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Tirupati - Lord of the Seven Hills OR the Lord of Lakshmi OR Pilgrimage City

STATE - ANDHRA PRADESH
   
DISTANCE - 247 KM From Bangalore, 152 KM From Chennai

 
CONNECTION
 
By Air : Direct flights to Tirupati are available from Hyderabad and Chennai.

By Rail : Tirupati is the nearest railway station. There are trains that travel via Renigunta or Gudur, but do not touch Tirupati.

Road : Buses run from all the important places in the state and between Tirupati and Tirumala.
 
ABOUT TIRUPATI
 
Tirupati City is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh, in Chittoor district. Tirupati is known as the abode of the Hindu god Venkateshvara (also spelt as 'Venkatesvara'), "Lord of Seven Hills". About 10-km northwest of Tirupati, at an elevation of 750m, is the sacred hill of Tirumala, which was considered very holy. One of the most important pilgrimage centers in India, the temple draws millions of pilgrims and is believed to be the busiest pilgrimage centre in the world.

Sangam literature, the earliest of Tamil literature (dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D) mentions of Tirupati as Thrivengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms. Sangam literature such as Ilango Vadigal's Silapadikaram and Satanar's Manimeghalai bear testimony to the existence of a shrine at Tirupati. Puranic literature which was composed roughly around the post-Mauryan and early-Gupta era also mentions of Tirupati as the Aadhi Varaha Kshetra. The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Till today the Varaha shrine holds great importance in Tirupati and is said to be older than the main sanctum of Venkateswara.
 
PLACES OF INTERESTS IN TIRUPATI
 
Chandragiri Fort : The fort a top of huge a rock that stands 56 meters tall is just 12 Kms from the temple town of Tirupati. Built in 1000 AD in the form of fortifications with bastions and a steep moat, Chandragiri was under the rule of Yadavarayas for about three centuries and came into the control of Vijayanagara rulers in 1367.

King’s Palace : One of the finest examples of Indo-Saracenic architecture of Vijayanagara period, this imposing three storeyed palace adorned by the crowning towers representing certain Hindu architectural elements, was constructed with stone, brick, lime mortar and is devoid of timber. The central tower that covers durbar hall rises through two storeys. It is said to be the same venue where Sri Rangaraya granted the site of Fort St. George to the British in 1640. The floors are supported by massive pillars while the walls bear fine plaster and stucco decorations.

Queen’s Palace : Similar to the Kings palace in style and method of execution, this edifice with ground floor looking like a stable and first floor containing quarters adorned with ornamental sikhara has a flat roof. Contrary to the popular belief that this place was meant for the queen or harem, the epigraphical record available from the basement speaks this building being a commander’s quarters.

Shila Thoranam : Shila thoranam (the great geological arch) is a rare geological phenomenon seen in Tirumala. During excavations in the 1980’s a rare geological formation consisting of two different sets of rocks connected together in the form of a thin link was found. Though small in size (25 ft long and l0 ft high) it is the second oldest known natural arch (1500 million years old), but what makes it unique and astounding is that the height of the idol of The Lord at Tirumala is same as the height of the arch.

Kailasakona Waterfalls : The Kailasakona Waterfalls is situated in the Nagary Valley. It is a mesmerizing waterfall having water that is quite rich in minerals and is said to be therapeutic.

Horsley Hills : The Horsley Hills is a beautiful hill station situated on the southwest border of Andhra Pradesh. It is located at an altitude of about 1,265 metres above sea level. This fabulous hill station is named after the former collector of Chittoor. Lovely valleys covered with teak, mango, sandalwood and eucalyptus plantations flank the place.
 
RELIGIOUS PLACES IN TIRUPATI
 
Tirupati Balaji Temple : The Tiruipati Tirumala Balaji Temple at Tirupati is an ancient temple located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati hill. The presiding deity of this temple is Lord Venkateshwara. Tirupati temple is also mentioned in ancient Hindu texts. It is a major attraction here, visited everyday by innumerable devotees.

Padmavati Devi Temple : The Padmavati Devi Temple is located in Tiruchanur, 5-km from Tirupati. The temple is dedicated to goddess Padmavati, the consort of Lord Venkateswara or Venkateshwara (Balaji). Also referred to as "Alamelumangapuram", it is said that a visit to Tirumala is incomplete with visiting the Padmavati Devi temple.

Sri Govindarajaswami Temple : One of the famous temples of Tirupati , Sri Govindarajaswami Temple is situated in the heart of the town. It was consecrated by Saint Ramanujacharya in 1130 AD.

Kodandaramaswami Temple : The Kodandaramaswami Temple is also located in the center of the Tirupati town. The deities worshiped here are Sita, Rama and Lakshmana. Built during the 10th century AD by the Cholas, the temple is a major attraction here. Just opposite of the temple is a sub-shrine of the temple dedicated to Anjaneyaswami.

Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple : This temple is situated about 3 km to the north of Tirupati, located in the base of Tirumala hills. This is an important temple as it is the only temple dedicated to Lord Shiva in Tirupati. Here you can also find a sacred waterfall known as "Kapila Teertham. This waterfall is called "Alwar Teertham and is also the venue of many festivals.

Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple : Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple is located 12 km to the west of Tirupati at Srinivasa Mangapuram. It is said that Lord Venkateswara stayed here after his marriage with Sri Padmavati Devi, before proceeding to Tirumala.
 
WHEN TO GO TIRUPATI
 
The best time to visit tirupati any time of the year.
 
WEATHER FORECAST
 
Summers (March to June) are hot with maximum temperature going up to 42°C to 45 °C, sight seeing tourists typically avoid the hot summer months April and May.
Monsoons (July to September) give relief to the hot climate with medium rainfalls, Tirupati looks good during the mild showers.
Winters (December to February) are very pleasant with the minimum mercury level of above 15°C, most of the travelers like this season.
 
EVENTS AND FESTIVALS IN TIRUPATI
 
Brahmotsavam : The Brahmotsavam is the most important temple festival celebrated at Tirupati-Balaji. The festival is celebrated annually in September. The festival is grand every third year and is called Navratri Brahmotsavam. On the third day of the Brahmotsavam, the temple car festival called Rathotsavam is held.

Vijayanagar festival : The Vijayanagar Festival is held for three days at the historic Chandragiri Fort near Tirupati-Balaji in the third week of October every year. The fort is a living testimony to the heroism of the rulers of Vijayanagar, and the festival coincides with the annual Brahmotsavam at the Tirupati-Balaji Temple. Musicians and dancers from all over the state come here to perform during the festival. The Rayalseema Food Festival is also held at the same time. During this festival, most of the local delicacies of the state are presented.

Kalyanotsavam : Tirupati also celebrates a festival called the Kalyanotsavam (marriage of the Lord). It is celebrated everyday at the Kalyanmandapam except during the Brahmotsavam and on certain other festive occasions.Kalyanam" means Wedding in Sanskrit.

Gangamma Jathara : Gangamma Jathara is also celebrated as a major festival. The Goddess Gangamma is offered animal sacrifices and also pongal and other offerings by the devotees. She is considered as the sister of The Lord Almighty, Govinda.

Rathasapthami : Rathasapthami (Magha Shuddha Saptami) is another festival, celebrated during February, when Lord Venkateswara idol will be taken procession around the temple chariots.

Dolotsavam : This festival is for those who wish to see Lord Venkateswara and his Consorts in all their regalia, on a tastefully decorated float amidst the waves of the sacred temple tank.

Vasanthotsavam : Vasanthotsavam is the festival of colors. This is of 3 day duration starting in Mid-April or 1st fortnight of May. The Lord and HIS consorts "play" and the devotees also spray colors on them. It costs Rs.3000 per family of 10 persons, per day. On the scheduled day, the function starts at 2 PM in the afternoon

Rayalseema Food and Dance Festival : September - October Held to coincide with the Brahmostsavam of Lord Sri Venkateshwara of Tirupati. Artisans, craftsmen and weavers from all parts of the country take part while the food courts offer mouth-watering cuisine of Rayalseema.

 The Vijayanagar Festival at Chadragiri : October The historic Chandragiri fort near Tirupati (where a Sound & Light Show is held daily) stands testimony to the grandeur of the Vijayanagar rulers. This festival coincides with the annual Brahmotsavam at the Tirumala temple. The visitors who witness the most reputed musicians and dancers perform embark on a journey into the past. Through the Rayalseema Food Festival which is also held at the same time, the most traditional delicacies of the region are brought forth exclusively for the gourmet`s delight.
 
FOOD AND RESTURANTS IN TIRUPATI
 
Sheermal is a popular & famous dish in Tirupati. Sheermal is a sweet bread, more like a Danish pastry. Tirupati is prominent for a lot of luscious sweets, specially the exotic "Luddu" which is given as "Prasada" at the Tirumala temple.
The 'Nawabi' style of the state reflects in its gastronomy too. Tirupati dwellers usually prefer vegetarian diet. However, people residing in coastal areas rely mostly on sea-food. Coconut oil makes the regular cooking medium for Andhra gastronomy.

 

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