Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is the most popular Vaishnavite temple in the world. It is located in Tirumala in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The presiding deity, Lord Venkateshwara, is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. He is believed to have appeared to save humankind from Kaliyuga effects.
Tirupati Balaji Temple – Facts
|Location||Tirumala, Andhra Pradesh|
|Best Time to Visit||September to March|
|Darshan Timings||3 AM to 1 AM|
|VIP Darshan||Rs.300 per person|
|Senior Citizen Darshan||Free|
|Dress Code||Indian Traditional|
The temple is located at the peak of Tirumala hill, also known as Venkatadri. The Venkatadri is one of the seven hills (Saptagiri) considered holy by the Hindus. These seven hills are – Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri, and Venkatadri.
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Timings
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple opens as early as 3 AM in the morning. The temple closes at 1:30 AM the next day although General Darshan stops after 1 AM.
Here are the different kind of Darshans and their respective timings:
- General Darshan (Sarva Darshanam) – This Darshan is open for the general public. The timings are different each day of the week.
- Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday – The Darshan starts from 7:30 AM – 7 PM in the evening. It resumes from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
- Wednesday and Friday – The Darshan starts from 9 AM till 7 PM in the evening and again from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
- Thursday – The Darshan starts early from 8 AM till 7 PM and then again from 8 PM till 1 AM the next morning.
- VIP Darshan (Sheeghra Darshan) – It is for immediate Darshan. The ticket cost is Rs. 300 per person. Pilgrims can also make an advance booking on the official website at www.ttdsevaonline.com. This Darshan starts from 9 AM daily till 3 PM.
- Tirumala Darshan by Walk (Divya Darshan) – This Darshan facility is only for those pilgrims who walk up the hill to reach the temple. Alipiri Mettu and Srivari Mettu are the two routes.
- Special Darshan for Senior Citizens – Pilgrims can have darshan in two-time slots of 10 AM and 3 PM daily. However, they must show proof of their age to the authorities.
- Special Darshan for Physically Challenged – Pilgrims can have darshan in two-time slots of 10 AM and 3 PM daily. However, they must show proof of their disability to the authorities.
- Infant Darshan: TTD has facilitated special darshan for parents carrying infants under one year of age.
- Newly Married Couple Darshan: There is also a special darshan for newly married couples through the Supadham entrance.
|↳ Monday, Tuesday, Saturday and Sunday||7:30 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM|
|↳ Wednesday and Friday||9 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM|
|↳ Thursday||8 AM to 7 PM, 8 PM to 1 AM|
|VIP Darshan||9 AM to 3 PM|
|Special Darshan for Handicapped||10 AM and 3 PM|
Tirupati Balaji Darshan Procedure
- Pilgrims are can contact any one of the three counters present inside the temple premises.
- Vaikuntha Queue Complex
- Rambagicha Complex
- Amenities Complex
- Here, pilgrims will receive their respective Sudarshan bands at a minimal cost. These bands will inform the pilgrims of the time at which they can have the Darshan of God.
- In this way, pilgrims do not have to wait in long queues. They can explore the Temple Complex area meanwhile. And they can report to the queue only when it is their turn to have the Darshan.
Tirumala Temple Dress Code
The Tirupati Balaji Temple Devasthanam administration introduced a dress code for men and women from 2013.
Poojas and Sevas at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple
Here is a list of all Poojas and Sevas at Tirupati Balaji Temple. We can divide them into three types: The Daily Sevas, the Weekly Sevas, and the Periodical Sevas.
Tirumala Daily Sevas
- Suprabhatam – This Seva is done at 2:30 AM in the morning to wake the Lord from his sleep. After that, the priests carry the idol from Sayana Mandapam (sleeping place) to the Ananda Nilayam (main shrine). The ticket costs Rs. 200 per person.
- Thomala Seva – This Seva starts at 3:30 AM and lasts for 30 minutes. Priests decorate the idols with garlands made of Tulsi and various flowers. Pilgrims can watch this only on Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday. The ticket price is Rs. 220 per person.
- Venkateshwara Sahasranama Archana – This Archana starts at 4:15 AM. In this Pooja, devotees recite the 1008 names of Lord Vishnu. Priests also call the blessings in the names and Gothra of the pilgrims taking part in the pooja. Pilgrims can perform the Seva on Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday. The ticket price is Rs. 220 per person.
- Ekantha Seva – It is the last Seva of the day and starts at 1:30 AM. The priests lay down the silver image on a golden cot in a sleeping position.
Tirumala Weekly Sevas
- Vishesha Pooja on Mondays – This Pooja starts from 7:30 AM to 9 AM. Priests recite several stotras and perform an Abhisheka. Then, they place 14 Kalash in front of the deities. They consist of oil, milk, curd, rice, and holy water in them.
- Ashtadala – Pada Padmaaradhana on Tuesdays – This Seva starts from 6:30 AM – 7:30 AM. Priests recite 108 names of the Lord Vishnu, each name accompanied by a Lotus flower. People also worship Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi and then a Ratha Aarti. The cost of the ticket is Rs. 2500 for 5 persons.
- Sahasra Kalabhishekam on Wednesdays – The ritual starts from 6:30 AM till 8:30 AM. In this unique ritual, priests fill 1008 silver vessels, 8 Parivara vessels, and one gold vessel with various things. They place them in the main Mandapam. Devotees also recite various Pancha Suktas and Shanti Mantras. The ticket costs Rs. 5000 for 6 persons.
- Tiruppuvada Seva on Thursdays – This Seva begins at 6:30 AM. Priests remove all the ornaments and flowers from the deity. Then, they dress the idol only in a Dhoti and an Uttareeyam. The cost is Rs. 5000 for 6 persons.
- Srivari Abhishekam on Fridays – It starts at 4:30 AM – 6 AM. Priests give a bath to the deity in holy Ganga along with milk, ghee, sandal, and saffron. The ticket costs Rs. 750 per person.
The Periodical Sevas
- Arjitha Kalyanotsavam Seva – The ritual signifies the marriage of Lord Venkateshwara with Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi. The ticket costs Rs. 1000 for 2 persons.
- Arjitha Brahmotsavam – People worship Lord Venkateshwara with Goddess Lakshmi and Padmavathi. They also recite several stotrams in this ritual. The ticket costs Rs. 1000 for 5 persons.
- Unjal Seva – The priests place the idols of the three deities on a swing against the backdrop of lamps. The ticket cost is Rs. 1000 for 5 persons.
Offerings and Donations at Tirupata Balaji
- Hair Tonsuring (Mundan) – Devotees shave their heads and give the hairs as an offering to God. It signifies the sacrifice for their Lord.
- Thula Bharam Seva – Under this Seva, a Thula (Weighing scale) is arranged. On one side, the devotee is seated whereas on the other side, an equivalent weight of offerings are made. It is ensured that both sides are at an equal level. The devotees then donate the offerings to the temple administration.
- Payback of Kubera’s Loan – As per the legend, Lord Venkateshwara took a loan from Kubera for his wedding arrangements with Padmavathi. A large Hundi is present inside the temple complex where devotees offer money and gold to God. Devotees donate with the belief that he can pay back the loan to Kubera.
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Architecture
- The temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. The temple has three entrances leading to the main shrine (Ananda Nilayam).
- First entrance – Mahadwara Gopuram with a brass door.
- Second entrance – Nadimipadi Kavali with the silver entrance.
- Third entrance – Bangaru Vakili with a golden door.
- The main idol of the Lord is in a standing position on a platform called “Brahmasthana.” Goddess Lakshmi is present on the right and Goddess Padmavathi on the left. The Gopuram (the entrance tower) over the main sanctum is covered with a golden vase. An idol of Vimana Venkateshwara is also present on the top of it.
- Priests can never displace the main idol of the Lord. Hence, small idols of several Gods are present in the sanctum to worship. They are Bhoga Srinivasa, Ugra Srinivasa, Koluvu Srinivasa, Sri Malayappan, and Sri Chakrathalvar. Sri Krishna, Sri Rama, Mata Sita, Lakshmana, Sugreeva are also present.
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Significance
- The common belief is that the Lord appeared on the Venkatadri hill to save humankind from the ill effects of Kaliyuga. The idol here is worshipped since the beginning of the Kaliyuga. Therefore, people call this place as Kaliyuga Vaikuntam.
- Most-Visited Place of Worship – Around 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually) visits this temple. On the day of the Brahmotsavam festival, the count increases to 500,000 pilgrims daily.
- The Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras. The word Swayambhu means that Lord Vishnu himself has turned into a statue here rather than installed by someone.
- Tirupati Balaji is also listed as 106th Divya Desam among the 108 Divya Desams of Lord Vishnu. It is the last earthly Desam of Lord Vishnu before he left earth for Vaikuntha.
- It is believed that one can hear the sound of an ocean by pressing an ear at the idol of the Lord. Also, the temperature of the idol always remains too high even after bathing it with water and Chandan.
History of Tirumala Temple
- Tirupati Balaji Temple is believed to have been built by King Thondaiman at the end of 8th century AD. He was the ruler of the Tamil ancient kingdom called Thondaimandala.
- The temple also received patronage from several dynasties like the Pallavas (9th century), the Cholas (10th century) and highly from the Vijayanagara kingdom in the 14th century.
- Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagara kingdom donated abundantly and renovated the temple periodically by adding new structures to it.
Legends of Tirumala Temple
Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple and its legends are mentioned in various historical manuscripts and also in various Puranas.
Legend of Lord Varaha Swamy
The legend says that Venkateshwara took the land of Tirumala hill from Varaha Swami. In return, Venkateshwara gave him a promise that he would be paid the first darshan.
Legend of Adishesha
Lord Vishnu gave a boon to Adisesha. The boon was that he would join the Venkatadri hills and become an abode of Lord Vishnu. Adisesha accepted and became Venkatadri.
Legend of Lakshmi and Padmavati
Lord Vishnu, incarnated as Srinivasa, met Padmavati in the forests during a hunt. They fell in love with each other. Later, they married each other after Akasa Raja’s approval. After six months of the marriage, Lakshmi returned to Vishnu in disbelief.
Festivals celebrated at Tirumala
- Tirumala Brahmotsavam – This festival is celebrated for 9 days every year during the Tamil month of Purattasi (Sep/Oct). This festival attracts millions of pilgrims for nine days.
- The deity is taken out in procession on different Vahanam every day like Shesha Vahanam and Singha Vahanam. By watching the parade, one gets the protection of Lord and Punya in life.
- The last day is the Birth Star day of Lord Venkateshwara. The celebration ends with Dhvajavarohanam, lowering of the Garuda flag.
- Teppotsavam – This festival is celebrated for five days in the month of Chaitra (March). The deities of Tirumala temple are taken for a ride in the Swami Pushkarini Tank.
- Vasanthotsavam – This festival is celebrated for three days in March/April. King Achyutaraya introduced this festival to mark the beginning of the spring season.
- Pavithrotsavam – The festival is celebrated for three days in the month of Shravan (July/August). The priests seek forgiveness from Lord Venkateshwara for all the mistakes committed knowingly or unknowingly while performing the daily rituals.
- Jyesthabhshekam – The festival is celebrated in the month of Jyestha (June). Lord Venkateshwara appeared with a protective armor to fight against evil in Kaliyuga. On this day, people do Abhisheka and Poojas to that armor.
Here are other major festivals celebrated at Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. These are Pushpa Pallaki, Padmavathi Parinayam, Pushpa Yagam, and Koil Alwar Thirumanjanam.
How to reach Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple?
- By Air – The nearest airport is Tirupati Airport, at a distance of 40 km from the temple. Chennai is the second nearest international airport.
- By Rail – The nearest railway station is Tirupati, 26 km away from Tirumala. The AP Sampark Kranti Express connects to Bhopal, Gwalior, and New Delhi.
- By Road – Several direct buses are available from cities like Chennai, Bengaluru, and Vellore. Regular buses are available from Tirupati to Tirumala.
Where to stay nearby?
- The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) has constructed several cottages and guest houses for the benefit of the pilgrims. These are-
- Padmavathi Guest House
- Sri Venkateshwara Guest House
- Varaha Swamy Guest House
- Besides the guest houses, they have also constructed several choultries for the free stay of pilgrims.
Several private hotels are also available as an option for pilgrims.
Where to eat nearby?
- The Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple Devasthanam (Temple administration) provides full meals to all devotees under the Nitya Annadanam Scheme.
- Pilgrims can also get free tiffin, coffee, tea, and milk in the temple complex.
- The meal is pure-veg.
What are some famous temples near Tirumala?
- Varaha Swamy Temple – It is located at the banks of Swami Pushkarini near the Tirumala Temple. According to legend, Lord Varaha Swamy granted land to Lord Venkateswara to stay in the hill. In return, Lord Venkateswara promised the privilege of first Darshan to Varah Swamy.
- Bedi Anjaneya Swamy Temple – This temple is located opposite to Tirupati Balaji Temple. As per the legend, young Lord Hanuman (Anjaneya) wanted to leave home in search of a camel. His mother Anjana Devi then tied his hands. The idol present here is also showing the hands of Hanuman tied.
- Padmavathi Devi Temple – This temple is located 5 km away from Tirumala Temple in the town of Tiruchanoor. The presiding deity is Goddess Padmavathi, the wife of Lord Srinivasa. People also call this temple as Alamelumangapuram.
- Prasanna Venkateshwara Swamy Temple – It is located 16 km from Tirupati. The uniqueness of the Temple is the presiding deity Venkateshwara who is in the “Abhaya Hasta” posture. This Temple is the marriage site of Srinivasa and Padmavathi.
- Govindaraja Swami Temple – The temple is also located in Tirupati and was built by Ramanujacharya. The presiding deity Govindaraja was the elder brother of Venkateshwara. It is believed that worshiping him can result in better management of one’s finances.
- Kapileswara Swamy Temple – This temple is also located in Tirupati. As per the legend, this is the place where Lord Shiva appeared before Maharishi Kapila. The Shiva Linga is believed to have been self-manifested here.
- Kodanda Ramaswamy Temple – The Chola dynasty and Vijayanagara Empire built this temple. The presiding deities are Lord Rama, Goddess Sita, and Lord Lakshman.