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Hindu Temples Index
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple
Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is the most famous Hindu Temple of Lord Venkateswara located in the hill town Tirumala of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is built on the Venkatadri hill, one of the seven hills of Tirumala, and hence is also known as the Temple of Seven Hills (Saptagiri in Sanskrit,. The presiding deity of the temple, Lord Venkateswara, is also known by other names - Balaji or Srinivasa.

The temple is reportedly the richest and the most visited place of worship in the world. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily, while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most visited holy place in the world.

According to the legend, the temple has a self-manifested murti (icon) of Lord Vishnu, with the Lord believed to have resided here for the entire Kali Yuga. In Sri Vaishnava tradition, the temple is considered one of the 108 Divya Desam sites.

Venkateshwara's abode is in the Venkatadri hills near Tirupathi. Thus, the main temple of Venkateshwara is the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. The Tirumala temple is believed to be the richest of all the temples in the world. The temple is located in Andhra Pradesh (southern India) in Chittoor district. It is around 500 km from Hyderabad , 150 km away from Chennai and 250 km away from Bangalore

The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatadri (Venkata Hill), and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. The temple complex comprises a smaller traditional temple building along with a number of modern queue and pilgrim lodging sites. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala.

The varied names ascribed to the main deity are Balaji, Srinivasa, Venkateswara and Venkatachalapathy. The goddess Sri or Lakshmi (Vishnu's consort) resides on the chest of Venkateswara, and thus he is also known by the epithet Srinivasa (the one in whom Sri resides). Goddess Lakshmi and Goddess Padmavathi reside on his either chests. The deity is considered the Kali yuga varada, that is 'the boon-granting Lord of Kali yuga' (the fourth and final age of the Hindu cycle of ages). The temple is held in particular reverence by the Vaishnava sect of southern India, known as the Sri Vaishnava.

For worshippers, the deity Venkateswara symbolises goodness. When people travel to Tirupati, they chant "Yedu Kondala Vada Venkataramana Govinda Govindaa" (in Telugu).

With His conch, He creates the cosmic sound from which the creation has manifested. And with His disc, He destroys ignorance and ego in the beings, thus liberating them. Lord Venkateswara is believed by followers to be a very merciful deity form of Vishnu, being the fulfiller of every wish made to him by the devotees.

The Holy mantra chanted is Om Namo Venkateshaya. "The Venkateswara Suprabhatam", the morning recital of prayers and songs of awakening, is written by Prativadi Bhayankaram Annan of Kanchipuram. Several composers composed beautiful kirtanas about Lord Venkateswara, the most notable amongst them being Tyagaraja and Annamacharya, who composed mostly in Telugu. Annamacharya or Annamayya is a legendary devotee of Lord Venkateswara and composed songs almost exclusively about the deity. More recently, Chakravarthi Rajagopalachari, former Governor-General of India, wrote the song Kurai Onrum Illai, describing the Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala.
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