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Venkateshwara Temple

Lord Venkateshwara temple has many forms which can be seen in the temple of Tirupati-Tirumala. Lord Vishnu is known as the Lord of Kal Yug. The Srinivasa temple is located at a distance of 12kms from Tirupati. The name of the Lord Ven-Kata-eshwar literally means the sins of the living being can be forgiven by surrendering oneself towards the supreme power.

Lord Vishnu is worshiped six times a day by performing prayers named Usha Kala Aradhana, Prathakala Aradhana, Madhyanika Aradhana, Aparahana Aradhana, SandhyaKala Aradhana, and Ardharatri Aradhana. The Lord of seven hills is located on the seventh hill named Venkatadri.

The activities performed in the temple includes Prasadam, Hair tonsuring, Hundi, Thulabharam, and Arijitha seva (paid service).

The idols placed in the huge temple are Moolavirat or Dhruva Beram or Lord Venkateshwara, Kautuka Beram or Bhoga Srinivasa  tiny one foot silver deity who sleeps on golden cot. The Sahasra Kalashabishekam is performed on every Wednesday. The deity is placed near the left foot of the Lord Venkateshwara placed at a degree of 45 facing towards devotees which holds Prayoga which means Chakra.

Snapana Beram or Ugra Srinivasa is the anger part of Lord Venkateshwara placed inside the box that is taken out on Kaishika Dwadasi before sunrise for snapana that is for cleansing. Utsava beram also known as Lord Malayappa comes out to meet devotees. The companion of the Lord are Sridevi and Bhudevi. The idols of the deity were found in a cave called Malayappan Konai in holy hill of Tirumala. It is said that Ugra Srinivasa was known as Utsava Beram in ancient times. A story that prevails from the history says that, at the time when Lord was taken out many incidents of fire took place.      

About Venkateshwara Temple (Main)


 Venkateshwara Temple

Venkateshwara main temple is in the center which has a hut and three halls in front which extends till Bangaru Vakili. In the large area of temple there are numerous halls smaller than the main halls. The halls are named as Snapana Mandapam (square hall), Ramar Meda (rectangular hall), Sayana Mandapam (rectangular hall - Ekanta Seva), hut or Garba Griha is a place where idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara stands.

The pilgrims are allowed to enter only till Kulasekhara-padi which is located between the hut and the Sayana Mandapam. The Lord of Kal Yug, Lord Vishnu or Venkateshwara idol place on the temple stands on the golden plated lotus pedestal which is 18ft tall. The room in which the idol is placed measures about 12 feet and 9 inches in raidus. One may find “Gold plated” doors, deities, walls, etc in the temple.

Generally in India most of the idols of the god and goddesses are placed facing east. The gold plated idol of the Lord Venkateshwara is placed facing east in a hut with a gold plated door – bangaru vakili, gopurams of the main temple inside is also gold plated.

The uniqueness of the temple is that it has a single idol of Venkateshwara. The main temple has one single idol standing alone. The hut in which the idol is placed is known as Grabha-Gruham located below a gilt dome known as “Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana”. The idol is believed to be placed in the temple on its own also known as Mulaberam.

The beauty of the idol of the Lord Venkateshwara is described as the golden crown or Kiritam with large emerald in the center of the crown. The forehead of the idol has two horizontal small lines of camphor which covers the third eye. A single vertical line of red color can be seen drawn from the centre of the two horizontal lines.

The ears of the idol have beautiful gold rings. The upper right hand of the Lord Venkateshwara holds the circular disc known as chakra gold plated with gems on it. The upper left hand of Lord Venkateshwara holds shankh or big shell.

These shells are found in Indian Ocean. The shell is considered as symbol of Lord Vishnu which is used in the temples as trumpet. In ancient times the shells were used at the time of war as an indicator of beginning, ending and winning.
 
In the religion of Hindu the “Shankh or Shell” is considered as a source of fame, longetivity and prosperity. Hindus also believe that hearing the sound of shankh or blowing the same generates positive energy and cleanses all the sins. The shell is considered as the house of wife of Lord Vishnu that is goddesses Lakshmi. The followers of Hindu religion believe that Shankh is a symbol of water, female fertility and serpents.

The other two lower hands of Lord Vishnu direct the devotees by a finger pointing downwards directing them to get submerged in him. The lower left hand of the Lord Vishnu is symbol of protection of the devotees.

The body of the idol of Lord Venkateshwara has lots of Gold ornaments on it. Body of the idol is covered with gold-Pitambaram that is covering the body like a cloth with a belt of bells tied at the waist. A form of purity is a thread generally worn by Brahmins a caste in India. The thread can be seen on the body of Lord Venkateshwara cross from the left shoulder. The broad shoulders of the idol are covered with gold ornament. The golden foot of the Lord is placed on the golden petals of the Lotus. The ornament worn in the leg is circular or ring shaped and is made up solid gold. The companions of the Lord Vishnu goddesses Lakshmi and Sri Padmavati Devi can be seen on the right and left side on the body of the Lord Venkateshwara.

One can see goddesses Lakshmi during Abhishekam or bath of the Lord Vishnu.

Sri Varadarajaswami Shrine

Another name of Lord Vishnu is Sri Varadaraja Swami. Lord Vishnu is the supreme power and is known as the driver of the universe. The wishes of devotees requested to Lord Vishnu is accepted and granted and so he was named as Varadara. In the huge area of temple one may find the idol of Dri Varadaraja Swami placed in the eastern side of the vimana. The temple is in the right of Lord Vishnu temple of 20ft length and 15ft width. The standing, western facing idol of Sri Varadarajaswami has four hands amongst which the upper right hand holds a circle or disc or chakra and the upper left hand holds conch or shankh. Lord Varadaraja Swami’s lower hands are in different poses, the lower right hand is in the Abhaya pose and the lower left hand is in the Katyavalambika pose.

Potu or Kitchen

In the temple of Lord Venkateshwara located in Tirumala one will find a kitchen also known as Potu (in local language). The kitchen is used to prepare food offerings for Lord Vishnu. Potu is located towards the south of the Varadaraja swami temple in the campus. In Hindu religion it is believed that there exists goddess of food Maa Annapurna. An idol of goddesses Lakshmi or Potu amma or Madapuli Nachiyar is placed in the kitchen. In accordance to the Purans the goddesses of food has also been titled as Vakulamalika where her duties also included housekeeping for Lord Visnu, during Lord Venkateshwara’s stay on hill top. Varahaswami sent Vakulamalika to help Lord Venkateshwara. Purans says that it was Vakulamalika who arranged marriage of Lord Sri Venkateswara marriage with Padmavathi. As rice is the main cereal grown in this area so, rice is offered as prasadam to the deity, prepared in the inner Poti. The food is offered to the deity three times a day.

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