Places to Visit
This holiest of the 108 pilgrim centers, Tirumala Hills snugly nestles in the Eastern Ghats surrounded by hills. Mystical vibration surrounds everyone in the chanting of the dawn invocation known as "Suprabhatham" to the Lord, in the twinkling of the temple bells, in the fragrance of sandal paste and camphor, in the heavy, smoky scent of incense - all these blending together to raise the restless mind to an experience of intense spiritual awareness. The origin of the deity is said to be pre-historic, but the central shrine was build in the 4th century A.D. by the Greater Pallavas. The Lord of the Seven Hills has been referred to in the Rig Veda, the oldest literature - extent. The Venkatachala Mahathyam contains lore from twelve Mahapuranas.
The founder of Govindarajaswami Temple was the famous Vaishnava teacher Ramanuja. This temple is situated in the heart of the temple town. The earliest records belongs to the year 1235 A.D. ascribe the foundation of the shrine to Ramanuja. An inscription of 1456 AD states that Govindaraja, Sridevi and Bhudevi were given a holy bath with water obtained from a tank built by Ramanuja. We learn from epigraph of 1475 AD that oil and betel leaves offered to Lord Venkateswara were being bought down from Tirumala to be offered to Govindaraja at the time of his Tirumanjanam Abishekam on the the day of Krittika star in the month of Krittika. The Govindaraja temple received wider attention with the advent of Vijayanagara rule over Tondamandalam. The Govindaraja temple came in for greater patronage during the rule of the Saluva dynasty of Vijayanagara. A certain Appapillai built a mantapa in front of the kitchen in 1506 AD where the devotees drop their offerings.
This is a rare Geological Rock Arch. This is only one of its kind in the whole of Asia. Only two other such Arches are known to exist in the world, namely the Rain Bow Arch of Utah in U.S.A. and Arch cut through the Radiant Quartzsite in U.K. This is one of the rarest Geological facts of our country and the age of the rock is estimated to be 2500 million years and Geologists compute the age of arch as 1500 million years. This is also a rare Geological feature called Eparchean Unconformity. This natural arch is supposed to have formed due the intensified weathering and erosion of stream along and has withstood the torque of nature. This is a Natural Geological phenomenon. Its length is 25 feet and height is 10 feet. Devotees believe that Lord Venkateshwara the presiding deity of this sacred hill appeared through this as a swayambhu and took up his abode at the temple, which is past a kilometer away. Pilgrims must make it a point to visit the wonder of the world during their Tirumala trip. No buses are available, a private vehicle or a 20 minute walk from Sri Varahaswamy Temple brings you there.
This historic place is 12 kms from Tirupati. A beautiful fort was built in 1000AD and was developed by Saluva Kings of the Vijanagara Empire. Raja Mahal and Rani Mahal are fine specimens of architecture (no timber is used in the entire construction). Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya, who distinguished himself by his invaluable offerings to Sri Venkateswara was a frequent visitor to Chandragiri. The replicas of the statues of Sri Krishnadevaraya and his consorts (originals inside Tirumala Temple) are kept here. The museum inside Raja Mahal has fine collections of bronze and granite sculptures. Town buses are available from Tirupati Bus Stand every ten minutes. Be prepared for a 20 minutes walk from Chandragiri town center to the fort. The sound and light shown is another added attractive at the fort.
Tiruchanur, popularly known as Chirtanur, is a village situated three miles to the south of Tirupati. This village was known as Tiruchchogionur and Tiruchchukanur in earlier times and one late inscription calls it Srisukagrama. Trichanur is of great importance in the history of the Tirupati region, particularly for the evaluation of religious activity therein. This region comes under the influence of vaishnavism as early as the eight century. Alamelu Mangapuram is a tamil name and means a woman standing on the, Floating Lotus flow. After Mahalaskhmi's departure from Vaikunta due to Brighu Maharshisrash rash action, Mahavishnu was unable to bear the pangs of separation. Mahavishnu descended to Bhuloka and wandered for years here and there and finally came to know that Mahalakshmi is in Tapodan in the lotus of Padmasarovar of Tiruchanoor and after deep penance for 12 long years mother Lakshmi, gave darshan to Balaji on a red lotus flower.
This is a small temple situated about two miles to the north of Tirupati town on the eastern bank of the Kapiltheertham tank, which is also known as Alwar Theertham. The structures were erected by certain Rayan - Rajendrasolan alias Brahmrayan the head of the village Kottu, in ancient times Tirupati is called as Kottur. The last inscription dated 1865 AD mentions that Mahanth Dharma Das renovated the steps and mantaps of the Kapilatheertham tank. The earliest of the records mentioned above does not mention the name of the God. Kapileswara and his temple as such comes to be mentioned for the first time in 1563 AD. This is much sought after the largely visited saivate temple in Tirupati. The sight of archamurthi sivalinga with its diamond studded triple lines on the forehead standing for vibhuti marks raises the hands in reverence instantly on entering the mukha mantapa. This is the only saiva temple in Tirupati. The temple enshrines Sri. Kapileshwaraswamy. Waterfalls in this place are an attractive sight (especially in rainy season). One can enjoy the peaceful atmosphere, as this place is located a little away from the town. City buses and autos are the means of conveyance to reach Kapilatheertham.
'Sri Kalahasti' is one of the ancient sacred places of our country. It is believed that many saints and holy persons attained ' mukthi' at this unique and important Siva Kshetra, which is well known for its religious importance and philosophical greatness. It is claimed that a visit to this holy shrine by a devotee would earn him the 'peace', 'happiness' and 'prosperity' with the blessings and divine grace of Lord Siva. This religious centre is situated in beautiful and natural setting. The presiding deity of the 'puniya' kshetra is 'Sri Kalahasteswara'. The Siva linga of Sri Kalahasti is one of the five supreme Lingas representing the five great fundamental ' Elements' namely (Appu) Water, (Tejos) Fire, (Vayu) Air, (Akash) Sky, (Prithvi) Earth. Lord Siva has taken the form of 'Vayu-Linga' in this temple to bless devotees during all four 'yougas'.
The Kalyan Venkateswara is a replica of the main deity of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala situated towards western side of Tirupati, around 10 kms, on the banks of the Swarnamukhi River. The reason behind the construction of the temple here is an ethic that Lord Venkateswara married padmavathi. While trekking to Tirumala hills he wants to visit saint called Agastya, and the blessings of the saint and as per his advise Lord Venkateswara stayed beneath the hills for six months. When Lord decides to go back to Tirumala he gave two boons to the devotees that whoever could not be able to do darshan at Tirumala can worship me at Srinivasa Mangapuram the similar moksha can be attained by the devotee. Whoever faces hindrances regarding their marriage can come and worship him, they can overcome their problems. Thus the lord is called as Kalyana Venkateswara. This temple was in dilapidated condition due to natural disasters and external aggression of Yavanas, under such circumstances Chinna Tirumalayya renovated the temple and conducted all the temple rituals as per Agamasastra. This information is provided in Rock pillar inscription.
The renowned Varasiddi Vinayaka Temple is situated here. The temple is 1000 years old. It is believed that Vinayaka incarnated as ‘Swayambu’ here. According to Stalapurana, three brothers who were deaf, dumb and blind were digging a well. At that time blood came from a black stone. That blank stone is Vinayaka idol. Due to touch of blood, the three brother lost their deformities. The idol is growing every year which is manifested in change of ornaments every year. There is a strong belief that the wishes of the devotees are fulfilled and hence called Varasiddi. The temple is famous for pramanams. Many of the people perform 'Pooja' for their new vehicles here to avoid untoward incidents.
Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park
The Sri Venkateswara Zoological park is located in the outskirts of the world famous temple town of Tirupati. It is well connected by both road and rail. The nearest airstrip is in Renigunta and the nearest international airport is in Chennai The message of conservation of nature with all its diversity is conveyed by highlighting the role of animal and plant life in Indian culture, mythology and literature. It also reminds the modern man of the importance given to wild life by our ancestors. The unique aspect of this zoo is that all the animals that have been exhibited in this zoo are those mentioned in our ancient epics and manuscripts such as the Ramayana, Mahabharatha, Panchatantra etc.