Nadimi Padi Kavali
Its wooden doors are covered with silver plates, and therefore it is also referred to as the Vendi Vakili. The doors are smaller than that of the Outer Gopuram.
There are numerous inscriptions on the inside walls, the earliest relating to the Pandyan monarch, Jata Varma Sundarapandya, who became king in 1251 AD.
Pilgrims who have taken a vow of performing Angapradakshinam perform it in the Vimana Pradakshinam.
Sri Varadarajaswami Shrine
The idol of Sri Varadarajaswami faces the West and is in a standing posture, with a disc and conch in the upper right and left hands respectively. The lower right hand is in the Abhaya pose and the lower left, in the Katyavalambika pose.
The name Varadaraja is given to this form of Sri Maha Vishnu as he is believed to be the giver of boons.
Inside the Potu, there is a small shrine dedicated to Sri Maha Lakshmi, who is also called Potu Amma (lady of the kitchen) or Madapuli Nachiyar. She is identified with Vakulamalika, who was, according to the Puranas, sent by Varahaswami to be the house-keeper of Sri Venkateswara, when he resided on the hill. Vakulamalika is said to have arranged Lord Sri Venkateswara’s marriage with Padmavathi.
In reality, she is regarded as Sri Maha Lakshmi, and is worshipped as such. She is worshipped during Varalakshmi Vratam, in the month of Sravana.There is a similar icon of Sri Maha Lakshmi in the Padi Potu, another kitchen located in the Sampangi Pradakshinam.
Rice prasadam is prepared in the inner Potu, while other Panyarams like laddus, vadas appams etc., are prepared in the Padipotu.
The Main Shrine
|The main shrine includes the sanctum and the three successive halls
in front of it upto the Bangaru Vakili. It consists of the:
- Snapana Mandapam, a square hall.
- Ramar Meda, a rectangular hall.
- Sayana Mandapam, also rectangular in shape, where the
Ekanta Seva is performed.
- Sanctum or Garba Griha, in which the idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara stands. In between the sanctum and the Sayana Mandapam, is the celebrated threshold, called the Kulasekhara-padi.
Annamacharya, the greatest of the three poets, came to the hill shrine in 1424 AD and served the Lord by rendering songs that he had composed, during some sequences of worship. He was a senior contemporary of Purandara Dasa, and his songs mark a significant stage in the evolution of South Indian music.
His songs can be classified into three groups – Adhyatama Sankeertanam, Sringara Sankeertanam and Srungara Manjari.
The songs were preserved in the Talapakamara for more than four hundred years, before they were transferred to the TTD office in Tirupati for the preparation of transcripts for publication during the days of the last Mahant, Prayaga Das, at the instance of the TTD epigraphist, Sri Sadhu Subramania Sastry.
The site of the Bangaru Bavi is as directed in the Vaikhanasa Agamas, and it is constructed according to the Vijayanagara style of architecture.
A particularly impressive sculpture in bas relief is that of Sri Maha Vishnu in the seated pose. He is shown with four arms; the upper arms holding the chakra and the shankha.
The Lord’s consorts are also shown seated in Sukhasana on either side of him.
The images of Vishvaksena and Garuda are the utsava murthis of their respective sub-shrines.
The main function of this Mandapam is to facilitate the performance of rituals that cannot be accommodated in the sanctum.
The Mandapam is so called because it is here that the representative icon of the Lord (Bhoga Srinivasa) is ceremoniously put to bed as the last sequence (Sayanotsava or Ekanta Seva) of daily worship.
The idol stands majestically in the Garbha Gruha, directly beneath a gilt dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana.
This exquisitely-wrought idol called the Mulaberam, is believed to be self-manifested, as there has been no known sculptor possessing the capability to sculpt idols so proportionately and beautifully. Further, no human being is known to have installed it in the shrine.
Ordinarily, the Lord wears a gold kiritam which has a large emerald embedded in front. On special occasions, he is adorned with a diamond kiritam.
On his forehead, the Lord has a thick double patch of upwrought namam drawn with refined camphor, which screens his eyes. In between the two white patches is a kasturitilakam.
His ears are bedecked with shining golden makara kundalas. The fist of His raised right hind hand is implanted with a gem-set chakra, and the corresponding left fist with the sankhu. The slightly outstreched front right hand, has its fingers pointing to His lotus feet, as the only recourse to His devotees to attain oneness with Him and enjoy eternal bliss. His front left hand is akimbo to assure His devotees of protection, and to show that the samsara sagara is only hip-deep if they seek His refuge.
His body is clothed with a pitambaram tied with gold string, and a gold belt to which are attached tiny, jingling gold bells. He is adorned with precious ornaments. He has a yajnopavita flowing down cross-wise from His left shoulder. He bears Sri Lakshmi Devi on His right chest and Sri Padmavathi Devi on His left chest. He bears Nagabharanam ornaments on both shoulders.
His lotus feet are covered with gold frames and decked with clinging gold anklets. A strong curved belt of gold encompasses his legs.
During Abhishekam, we can have darshan of Goddess Lakshmi.
The Ananda Nilaya Divya Vimana was covered with gilt copper plates and surmounted with a golden vase, in the thirteenth century, during the reign of the Vijayanagara king, Yadava Raya.
Pilgrims are not allowed to enter the Garbha Gruha (beyond Kurasekara path)
The Kalyana Mandapam is architecturally similar to the Tirumala Raya Mandapam. At its western end, is a small mandapam carried on slender cut-stone pillars and surmounted by a vimana.
On the South of the shrine is a raised portion called the Yagasala where homams are performed in connection with Brahmotsavam and other festivals.
Sri Ramanuja Shrine
Ramanuja was the architect of Tirupati and the father of the Sri Vaishnava community there. He designed the Nandanavanams or flower gardens of the temple. He was mainly responsible for managing the worship procedures and other affairs of the Sri Venkateswara temple.
The shrine was built around the 13th century. It overlooks the western end of the Tirumamani Mandapam. The Pandyan emblem of two fish and a hook is carved on the wall next to the entrance.
The right hand of the stone image of Ramanuja is held in the gesture of exposition (vyakhyana mudra), and the left hand in the form of boon bestowal (varada hasta), or of holding a book (pustaka hasta).
The shrine figures prominently during the festival of Adhyayanotsavam, which is a typical Pancharatra observance. Special worship is conducted in this shrine during Gandhapodi Utsavam and Bhashyakara Utsavam. The utsava murthi of Ramanuja is taken in a grand procession to meet Malayappa near the Padi Kavali.
Sri Narasimhaswami Shrine
Built in the 15th century, the shrine is surrounded by a polished mandapam. Artistic dance poses are depicted in the sculptured pillars.
Tirumamani Mandapam(Mukha Mandapam)
The Mandapam serves as an Asthana Mandapam, where Koluvu Srinivasa holds court after the Thomala Seva in the sanctum, listens to the reading of the almanac, and presides over the giving of daily rations of rice. The recitation of Suprabhatam also takes place here.
There are two massive, inscribed bells, which are known as Tirumani or Tirumahamani, which give the Mandapam its name. It is said that these bells were used during the Naivedyam in the sanctum.
On the eastern side of the Mandapam is a small shrine dedicated to Garuda. On the northern side is a gangala or large brass vessel covered with a sacred fabric, for depositing all votive offerings.
There are two tall copper images of the dwarapalakas Jaya and Vijaya on either side of the door. The thick wooden door is covered with gilt plates depicting the dasavataram of Sri Maha Vishnu.
The doorway is directly in line with the Padi Kavali and the Vendi Vakili. It admits pilgrims to the Snapana Mandapam.
Suprabhatam is sung in front of this door.
In Dravidian terminology, mukkoti means the vratham had on this day is equal to three crores time of vrathams followed on any Ekadasi day. The Pradakshinam has walls on three sides only, with the eastern wall missing.
Mukkoti Pradakshinam is opened to pilgrims only twice a year during Mukkoti Ekadasi (in the month of Pausha, Dhanurmasa) and Mukkoti Dvadasi (the following day). The doors are opened on the night of the eleventh day morning (early hours) after Thiruppavai and closed on the night of the twelfth day (called Margali-tiru-dvadasi).
Sri Vishwaksena Temple
Sri Vishwaksena occupies an important place in the Vaikhanasa Agama. In Vaishnavite functions and temple rituals, Sri Vishwaksena is worshipped first. Vishwaksena is said to be the chief of the army (of the Lord) and is believed to protect the function or ritual from evil.
The idol has four hands – the upper two holding a sankha and chakra, the right lower in Avgana hastam, and the left lower on the hip i.e. Gada hastam. The idol of Vishwaksena and its worship are strictly in accordance with the Vaikhanasa Agama.
During the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara, the garlands and flowers (called nirmalya) from the Lord’s idol are removed and Vishwaksena is worshipped with them.
Before commencement of the annual Brahmotsavam, the Senadhipathi or Vishvaksena Utsava is performed followed by Ankurarpana. According to popular belief, Vishvaksena provides clearance for the function to start and looks after the arrangements for the festival. His idol is also taken out in a procession during the Adhyayanotsavam.
Sri Yoga Narasimhaswami Temple
The idol of Yoga Narasimhaswami is sculptured according to the Sastras. He is seated with two hands on his knees, and girdled by the Yogapatta.
A ceremonial bath (Tiru-Manjana) is given to the idol in the sanctum on Saturdays; and on the fourteenth day of the bright half of the month of Vaisakha (according to the lunar calendar),Swati Nakshathram the idol is specially worshipped on account of Narasimha Jayanti.
Sri Garuda Temple
Garuda is a faithful devotee of the Lord and he stands with his hands joined in supplication (the Anjali pose). Being the Lord’s mount he is shown with outstretched wings, ever ready to carry him. You will find Garuda’s image not only in the shrine but also at the corners of the prakarams, mandapams and vimanas.
At the commencement of the annual Brahmotsavam of Lord Sri Venkateswara, a flag with the image of Garuda is hoisted on the Dhwajasthamba. It is believed that the Prasadam offered to Garuda in this temple, if partaken, will bless the sterile with children.
Every day, after completing the early morning puja conducted for Lord Sri Venkateswara, the Bali Bera of the Lord is taken out in a palanquin to give offerings to Parivaradevatas. The Lord is believed to personally supervise the food arrangements made for his subordinates, attendants and devotees. The palanquin called Sibika is considered to be Garuda himself.
An utsava murti of Garuda is kept in the Ramar Meda along with other bronze images.
The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatadri (Venkata Hill), and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala.
The name Tirupati, meaning the ‘the Lord of Lakshmi’ should have been appropriately applied to the village on the Venkata Hill, the abode of the Lord. However, it has been popularly assigned to the Municipal town at the foot of the Hill, while the village around the Hill near His temple is called Tirumala (the Sacred Hill).
Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) maintains twelve temples and their sub-shrines in the Tirumala-Tirupati area.
There are several places to visit in the Tirumala-Tirupati area.
|Test of the Three Divinities|
|At the commencement of the Kali Yuga, Vishnu left Venkatadri for Vaikuntam. Brahma was very unhappy with his departure and asked Narada to persuade Vishnu to return to Venkatadri. Narada then went to the banks of the River Ganga, where several rishis were performing a sacrifice. The rishis could not decide as to whom they intended to dedicate the fruit of their sacrifice. Bhrigu, one of the rishis undertook to solve the problem by examining the three chief divinities. He first went to Satyalokam, the abode of the three-headed Brahma (who is also attributed to have four heads) and found him busily chanting the Vedas with one face, uttering the name of Narayana with another and looking at Goddess Saraswati with the third. He took no notice of Bhrigu. Bhrigu resented the want of courtesy on the part of Brahma.
Bhrigu then went to Siva’s abode (Kailasam). Here too, he found Siva absorbed in sporting with his consort. Siva even became indignant at Bhrigu’s intrusion.
Finally, Bhrigu went to Vaikuntam, the abode of Vishnu and found Vishnu and Sri Maha Lakshmi reclining on Adisesha. Disgusted, Bhrigu kicked Vishnu on the chest, where Sri Maha Lakshmi was reclining. Vishnu immediately got up, massaged the rishi‘s foot and enquired if he had been injured. Pleased with Vishnu’s attention, Bhrigu returned to the rishis and advised them to dedicate the fruit of their sacrifice to Vishnu.
Sri Maha Lakshmi was angry with Bhrigu because he had kicked the spot which was her favourite resort on the bosom of the Lord. She left Vishnu and went to stay at Karavirapura (now Kolhapur in the state of Maharashtra). Unable to bear the solitude, Vishnu left Vaikuntam in search of Sri Maha Lakshmi.
This was how he made his way to Venkatadri, and entered the ant-hill under the tamarind tree on the southern bank of Swami Pushkarini on the Tirupati hill.
There is ample literary and epigraphic testimony to the antiquity of the temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th – 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.
It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple.
After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. The Maratha general, Raghoji Bhonsle, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.
After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control.
In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. The administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were then entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, till 1933 AD.
In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams(TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras.
In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Officer was appointed by the Government .
The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966.
|Contest between Adisesha and Vayudeva|
|Restoration of the Earth by Adi Varaha|
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana.
The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them.
The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest.
According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini.
One day, Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, in the course of his pilgrimage, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going up the Tirumala Hill for the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara. After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed and blue-bodied Vishnu beneath a tamarind tree. Vishnu was exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was only protected by the extended wings of Garuda.
Rangadasa was astounded by the wonderful sight. He raised a rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying flowers faithfully to Gopinatha everyday for Vishnu’s worship.
One day, Rangadasa was distracted by a Gandharva king and his ladies. Consequently, he forgot to supply flowers to Gopinatha for Vishnu’s worship. The Lord then revealed Himself and told Rangadasa that He had been testing the latter’s continence, but Rangadasa had not been steadfast and had succumbed to temptation.
However, the Lord accepted and appreciated Rangadasa’s devoted service to Him till then, and blessed Rangadasa that he would be reborn as an affluent ruler of a province and would enjoy the earthly pleasures. He would continue to serve the Lord, construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding walls, and thereby earn eternal glory.
Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, the son of the royal couple, Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman enjoyed a pleasurable life as a young man. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the Tirumala Hill, and with the help of a forester, saw Vishnu under the tamarind tree. Tondaman returned home, deeply affected by the vision of Vishnu.
Tondaman later inherited his father’s kingdom, Tondamandalam. In accordance with the directions given by Adi Varaha to a forester, Tondaman constructed a prakaram and dvara gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord (according to Vaikhanasa Agama).
In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja came to rule over Tondamandalam. His daughter Padmavathi was married to Venkateswara. The marriage, officiated by Brahma, was celebrated with great pomp and splendour.