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Tirupati Balaji Temple, Andhra Pradesh: A Travel Guide

Tirupati Balaji is India's most visited religious shrine. Every year millions of devotees pay visit to this revered shrine in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is renowned for the Sri Venkateshwara Temple dedicated to lord Vishnu, who is also called by several names like Balaji in the North and Govinda in South India. The Lord Sri Venkehwara is the all pervading Lord of the universe.

Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple, Andra Pradesh
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple in  Chittoor, Andra Pradesh

One of the top 10 temples of India, Tirupati Balaji is placed at the top of the Tirumala hills, while the town lies at the foothills. The Tirumala Hill has seven peaks, which is said to represent the seven hoods of a serpent underneath where Vishnu resides. The area has the peaceful and religious air about it; the pilgrims come to the temple with lofty faiths. 

Location: Tirupati is located in the Chittoor  District  of Andra Pradesh at the foothills of the Eastern Ghats, and the temple of Sri Venkateshwarya is placed on the seventh peak Venkatachala.The temple lies on the Southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.

Who built it: Unfortunately, there are no records of the origin of the Temple, but was maintained and upgraded by various dynasties in the past. The temple is patronized by the Pallavas, Cholas, Pandyas and later kings of Mysore.

How to reach:  Tirupati Airport is 15 km from the city center and offers several domestic flights. The closest International flight is in Chennai (130 km) from Tirupati.

The major railway station is the Tirupati Main; the trains take you to major cities like Chennai. Bangalore, Hyderabad, Kochi and more.

One of the largest bus station (Sri Hari) is one of the largest in the state, which has direct bus service to the nearby towns and big cities. There are many government operating services too.

Best time to visit: Almost all the seasons are favourable for you to visit Tirupati. However, if you want to experience the place in its full swing, the best time would be to go during the festival time. Especially the festival of Brahmotsavam, celebrated around Diwali (October) is a good option. Also, when you are there, it is better you go early for your services to God because of the crowd.

Interesting Facts:
  • One of the legends behind the worshiping of Lord Vishnu is that the temple houses a deity of Lord Venkateshwarya (Vishnu) which is believed to remain there until the end of the present era or Kali Yuga. It is further believed that by worshipping him we will attain mukti or salvation.
  • Tripura has several temples and is a major economical and educational hub in south. It is one of the richest pilgrimage centers.
  • The Tirumala Hill is 853m above sea level and is about 10.33 square miles. 
  • It is believed that About 50,000 pilgrims’ visit the temple every day and during the festivals like, yearly Brahmotsavam the number of pilgrims is almost 500,000. 
  • The celebrated festivals are Vaishnava festivals, Rama Navami, Janmasthtami . while the most important festival celebrated each year is Brahmotsavam.
  • Tirupati is regarded as one of the oldest temples which were mentioned in Puranas and the Shastras.              
  • Tirumala, the name is derived from the terms, Tiru means Holy and mala means hills, therefore the holy mountains.
  • There are several deities in the temple like Dhruva Beram, Bhoga Srinivasa, Ugra Srinavasa and many more.
  • The temple bares several inscriptions that are of historical, linguistic and cultural importance.
  • In the temple, the devotees shave their head as an offering to the God, the daily collection of the hair amounts to almost a ton. These hairs are later sold in auctions to international buyers who turn them into extensions.
  • The thuylabharam offering is done in the temple, where a devotee sits on a weighing balance scale and has to offer materials heavier than his weight.
Places of Interest: 
  • An archeological museum, Chandragiri Fort.
  • SV Zoological park (the second largest zoo in Asia).
  • Jungle book Biological Park.
  • Regional Science center and Planitarium.
  • There are many other temples that you can visit in Tirupati and Tirumala apart from the famous  Sri Venkateshwarya Temple.
  • Alamelu Mangapuram Temple.
  • Padmavathi Ammavari Temple.
  • Kapila Theertham (dedicated to lord Shiva ans Parvati).
  • Govindaraja swamy Temple and more.
Tirupati and Tirumala is a pilgrimage spot, offering you a visitation for a different experience altogether. The faith of the devotees and the chanting of the priests echoes around the hills of Tirumala. There is a feeling of utmost peace and serenity in the place.