Monday, January 25, 2010

Tirupati - Heavenly abode of Sri Venkateswara Swamy

More than 90% of Indian homes have a habit of thinking of god before starting any sort of event. I am just following the troupe here. When I think of god, He is the first one I can think of - Lord Venkateswara. People know him through other names also - Balaji, Srinivasa, Govinda, Narayana etc. I am not a subject expert and therefore, I would not write a lot on him. His devotees just love him and if you want to quantify the love - just visit Tirupati. (A word of caution though - please do not go to Tirupati if you have Enochlophobia - fear of crowds). I believe something happens to people as they enter Tirupati - they become crazy! Nothing comes in between them and their beloved god. Words definitely fail to express the enthusiasm you see in these devotees.

Tirupati is a major pilgrimage for Hindu people at the foothills of Eastern Ghats in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a peaceful place surrounded by hills on all the sides and one look in to the landscape tells you why god chose this place for his home. You will love it because of its serenity, quietness, greenery and lushness. Botanical people claim that the flora and fauna found here are very healthy.

Major chunk of devotees who visit this temple often go by a stairway to the main temple. This stairway is spread across 7 hills, starting at Alipiri, and consists of a walk of 11 KMs. People usually take around 3 hours to 6 hours to finish the trail but the experience is worth  every step.  The pathway to Tirupati has some interesting points in between like the deer park, a few photographic valley points and also there is a mid section of the route where people pile up the stones on the road to make a 3-4 storey structure which conveys to god that they need a house to build and it's a request to grant their prayers.
The rocks in this mountainous region are very old and the Sila Thoranam - Natural Arch formation is a rare sight not only in India but also in the world. 

File:Tirumala natural stone arch.jpg

Walk way for devotees
The gardens of Tirupati, statues of MahaBharat scenes, crafty pillars on roads also deserve a special mention.
Tirupati Chariot

Whenever I think of Tirupati, I can see the vivid pictures of green mountains, the golden temple shrine,  big laddus and awesome prasadam in the leaf bowl, numerous yellow lights covering night-enveloped-streets,  the big Vaishnava tilakam on the foreheads of almost all the men and those tonsured heads. I hear the mixed sounds of chantings, devotional songs and devotees shouting "yedukondalavada venkataramana govinda govinda!!!" I can smell ghee pongal, sweet laddus, flavored rice items and distinctly the sandalwood from tonsured heads.


One has to just visit the place once in their lifetime to experience the innate tranquility which it covers itself in...