The Tirumala temple (also known as Venkateswara Temple) is considered one of the most beautiful temples of India. Constructed in Dravidian architecture, this temple is considered to be the richest temple in India and is visited by 50,000 to 100,000 temples daily. Within the temple premises, a whopping 2.2 million people perform religious rituals daily.
The Tirumala Temple
The temple has a seven-story gopuram or tower, which is more than 30 meters tall and has intricate carvings of gods and goddesses. The temple is famous for its annual festival that attracts a large number of Hindu pilgrims from all over the country. This festival lasts for 10 days during September every year and has been celebrated for centuries in honor of Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The temple is surrounded by a lush green mangrove forest.
The construction of the temple began in the 18th century, but it was not completed until 1891. The main deity of the temple is Lord Venkateswara, who is worshipped as a form of Lord Vishnu. The temple is located in Tirumala at Venkatachalam near Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh. It has a height of 50 meters and is decorated with intricate carvings.
The construction of this temple started by Maha Nayak kings from the Reddy dynasty (1603 AD). It is constructed to the specifications as given by the Vijayanagar kings. In the 16th century, the British acquired Tirumala from Tirupati and handed it over to Tirumala Devasthanam, administered by the Puri Sree Mahamahopadhyaya Sri Annamacharya Swamiji.
The temple is considered very sacred and has had several kings who have offered their own sons as a sacrifice in its name, in order to be blessed with a long reign. One of them was the Chola king Thirumalai Nayak, who is believed to have made a vow to offer the head of his son as a sacrifice. When he was about to perform this sacrifice, the village priest intervened and said that it was not possible as the boy had not attained puberty. The result was that he instead sacrificed his minister’s son and built a tower using his blood.
The temple has several legends surrounding it, which are part of Hindu mythological stories. One of them states that the God of Death came to the temple and said that the demon Ravan had built a bridge over an underground chasm, connecting his kingdom to Lanka. The king ordered his nobles to construct a bridge over this chasm and when they started building it, no one offered any resistance. However, as the work continued, it began drizzling and all the efforts were in vain. It is also believed to be built on a spot where Brahma once created himself from the sand. It is also believed that if even an insect falls on the floor of this temple, it should be removed immediately as it brings bad luck to the place.
The Tirumala temple is considered one of the most sacred temples of India and has been referred to in several ancient writings. It has been mentioned in texts like “Tirumantiram” by Thirumoolar and “Thiru Urimai Vaal” by Nambiyandar Nambi.