Tirupati, situated in Andhra Pradesh, is one of the most famous religious destinations in the country. Popularly known as Tirupati Balaji or Govindam, this holy town carries the legend of being the celestial home to the Lord Vishnu himself. Let’s explore the tourism scenario of this enchanting city.
Situated in the foothills of the Tirumala range, Tirupati is a famous religious town known for and synonyms with the Tirumala Venkateswara temple. The temple is dedicated to Lord Vishnu and attracts millions of devotees each year. Chennai, the capital city, is the nearest famous city, and perfect to make a base. From there you can take a Chennai to Tirupati train, and immerse yourself in the high spirits of the religious city.
There are seven peaks in the Tirumala range, which are symbolic to the seven hoods of Adisesha (the serpent on which Lord Vishnu resides). The seventh peak is called Venkatachala, and it is where the famous temple has been built. According to the local sources, the temple is amongst the richest pilgrimage spots in India. The reason behind it is a small legend, which says that when Goddess Lakshmi left God Vishnu, all his fortunes, positivity and wealth went away. Since there wasn’t any money, and Lord Vishnu wanted to marry Lakshmi, he borrowed whatever he needed from Kubera. Seeing the God’s successful attainment of wishes, a temple was built in his honor and since then the devotees have donated small fortunes in the temple, so that they can put away his debt and get his favours in return.
The area surrounding the Venkateswara temple, as the folklore goes, was coined by Lord Brahma himself. The dispute about the exact date of establishment and the chief deity of the temple was unknown for a long time, until when Ramanuja, the Vaishnava scholar, explored and revealed the main deity as Lord Vishnu and put an end to the confusion. Since then, the ruling kingdoms of the Pallavas, Cholas, Vijaynagara and Mysore have paid their homage in huge sums of priceless jewellery and upgradation of the temple.
During the British rule, several officers too felt the divine power of the temple, when their ailments were cured through a show of devotion towards the temple God. One of the officers, Sir Thomas Munroe, gifted the entire village of Kotavayulu so that the daily offering of gangalam never stops. This offering is still called as Munroe gangalam.
Tirupati is also famous as the most-worshiped places in the world. On an average, the temple sees about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims on a daily basis. On special occasions and festivals like Brahmotsavam, the footfall shoots to beyond 500,000 pilgrims. Besides being a famous place of devotion, Tirupati is emerging as an important business hub. Several manufacturing businesses like automobile, textile, mobile and electronic have set up their production plants in the vicinity of the city.
So, if you’re planning to soak up in the holy atmosphere of Tirupati and explore the local culture, this trip should always be there in your itinerary. The reach the temple city, it is better to make travel arrangements before hand. Check your train ticket booking status and book a room in advance.