The Venkateswara Temple
Considered to be the holiest of holy lands for Hindus… Tirupati is a must visit for every devout Hindu, at least once in a lifetime. Being the richest temple in the whole world, it is of little wonder then, that the outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum are covered in sheets of gold. This ancient temple is located on top of the last of seven hills, which are covered with lush greenery and dense forests.
The deity is covered from head to toe in glittering diamonds and priceless jewels. Measuring about 9 feet in height, the Lord with a smiling countenance, and eyes full of divine mercy… is all but stone. Upon entering the inner sanctum, the atmosphere turns highly charged, the crowd break into a fervor and the chantings become louder… you cannot help but feel the intense magnetism the idol exudes. And when you finally catch a glimpse of Him… time comes to a standstill and an inexplicable feeling of peace descends on you. The divine charm in the inner sanctum will leave you in a spell.
Tirupati is visited by more than 50,000 pilgrims each day, and on important days the count goes above 1,00,000 people.
This temple has been patronized by various kings and rulers throughout its history, including Muslims and the British. Rich and generous contributors include the Pallavas (9th century AD), Cholas (10th century AD) and the Vijayanagar rulers (14th century AD).
Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple
This is the temple of Goddess Padmavathi, the consort of Lord Venkateswara. It is located, at Almelumanga Puram also known as Tiruchanoor, about 5 km from Tirupati. People believe that a trip to Tirupati is complete only after visiting this temple.
At the top of Narayanagiri Hill there is a spot where Lord Narayana first set foot (as per mythology). These foot prints, Srivari Padaalu still exist here, and are revered by all the pilgrims who visit Tirupati. A breathtaking bird’s eye view of the temple town regales visitors.
Lord Sree Rama, during his Aranyavasam is believed to have visited this place, which is about 5 km from Tirumala. This sacred site attracts thousands of devotees during Hanuman Jayanti, who come here to worship the famous idol of the monkey god, Lord Hanuman.
Venugopala Swamy Temple
Devotees on the way to Papavinasam visit this temple of Lord Venugopala Swamy.
Sri Varahaswami Temple
Located on the banks of Swamy Pushkarini is the shrine of Sri Varahaswamy. It is written in the Puranas that all who seek the blessings of Lord Venkateshwara, must make offerings to Sri Lakshmi Thaayar at the Varahaswamy Temple, prior to their visit to the Venkateswara Temple.
Govindaraja Swamy Temple
The Govindaraja Swamy Temple with its magnificent Galigopuram is dedicated to Lord Govindraja Perumal. This holy spot also has shrines of Sri Venkateswara, Sri Andal and Sri Parthasarathy.
Sri Kodandarama Swamy Temple
Built to commemorate the visit of Sri Rama, Lakshmana, Sita and Hanuman to Tirupathi after their victory in Lanka, the Kodandarama Swamy Temple is about 1 km from Tirupati railway station.
Hare Rama Hare Krishna Temple
Both Sri Rama and Sri Krishna, like Lord Venkateswara, are incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Hence the presence of the ISKCON maintained temple, where Sri Krishna Jayanthi is celebrated in a grand manner.
Located in the centre of Tirupati is a temple dedicated to Gangamma, who is believed to be the sister of Lord Venkateswara. This temple is the site of a Jatara (7 days) during the month of May, when devotees offer Pongal to be blessed with good health and wealth.
Veda Narayana Swamy Temple
Site of the Surya Puja during the month of March every year, when the rays of the sun fall directly on the idol, the Veda Narayana Swamy Temple is located 60 km from Tirupati.
Palli Kondeswara Swamy Temple
This shrine at Surutu Palli, has a unique idol of Lord Shiva in a reclining pose, that is normally associated with Lord Vishnu. It is believed that Lord Shiva after saving the world, by drinking the venom of the serpent Vasuki, slept for a while on the lap of Goddess Parvathi Devi. Fearing that he may be poisoned, the Goddess gently pressed his neck, to stop the venom from going into his system. After recovering and on his way to Kailas, Lord Shiva rested at Surutu Palli. A temple was built to commemorate this event and is located 70 km from Tirupati on the Tamil Nadu border.
Waleswara Swamy Temple
This temple is in Rama Giri, about 5 km from Nagalpuram, situated on the Chennai National Highway 55 km from Tirupati. This hamlet is amongst picturesque mountains and is also as known as ‘Bhairava’, due to the presence of a Kaalbhairava Temple here.
Venugopala Swamy Temple
This temple at Nagaram, near Narayavanam that is 35 km away from Tirupati, is also the site of Sri Sita Rama shrine. The location of temple is Karvetinagar, meaning “clearing of the forest” in Tamil. Built by the rulers of the Suryavamsa Dynasty this holy location also has the Parasareswara Swamy Temple, Avanaksh Amma Temple, Renuka Parmeswari Temple, Skananda Pushkarani and some ancient Palaces.
Sri Prasanna Venkateswara Swamy Temple
This is where Sri Siddeswara along with other sages, was blessed by the divine couple of Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi Devi after their wedding. This temple is located 4 km away from Tirupati, at a town called Appayalagunta.
Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple
The best time to visit the Sri Subramanya Swamy Temple at Pakala, is in August, when the Kavadi festival is celebrated in a grand manner.
Kanigi Venkateswara Swamy Temple
This is claimed by some to be the original spot where Lord Venkateswara first stepped on earth, before proceeding to Tirumala..Located atop Kaligiri hills near Putalapattu, this spot is visited by many mainly due to its scenic beauty.
Ardhagiri Veeranjaneya Swami Temple
This shrine dedicated to Lord Hanuman is located near Aragonda which means ‘Ara(half) gonda(hill), Believed to be a portion of the Sanjeevi Parvatham, which was dropped while being carried to revive Lord Lakshmana.
Gangamma Temple, Boyakonda
Located at Madnapalle, this temple dedicated to the sister of Lord Venkateswara, is famous for the festivities during the Navartri celebrations.
The sacred garden venue where the divine marriage of, Lord Venkateswara and Goddess Padmavathi, is believed to have taken place. The Kalayana Venkateswara Swamy temple complex here also has a Padmavathi Devi temple.
The name literally means ‘Washing away sins’, which makes it a must to all who are keen on being invited to Heaven. The change rooms for both men and women plus the other facilities make it very conducive for a holy dip. Well maintained parks and the lush greenery around make it an apt place to relax and unwind.
Swami Pushkarni is the holy tank where pilgrims bathe before entering the main temple. Bathing in this tank is equivalent to bathing in the holy River Ganga. Originally belonging to Lord Vishnu, the site of Chakrasnanam in February/March, this tank was supposedly transferred to earth by Garuda.
A sacred perennial stream, the Akasa Ganga is a source of water used for the daily rituals in the temples of Tirumala. This spot is located at a distance of 3 km from the main temple.
The temple has the miraculous idol of Lord Ganesha that is growing in size, making the Silver Kawacham (armour) too small to fit the idol. This Varasiddhi Vinayaka temple was constructed during the reign of the Chola King Kullottunga, in the 11th century and later developed by the Vijayanagar kings in the 14th century.
Annual celebrations of Varasiddhi Vinayaka Swamy Brahmostavam take place here, on the eve of Vinayaka Chaturthi. The site is located on the bank of River Bahuda.
The ruins of the famous 11th century Kangundi Fort are situated in this site. It is located 16 km away from Kuppam on the Kuppam – Vijalapuram route.
The Parasurameswara Temple that dates back to the Pallava – Bana period, is located at Gudimallam. This temple complex made of stone also houses a unique Sivalinga.
Site for the grand Mogileeswara Temple, Mogili is located at a distance of 30 km from Chittoor on the Chennai – Banglore highway. During Sivaratri, important festivals and on the New Year’s eve, thousands of devotees visit this holy town to pray for prosperity.
The Subramanya Swamy Temple (gudi in Telgu) is located atop a hill, at the bottom of which flows a stream (vanka in Telgu), and this is why it gets the name Gudivanka. Located at a distance of 16 km from Kuppam this site is famous for the Adikritika (Kavadi) festival in August every year.
The Nagalapuram Temple is famous for the stone idols of Lord Dakshinamurthy, Bhuvarbha, Hayagriva Trivikrama and Vinachara. Built by the Vijayanagara Emperor, Sri Krishnadevaraya, in honour of his mother, this is a venue for the Sun festival held every year in the month of March.
Legend goes that this temple was built by a shepherd during the Vijayanagar period. Renowned for its architectural splendour, this temple is located at Sompalli between Mulakalacheruvu and Thambapalli civil road.
This temple, located on the banks of River Swarnamukhi is a famous pilgrimage destination. The Shiva Linga here is worshipped as Vayu Linga or Air, and is one among the sacred Pancha Bhutha Lingas, which are five Shiva temples representing the five elements of nature, namely, air, water, earth, space and fire. An oil lamp is seen to be constantly flickering in the sanctum, even while the others are motionless. Srikalahasti is 36 km from Tirupati. The Lord is believed to have been worshipped by a spider (Sri), a snake (Kala) and an elephant (Hasti). Hence the place is called, Srikalahasti.
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This is the site for a water body near Sila Thornam and is associated with an interesting legend. According to the legend, Lord Brahma wanted to observe repentance, and to cleanse this place special Lord Vishnu plunged his Sudershana Chakram, thus creating a crater. Visiting this site is considered as good as touching the Lotus Feet of the Lord, which will deliver the devotees from their travails. The waterfalls here are an amazing sight to behold, and is the location where the idol of Lord Venkateswara is brought during the Brahmotsvam celebrations.
Jiddu Krishnamurthy Madanapalle
Hometown of the famous Indian philosopher, Shri Jiddu KrishnaMurthy, is the location of institutions such as Mary Lot Lylus Hospital(M.L.L), T.B. Sanitarium, Beasent Theosophical College and Rishivalley International school.
Madanpalle is also the rail destination to visit Horsley Hills and is famous for high quality silk sarees. It is located about 122 km away from Tirupati.
Originally known as Eenugu Mallma Konda, it later became Horseley Hills named after an erstwhile Collector of Cuddaph, W.D.Horsley. This hill resort that is about 150 km from Tirupati, is located at a height of 1.265 meters above sea level. Environmental park, Lake Gangotri and the Horsley Hills museum are some of the well known tourist spots. The excellent cool weather makes it a favourite destination during the hot summers.
Regional Science Centre
The Regionl Science Centre at Tirupati is affiliated to Sri Venkateswara University and National Council of Science Museums. Located at Alipiri which is 3 km from Tirupati, this institution is dedicated to excellence in scientific studies. The centre also has a planetarium which draws huge crowds.
An architectural marvel, this museum houses a photo gallery, excellent exhibits of temple architecture and artifacts like idols and ancient weapons. For those who like peace and tranquility, this place also has a meditation centre.
When it comes to scenic beauty, the Kalyani Dam area, located 20 km from Tirupati, has no competition. Constructed across a breathtaking valley in the foothill zone of Seshachalam hill, this scenic spot is favourite amongst all age groups.
Excellent trekking facilities by A.P Tourism and the comfortable accommodation offered by the Forest department make this place a top priority adventure zone. Located only 20 km from Tirupati this place is also an attractive Eco-Tourism destination.
With many tanks, ponds & lush vegetation, the TTD Garden occupies an area of 460 acres and supplies fresh water to pilgrims and natives. Bursting with a variety of colourful and fragrant flowers, this garden is the main source for flowers, used in the temples of Tirupati. Annual horticultural shows along with the Pushpa Yagnam are held in the garden.
A ‘must see’ on the itinerary for nature lovers, the Sila Thoranam is a rare natural rock arch, this formation is believed to be several million years old. Situated near Chakra Tirtham on Tirumala, this formation is one of the only three found on earth. The other two are the Rainbow Arch at Utah in USA and the Arch of ‘Cut Through’ in UK. With a length of 25 feet this natural geological wonder looks incredible.
This is another sacred waterfall, with curative mineral value, located in the Nagari valley near Tirupati. APTDC has tourist cottages in the Haritha Hotel here.
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Located just 4 km from Tirupati, Talakona is the site of a 60 metre waterfall that cleanses mind and body. This is the venue for important festivals and also pilgrimage spot for childless couples who seek to be blessed with children. A Haritha Hotel of APTDC with cottages exists here.
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Located 2.5 km from Kaigal, on the Kuppum Palamner highway, this is also known as the Dumukurallu Waterfalls. The sound resembling the tumbling of stones, give this waterfalls it’s name.
Site of a refreshing waterfall, this is where Lord Shiva is believed to have appeared and blessed the Sage Kapila. This revered spot is about 2.5 km from Tirupati.
Sri Venkateswara Sanctuary
Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park which is spread over an area of 506 sq km is a wild life sanctuary and dedicated to research in Environmental Studies. A unique feature here is the vast natural and simulated enclosure concept, which helps the animals to move around freely.
Located at a distance of 29 km from Madanapalle, this place is famous for the Ragini Mahal, Maqbara Tombs and an ancient fort.
The Chandragiri Fort has been built at a height of 183 m, on a huge rock in 1000 A.D. The excellent architectural acumen of the Vijayanagar Empire is evident, amongst the palaces and temples which still exist here.
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