Tirupathi Balaji temple, Venkateshwara temple or Balaji Temple various names but all comes down to that supreme power to which all of us bow down. In fact, special provisions are made to climb up and reach the temple. During the climb, one can feel the divine energy as people keep chanting the god’s name. One can also observe people fulling various vows they made with god. It is a world-famous temple with millions and millions of devotees from all over the world. This temple is just a paradise to devotees.
In ancient history, King Thondaiman built the first temple at Tirumala Tirupati. He was a Tamil ruler of the ancient Thondaimandalam. The city became a great Vaishnava centre during the time of Ramanujacharya in the 11th century. This is the most sacred & largely visited temple is as old as 300 AD
The holy shrine of Lord Venkateswara lies on the seventh peak -Venkatadri, which is on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarin (a holy water tank) in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh.
How To Reach Tirupati?
By Train: The easiest and straightest way to reach Tirupati Balaji is by train. The temple is only 20 km away from the Tirupati railway station. You have to catch the train to Tirupati Balaji railway station. From the railway station, about 5 mins of the walking distance you will get to the bus stop. You will easily get either free fare or fared buses to Tirumala.
By Air: Tirupati International Airport, located in the Renigunata, Andhra Pradesh, is the closest airport to Tirupati Balaji railway station. It is around 40-45 km away from Tirumala and 20 km away from Tirupati Balaji railway station. From the airport, you can take a cab or bus to the shrine.
By Road: One can choose to drive in your own car or hire a cab. The other option is to use public transport services. Buses are run by KSRTC as well APSRTC, apart from private bus operators.
When to visit Tirupati?
There is no set time to visit this temple. Throughout the year, you will find a huge crowd of devotees at this place. But if you really want to experience the beautiful scenery of nature along with visiting this holy place, you can come here in the rainy or winter season.
Tirupati, a place where one can see two ancient languages, Tamil and Telugu, is an amazing place to visit having linguistic harmony in the country. Though the principal and the official language is spoken by the people in Telugu, Tamil is understood by few.
Tirupati has a tropical wet and dry climate. Usually, summer lasts from March to June, with the advent of the rainy season in July, followed by winter which lasts until the end of February. The city experiences heavy rainfall in November during the northeast monsoon season.
Fairs and festivals in Tirupati
Brahmotsavam is the main fair of Tirupati. Brahmotsavam means a festival to commemorate an offering by Lord Bramha to Lord Vishnu. According to a legend, Lord Bramha performed a Brahmotsavam prayer for Lord Vishnu. You will see several vahanas / chariots near temples and holy places. In fact in these chariots, the deity is taken out in a procession that lasts over the entire 9 days. People celebrate by donating things to the poor and visiting temples to perform rituals and offer prayers to the creation itself. Millions and millions of people gather here to pay a tribute to their God.
Held in October, the celebrations usually last over 9 days.
Transportation/Stay to prefer
Tirumala-Tirupati Devsthanam has luxurious hotels. Alternatively, you can book your hotels on TTD official website, here you will get hotels at very low prices. The temple committee has also enabled free fair buses to reach the main temple. You also hire cabs, autos and taxis to travel around.
Places to visit in Tirupati
Sri Venkateswara Temple
Sri Venkateshwara Temple is the most revered and celebrated temple of Tirupati having tourists and pilgrims flooding in all year long. This is one of the holiest and the wealthiest temples in the world and millions of devotees flock here to pay their reverence. Around 50,000 pilgrims visit the temple every day, which is a massive number.
One of the natural marvels that history left behind, the Silathoranam, now, finds itself being an important landmark in archaeology and heritage. This is a natural rock formation, one of the only three of this kind in the world. In fact, the rock formation is a national monument and is protected by the State Government.
Swami Pushkarini Lake
Almost neighbouring the Sri Venkateshwara Temple, is Swami Pushkarini Lake. According to the legends, the lake belonged to Lord Vishnu and was located in Vaikuntha. Extremely holy, the pilgrims usually take a dip in the waters of this lake before proceeding to the main temple.
Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple
At a little distance from the main city area, one finds the Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple dedicated to Goddess Padmavathi. One of the many sacred structures of Tirupati, this one is home to many legends and stories about the Goddess.
TTD Gardens in Tirupati are known for their ornately decorated and manicured flower gardens. The garden is approximately 460 acres. Alongside its lush green beauty, the garden also includes Alwar Tank, Mangalabhavi and Ananthapalligunta. They have an annual horticulture show and Pushpa Yagnam.
Sri Venkateswara Dhyana Vignan Mandiram
The Sri Venkateswara Dhyana Vignan Mandiram was established in the year 1980. It is a museum housing some of the most traditional articles that are used to perform Puja. The museum is extremely beautiful and fills into you a sense of religious faith not easy to describe. This is one of the experiences, one must not miss while in Tirupati.
Sri Varahaswami Temple
If visiting the Venkateswara temple, it is advised to first pay a visit to this temple. The reason behind this too finds roots in a legend, according to which Sri Varahaswami owned the seven hills. He agreed to hand them to Sri Venkateswaraswami, on the condition that he too, should be worshipped. Hence, Sri Venkateswaraswami asked his devotees, to first pay a visit to Sri Varahaswami and then to him.
Tumbhuru Teertham is a sacred lake located amidst dense natural vegetation. The waters have magical powers and can absolve one’s sins and help one attain moksha. Above all, the attraction is also famous for its natural beauty and is frequented by nature lovers for nature walks.
Located amidst the beautiful natural surroundings, the Deer Park is a splendid escape from the routine for nature and animal lovers. The park houses a large number of deer and other regional flora and fauna. Tourists on their way to Tirumala often take a pit stop here and spend a few hours in the company of the deer, feed them and also watch them thrive in their natural habitat.
Located in Sri Venkateswara National Park, Talakona Waterfall is the highest waterfall in the region and a famous picnic spot. The water has medicinal properties and comes from an unknown underground stream. The attraction is also famous for trekking and has several trekking routes running around it amidst the scenic natural surroundings.
Akasaganga Teertham is a waterfall in Tirupati, located at a distance of 3 km from the main temple. The waterfall has water flowing all throughout the year and holds immense religious significance. Pilgrims can also pay homage to the Devi temple situated very close to the waterfall. During the monsoons, the waterfall is a beautiful sight to the eyes.
Cuisines to taste in Tirupati
The great thing about Tirupati is that it is full of tradition and culture, the local food of Tirupati is a combination of Tamil and Telugu cuisine. However, the food here is mostly vegetarian.
- Pulihora – tamarind rice
- Payasam – classic traditional dessert
- Pongal – common breakfast
- Chakkara Pongal – sweet version pongal
- Laddu – synonymous with Tirupati
Things to do in Tirupati
A tour of the temple is the best thing to do in Tirupati. You can also attend one of the several amazing festivals held here like the Brahmotsavam festival, the Vijayanagar festival and the Flamingo festival. Additionally, you can climb up the hill, have fun in the water and look at beautiful deer’s.
Souvenirs to buy in Tirupati
- Tirupathi Ladoo
- Silk clothes
- Wood carvings
- Pooja items