga. The Hills comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha. The temple lies on the seventh peak -Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank.

Ancient History:
According to Varaha Purana, during Treta Yuga, Lord Sri Rama resided here along with Sita Devi and Lakshmana on his return from Lankapuri.

The town was an established centre of Vaishnavism around the 5th century A.D. during which it was praised by Alvars. The temple rites were formalised by the Vaishnavite saint Ramanujacharya in the 11th century AD. For most of the medieval era part of Vijayanagara Empire till 17th century, its rulers contributed considerable resources and wealth notable by Krishna Deva Raya and Achyuta Deva Raya, Sadasiva Raya and Tirumala Deva Raya.

The Temple is constructed in Dravidian architecture and is believed to be constructed over a period of time starting from 300 AD and upgraded in parts by various kingdoms. The inscriptions in the temple were found in Sanskrit, Tamil, Telugu and Kannada languages which specify the contributions of the Pallava Kingdom around the 9th century AD, Chola Kingdom around the 10th century AD and the Vijayanagara Empire in the 14th century AD. During the 15th century, Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya scripted and sung many songs in praise of the holy town in Telugu. He compared it to be divine, including the rocks, streams, trees, animals, and adds that it is heaven on the earth.

The Sanctum Sanctorum is called AnandaNilayam. The presiding deity, Venkateswara, is in standing posture and faces east in Garbha griha. The temple follows Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship. The temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and is listed as 106th and the last earthly Divya Desam. The Temple premises had two modern Queue complex buildings to organize the pilgrim rush, Tarigonda Vengamamba Annaprasadam complex for free meals to Pilgrims, hair tonsure buildings and a number of pilgrim lodging sites.

It is the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily and about 30 to 40 million people annually on average, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world. In 2016, it was reported that 27.3 million pilgrims visited the temple.

It is around 435 km from Vijayawada, 571.9 km from Hyderabad, 138 km from Chennai, 291 km from Bangalore, and 781.2 km from Visakhapatnam.

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