Dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara, Tirupati Temple is a must visit for every Hindu Pilgrim. Situated 10 km from the city center of Tirupati, The temple is the richest Hindu temple in entire world and the second most visited pilgrimage destination after Vatican. Thousands of pilgrims pay a visit to the temple every day. It is estimated that the average turnover of the temple easily crosses Rs 5 billion mark every year.
History of Tirupati Temple
There is no document proving what the exact age of Tirupati Temple is. And there are many versions that do the round about its origin. One thing that can be said with certainity is that its was built before 500 A.D as there are references found on the temple in literature as old as 500 A.D. It was only in the 12th century that the deity of the temple was identified as Lord Vishnu by great scholar Ramanujam. All the rulers who rule d Andhra Pradesh donated huge amount of gold to the temple helping it become as wealthy as it is today.
The Temple Architecture
There are number of small shrines inside the premises apart from the main sanctum sanctorum. The entire temple is constructed in Dravidian style. There are three enclosures which are called 'Prakarams' and a dome on the main shrine called as ''Vimana'. Other main attraction of the temple are the statues of Vijayanagara King Krishnadevaraya and his spouse. The idol of the deity, the full figure of Lord Venkateswara or 'Venkataramana' or 'Srinivasa' or 'Balaji' has the attributes of both Vishnu and Shiva, preserving and destroying aspects of the Hindu Trinity.
The Daily Rituals
It is estimated that every day around 60000 pilgrims visit the temple everyday and on any special day, the number easily touches 200000 mark. People have to wait in long queues to get a view of the deity completely ornamented from tip to toe. Devotees have to take a dip in the Pushkarini tank, the waters of which are considered sacred and highly praised in the Puranas before entering the temple. The day starts with the suprabhata darshanam as early as 3 AM and ends with the ekanta seva around 1 AM when the Lord is put to bed in a velvet mattress spread over a swing cot suspended by gold chains.