We had taken darshan ticket from Malleswaram (Bangalore) itself one week in advance. On Saturday, 10th May at 3.00 PM was darshan time. We got up at 3.00 AM on Saturday and started preparations for travel. Chandan and his family were also with us. We all got ready and at around 4:40 AM, engine of my Alto came into life. My Car was also as eager to be in the lotus feet of Lord, as all of us.
We took the route Bangalore (Old Madras Road)-Hoskote-Kolar-Mulbagal-Palmaner-Chittor-Tirupati. We did breakfast at Palmaner in the morning. After reaching Tirupati, we straightaway proceeded to Tirumala Hills.
Before starting the Ascent to Tirumala Hills, we need to get security test done. It happens just before the Alipiri. From Alipiri the ascent to Tirumala starts.
(Now this security check happens at Alipiri itself.)
From My home at Bangalore to Tirumala is about 272 KMs. We reached there at around 11.00 AM.
The picturesque Tirumala hills is situated 2820 ft above MSL and is about 100sq.m in area . It comprises seven peaks ,representing the seven hoods of Aadishesha , thus earning the name Sheshachalam.
The seven peaks are called Sheshadri, Vedadri, Garudadri, Anjandri, Vrishabhadri, Narayandri and Venkatadri (Adri in sanskrit means Hill).The Venkatam hill is believed to be a part of the celestial mount Meru, brought to the earth from Vaikuntam by Garuda.The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatdri and there are several legends associated with the manifestation of the lord in Tirumala.
The shrine of the lord is very ancient and there are ample references to it in the early inscriptions belonging to the Chola and Pallava periods as well in the Sangam literature.
References to the Tirumala also found in several of Puranas. Tirumala is one of the 108 sacred shrines of the Sri Vaishanava tradition. According to the Puranas, Lord Vishnu stayed on the earth for some time in the Avatar of Swetha Varaham and rose out of pushkarini as Swayambhuva. His spouse Lakshmi Devi appeared in Thirucharnur. This Shwetha Varaha Avatharam was installed in the temple situated to the west of Swamy Pushkarni.
The great religious leader Ramanujacharya visited this shrine on a pilgrimage and systematised the process of worship in accordance with the SriVaishnava that continues to date.
The Tirumala hills are said to be one of the world's oldest rock mountains. The Sangam literature of Tamil such as Silapadikaram and Satanar's Manimekalai, dated between 500 BC to 300 AD, mentions Tiruvengadam (now named Tirupati) as the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms.
It is believed that it was "Aadi Varaha Kshetra" (the ancient site of Varaha) mentioned in Indian literature dating during the Mauryan and Gupt regimes. Lord Venkateswara is referred in Vedas, Tirupathi is considered as Kaliyuga Vaikuntha(Heaven on the earth).
The Pallavas of Kanchipuram (9th century AD), Cholas of Tanjore (10 century), Pandyas of Madurai and Vijayanagara Emperors (14th & 15th centuries) were committed devotees of Lord Venkateswara. The statues of Sri Krishna Devaraya and his spouse stand in the premises of the temple. The place of Chandragiri, presently a village near Tirupati, was used as the secondary capital of Vijayanagara kings.
Tirupati survived the Muslim invasions of South India, unlike other temples such as the Meenakshi temple in Madurai and Ranganathaswamy temple in Srirangam, perhpas because of its location in hills. It is believed that during the invasions the deity of Sriranganatha from Srirangam was brought to Tirupati for safekeeping from 1320 till 1360 AD. To commemorate this event, a hall in Tirupati is still known as the Ranganatha mandapa.
After the decline of Vijayanagara Empire, kings from various states like the king of Mysore and Garhwal, worshiped the lord as pilgrims and gifted various ornaments and valuables to the temple. Raghoji Bhonsle, the Maharastrian commander visited the temple and made a permanent arrangement regarding the regular pujas to be done to the Lord.
We took some rest at Tirumala and then took Lunch. It was a summer afternoon and was very hot. I feel temperature must be above 40 Degrees, but still cool breeze from the blessed mountains made it better.
At around 2 PM we went in “Vaikuntham Q”, it was rush as usual. Alaknanda was quite frustrated with so many people around her and cried a lot initially. But when we reached the Sanctum Sanctorum, she was happy. I put her on my shoulder and she did “Jai” with folded hands to the Lord Supreme.
“…nothing is beyond he….and after knowing him, nothing is left to know….”
After Darshan, we went to visit VenuGopal Swamy Temple (also known as Hathi Ram Ji Temple) and then to AakashGanga.
These sacred places are at a dsitance of few KMs from main temple. Buses and Taxis are easily available.
VenuGopal Swamy Temple
This is a beautiful temple of Lord Krishna.
Swamy Hathiramji was an ardent devotee of Lord. The Lord himself use to come and play "Chaupar" with him. The local Nawab assuming this as false put him in an enclosure and filled that with sugarcane.
The merciful Lord appeared as an Elephant and broke down all the enclosures after eating the sugarcane.
Fearful, the Nawab apologized to Swamyji.
The place whete the merciful Lord and Swamyji used to play "Chaupar" is near the main Balaji Temple.
The samadhi of Swamy HathiRamji is in the VenuGopal Swamy Temple complex.
This is a natural steam between the rocks. This sacred water is used for daily abhisheka of merciful Lord. One has to climb down a good number of steps to reach this place. Older people should take caution here.
A few people take bath here, though it is a bit risky as being quite slippery.
The story goes like this.
Swamy Tirumalai Nambi (973 AD) was priest of Lord Balaji Temple. He used to bring the holy water from PaapVinasham daily to do the abhishekam of Lord. Due to his advance age he was having problems in this task.
One day as he was coming from PaapVinasham with water fro abhishekam, a fowler met him on the way and asked for water. Swamyji refused as this was for the abhishekam. But the fowler shot an arrow and broke the pot.
Sad, Swamyji started back to bring water, then the fowler took the form of Lord. He shot an arrow and a natural stream originated. This is AkashGanga.
Water from here is used for daily abhishekam of Lord Balaji.
At around 7:30 PM we started descent from Tirumala Hills and came back to Tirupati. We took a hotel and after dinner took rest for the next day.
On Sunday, 11th May, after breakfast, we visited five temple in Tirupati. These are:
(Without visiting Padmavati temple, the visit to Lord Balaji temple is not complete.)
Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple
Govindaraja Swamy Temple
We started at around 3 PM for our return journey and reached around 8:45 PM to our home.
Totally we drove about 565 KMs.
Trip was very satisfying and we all were very happy.
“….Those who are in me……………..I am in them”
We could not cover "PaapVinasham" and "ShriVari Padalu" in this trip but merciful Lord blessed me by giving chance in other trips to visit these holy shrines.
This place is a Dam site. From here water is supplied to the temple town. The place is well maintained and people can take bath here.
It is at Narayanadri Hills and said to be highest peak of Tirumala Hills. Sometimes one feels to be in clouds!!
This is a stunning place to be.
Mythology says that this is the place where Lord Venkateshwara first set his foot on Earth. The view of Shri Balaji Temple and the town is very beautiful from here.