Introduction of Tirupati Temple
The Vashnavite Temple of Tirupati is situated in the hilly town of Tirumala at Tirupati that is in the Chittoor district of the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is located on the peak of the Venkatadri. The exact beginning of the Temple remains unknown. The Temple built in Dravidian architecture is said to have begun in 300 A.D. and continued over the ages. The first silver image was consecrated in the early 7th century by the Pallava dynasty queen Samavai. By the 12th century it was already built as recorded by saint Ramanuja.
The self-manifest salvific presence
The Tirupathi temple AP is dedicated to Sri Venkateswara, a form of Lord Vishnu who is the preserver in the Hindu Trimutri. The lord is said to have turned himself into stone on the seventh hill of the Tirumal range so as to emancipate humankind from the perpetual troubles of Kali Yuga. The Incarnation of Lord Vishnu is accompanied by his wives Lakshmi and Padmavathi who too are said to have turned into stone so as to be with the Lord are said to fulfill the wishes of all who visit them. It is said that if you donate ten rupees at the temple, you will get back manifold as the Divine blessing.
The presiding deity
The presiding deity of the Temple is Lord Sri Venkateswara, the Incarnation of Lord Vishnu, the Preserver of the Universe. The main deity of Sri Venkatachalapati is called the Dhruva Beram. Dhruva means the pole star or that which is fixed and Beram means deity. This is to imply that the deity that was affixed here by the Lord turning into stone at his manifest wish. Sri Venkatachalapati at Tirupati is said to be the only Moolavar in the sanctum sanctorum. It is also said that this deity is the only Eka Murthy or the single idol Temple that is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in India.
Details of the deity
The deity of Lord Venkateswara is made out of stone that is about eight feet or about two and a half meters from it’s toe to the top of it’s crown. The Sthanaka or the standing figure of the Lord stands on a lotus pedestal. The image is ornamented with several precious gems and jewels and is perpetually kept decorated with flowers. Among the decoration is a Lakshmi garland that is a necklace that has one hundred and eight images of Lakshmi.
The Salagrama garland that adorns the Lord is made of salagrams encased in pure gold and a Dasavatara belt that is exquisitely carved hangs around His waist. While the Suryakatari or the golden sword hangs from his belt, the two gold sculpted plagues of Lakshmi and Padmavathi adorn His chest.
Surrounding shrines in the complex
There are several sub-shrines present within the complex the principal being the Varadaraja Temple dedicated to another incarnation of Vishnu located to the left of the main entrance of the complex. The Yoga Narashima Temple dedicated to the lion-headed Incarnation of Lord Vishnu is located at the right of the main complex entrance. The small shrine of Garuda, the vehicle of the Lord is situated opposite to the Golden entrance looking inside the Garbhagriha. The Bhuvaraha Swamy Temple dedicated to the Varaha incarnation of Vishnu on the Northern banks of Swami Pushlarinin is supposed to be visited before the main Tirupathi temple darshan of Lord Venkateswara.
The Bedi-Anjaneya Temple dedicated to Lored Hanumana has the deity handcuffed. The statue of Vakalamatha who is the mother of Lord Venkateswara is situated such that she supervises the preparation of the food for her son through the hole in the kitchen before her. The sub-shrine dedicated to Lord Kuber lies on the right side of the sanctum sanctorum. There is also a shrine built to Srin Pamanuja in the 13th century in the northern corridor.
Puja ritual and tradition folowed
The Tirupathi temple puja is done according to the Vaikhanasa Agama worship tradition as was revealed by the sage Vikhanasa. This tradition is one of the principal Hindu worship traditions according to which Lord Vishnu is worshiped. The ancient text of Vaikhanasa recommends that the Lord be offered puja for six times in a day. Of them one puja at least is mandatory. Presently three of the six pujas are performed at the Tirupati Temple and they are the Usha Kala Puja that is done during the period of sunrise, the Madhyahna Puja that is begun before noon at completed at noon and the Nishi Puja that is offered after the horizon is totally dark.
Special celebrations at Tirupati
The Brahmotsavam that is said to be first celebrated by Lord Brahma in honor of Lord Venkateswara is a nine day event celebrated during the Sharad Navaratri that is in the month of September – October. During this special festival the processional deity of Lord Malayappa and his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi are taken out on the four streets around the Temple on different vahanas or vehicles. The Vaikunta Ekadashi that is the main Vaishnavitie festival is celebrated with much grandeur at Tirupati where the devotees have a darshan of the Lord through the special entrance that encircles the sanctum sanctorum called the Vaikunta Dwaram.
During the Vasanthotsavam or the festival of colors is celebrated for three days in April – May where the Lord and His consorts play with colors and the devotees too spray the colors on them. Other important celebrations are the Teppotsavam or the boat festival in July – August, the Pavitrotsavam in November – December, the Rathasapthami in February when the lord is taken out on seven vahanas around the Temple. Janmasthami, Ugadi, Teppotsavam are among the other major celebrations. There are variable Tirupathi temple timing for the regular as well as he special occasions that you can check from the online official site.
On a holy pilgrimage
A pilgrimage to the Tirupati is a desire by almost all Hindu devotes. As the Incarnation is present on the hill top at the manifest desire of the Universal preserver Himself, most pilgrimage to Tirupati is made for the fulfillment of material desires here in this Kali Yuga. Pilgrims also tonsure their heads and offer it to the Lord as a part of their devotion apart from the enormous amount of wealth. Pilgrims procure the Tirupathi temple Prasad given free at the temple or buy them too.