Tirupati

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Tirupati

History

Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam, or the abode of the Lord Tirupati, is probably Hindu India’s most visited holy place. Situated in Chittoor district (in southern Andhra Pradesh), the temple stands amidst lush greenery atop a hill surrounded by outcroppings of red rock. The sacred hill, with its summit of seven peaks, has a number of temples, of which the main shrine ranks as one of India's most revered.

At the bottom of the hill is the town of Tirupati, known almost exclusively for its role as the base camp for pilgrimages to the temple. Pilgrims from all across India- and even abroad- come to Tirupati in thousands every year to the temple, which is dedicated to Sri Venkateswara - one of the incarnations of Vishnu.

The temple houses a heavily garlanded idol of Sri Venkateswara before whom one is allowed only a few moments before the next enclosure load of visitors is to be ushered in. In that time you’ll see the stupendously opulent vimana covered in gold and finely sculpted columns. The ‘darshan’ is followed by a round of ‘prasad’, food that has been blessed by the deity and must be received with both hands cupped, right palm above the left one.

Tirumala is one of the few temples to allow non-Hindus into the sanctum sanctorum. Remember, you have to leave your footwear behind at the stall outside the temple compound. And, do not succumb to the high-pressure tactics of ticket toting touts; get yours from the temple’s official counter.

Tirupati receives a record number of pilgrims everyday, more than any other holy city in the world. These record crowds topple bigger records during the festivals and on weekends.

Best time to visit

Virtually any time of the year is a good time to visit Tirupati, as the weather’s generally quite equable. The time around New Year- usually between December 31 and January 2- is when Tirupati gets very crowded, with thousands of pilgrims thronging the temple. Festival time is a good time to be in Tirupati, as you’ll get a chance to see all the ceremonies, the festivities and the fanfare. Dasara, in particular, is really spectacular at Tirupati.

Vaikunta Ekadasi is considered an extremely auspicious day to visit Tirupati, as it is believed that this is the day when the `Vaikunta Dwaram’- the door to heaven- is open, and any pilgrim who comes to Tirupati on this day will achieve salvation. The Vaikunta Ekadasi changes from year to year, but usually occurs in early January.

Trivia

Tirupati is one of the world's richest temple where the deity is clad with about 1000 kgs of gold! It is the temple which has around 50,000 pilgrims each day.

Timing

Timings for darshan are different on different days of the week- 18 hours on normal days and about 20 hours during the peak days. With the help of e-darshan counters at many cities, it becomes easier for pilgrims to pay their obedience to the deity without standing for long in the queues.


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