One of the most visited temples in the world, Sri Venkateshwar Temple is said to be one of the richest temple in the world. Dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara, the temple is also known as Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple. The other names of the lord are Balaji, Vishnu, Srinivasa and Perumal. The temple is located on the Venkatachalam hill in Tirumala town in Andhra Pradesh. This hill is one of the seven hills of Tirumala, thus giving the temple another name, 'Temple of Seven Hills'.
Tirupati Venkateshwara Temple is an important pilgrimage site for the Hindus. More than 50, 000 devotees visit the temple everyday for taking Lord's blessings. But lakhs of pilgrims come here during the festival such as Brahmotsavam festival.
It is an ancient temple, whose origin is not known. But there is mention of this temple in the Rig Veda. According to the fascinating legend, the temple houses a self-manifested idol of Lord Vishnu. And it is said that the Lord lived here for the entire Kali Yuga. The Vijayanagar rulers made a great contribution to the temple by donating stunning gold and diamond jewelery. Other rulers added more structures to the temple.
About the temple
Reflecting the Dravidian style of architecture, the temple is very beautiful. Its gold Gopuram, Vimana and doorways are majestically carved. Here one can also see various statues of the legends. Beautiful stucco figures of heavenly deities like Vaishnava, Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha attract attention. The main shrine houses a beautiful idol of the lord. The holy mantra chanted by devotees is ' Om Namo Venkateshwara'. Prasadam such as laddu, curd rice, tamarind rice, vada and sweet pongal are distributed in the temple. Free meals are given to the pilgrims daily.
One interesting fact related to the temple is that many devotees have their head tonsured as an offering. The daily amount of hair collected is around one ton, which is sold by the temple organization to international buyers.
Here are several elegantly carved doorways, mandapams and shrines inside the temple complex. The main door is called the Padi Kavali Maha Dwara, which has a quadrangular base.