There are many faith practices in the world. But Hinduism is considered the oldest among all. In India it has endured for thousands of years and has dotted the landscape with innumerable temples.
But there is one that towers atop the hills of Southern India as one of the most visited Hindu religious sites anywhere on the planet. Drawing an average of 60,000-1,00,000 visitors/day.
People feel like they are attached to the god when they pay a visit here. Witness iconic traditions and the jubilant celebration of Tirumala Brahmotsavam at the Tirumala temple of Venkateshwara Swamy.
About the God and Temple
The God is the central theme in the 15th century Devotional works of bard and mystic Annamacharya.
But the legend of Sri Venkateswara Swamy goes back further still.
One must turn the ancient pages of Hindu texts called the Puranas to find the mythological concept of the Holy trinity – Vishnu the universal Preserver. Along with Brahma the creator. And Shiva the Destroyer.
It is Vishnu who has a special relationship with the Tirumala temple ( Dedicated to Vishnu).
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One of the temple’s four chief priests explains the god’s significance – ” Vishnu is not any name but it is an attribute to the Supreme Energy which exists throughout the universe and beyond. These three are the three faces of a single energy which creates, maintains and destroys the entire creation.”
As the scriptures tells it Vishnu visited Earth several times and in several Human and Animal forms. There are different versions but no matter the legend, a steady thread remains.
Vishnu manifested as Sri Venkateswara Swamy and the benevolent deity took up permanent residence in Tirumala.
It is this god ensconced within the exclusive confines of the Sanctum.
Tirumala has endured through the 9th century – Pallav Dynasty to the 11th Century – Cholas of Thanjavur. In the 15th and 16th Centuries the temple town came under the influence of the Vijaynagara Dynasty. 1800s to early 1900’s and through the first quarter of the 20th Century the British Empire collected revenues from the temple.
Finally in 1933, a special legislative act was passed creating an autonomous body to administer the temple and associated activities. It was named Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD).
A Devotee claims – ” I have been visiting this place since 1969. Whatever prayer I have had has been fulfilled here. My life has seen many hardships but every one of them has been resolved. That is why I come here.”
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Different ways to reach the temple
The path to fulfilling Darshan (Pay a Visit) is not without efforts. For the journey is long beginning at the bottom of the hills at Tirupati.
There are two modes to reach the top –
1: One could take a drive through Seshachalam‘s winding roads and reach in well under an hour.
2: But many choose the more arduous way just a like a 16th century King did, on foot. Climbers can choose on of the two footpaths.
They can pick the Srivari Mettu route, a short but gruelling climb of 2kms.
They can also pick Alipiri Mettu route. At 9kms the route is longer but its a gentler slope that’s popular with many.
Along the way one can witness the many ways devotees choose to climb. Like anointing each step with the vermillion.
A Devotee adds – ” We were having financial trouble and were facing lot of difficulties. I vowed to the god that I would anoint each step to the temple if our problems were solved.
Some Devotees even get on hands and knees crawling over stretches in the climb.
And there are those who just enjoy the hike.
Reaching Tirupati Balaji
Tirupati Balaji Temple, also called Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is located in the Tirupati hills in Chitoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is on the seventh hill, which is called Venkata and hence the deity here is also known as Lord of the Venkata Hill. Tirupati has an airport and railway station, which go by the name of Renigunta airport (TIR) and Renigunta railway station (RU) respectively.
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The airport and railway station are at a distance of 14 km from Tirupati. Tirupati Railway Station is well connected by trains from other parts of the country. There are time-bound trains to Tirupati from Bangalore (Seshadri Express), from Chennai (Sapthagiri Express), from Delhi (Kerala Express), from Hyderabad (Narayanadri & Padmavati Express) and from Mumbai (Nagarcoil & Kanyakumari Express).
Please note Tirupati Balaji Temple is at Tirumala is 22 km further up from Tirupati. Shared jeeps to Tirumala are available from the railway station. Buses to Tirumala at regular intervals of 5-10 minutes are available from central bus stand, which is 1-2 km from the Tirupati railway station. You may take an auto rickshaw from Tirupati Railway Station to reach Central Bus stand.
Chennai, 140 km away is the major airport near to Tirupati Balaji. Chennai airport is well connected to Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore by regular flights. One can hire a taxi from Chennai to reach Tirupati Balaji Temple.
Stay options at Tirupati Balaji
There are two places where you’ll find accommodation in Tirupati Bala Ji.
1. Tirupati and
Tirupati is about 22 km from Tirumala, where temple of Shri Balaji is located. There are hardly any private hotels in Tirumala. Neat and clean accommodation in Tirumala is provided by Tirumala Tirupati Devsthanams Trust.
Stay options in Tirumala include guest houses, dormitory with locker facility, dharamshalas, mutts and choultry. Most of the stay options in Tirumala are provided by Tirumala Tirupati Devsthanams (TTD) and other religious institutions on very economical rates.
Accommodation in Tirumala can be booked online at least a month in advance of your Tirupati Balaji Darshan. You can also book a room on your arrival at Tirumala by standing in a queue, it may take anywhere between 2-3 hrs.
The next best option is to book a hotel in Tirupati, which has no dearth of stay options for devotees on their way to Shri Tirupati Balaji. You may find TTD run guest houses in Tirupati as well.
Click on the markers above to book hotels at the nominal rates.
Solo travelers can also book Youth hostel for economical stay and adventure activities.
Tirupati Balaji Darshan
Tirumala Tirupati Devsthanams (TTD) offers various types of darshan facility for its devotees. One can opt for :
1. Dharma Darshanm
2. Seeghra Darshanm
3. Sarva Darsanam and
4. Divya Darshanm.
The darshan tickets are available at various TTD counters across India.
Tirupati Balaji darshan online booking is very convenient way for a hassle free Balaji darshan at Tirumala.
Darshan tickets can be booked online.
These Balaji darshan options in general mean the time it will take from entering the darshan queue at Vaikuntam Queue Complex to the sanctum sanctorum, where the idol of Lord Venkata resides.
It takes anywhere between 3 to 10 hrs or more depending on the number of devotees in the Balaji temple complex.
The other name Tirupati Balaji is Lord Venkata, which means destroyer of sins.
Venkata is made of two words ‘Ven’ means ‘sin’ and ‘Kata’ means ‘destroyer’, thus it is believed that darshan of Lord Venkata relieves one-off his sins.
May Lord Venkateshwara fulfill all your wishes!