HISTORY OF TIRUMALA
Lord Venkateswara made Tirumala his abode five thousands years ago. Even before him it was Lord Varahaswami who has made Tirumala his abode. Many devotees have continued to construct grand entrances on the ramparts of the temple over generations. In Tirumala the east facing Sri Varahaswamy temple is located in the north west corner of the temple tank. As per tradition, we have to first visit this temple. Lord Srinivasa sought a gift of land measuring 100 square feet from Varahaswami, which he readily granted. In return, Srinivasa assured him with a agreement deed that he would be paid the first darshan, worship and offerings by the devotees. This tradition is in Vogue to this day at Tirumala and Lord Varahaswamy continues to receive the age old traditional worship. Lord Venkateswara feels happy, only when the devotees have their darshan of Varahaswami first. To this day all offerings are first made to Lord Varahaswami and then to Lord Venkateswara. One can see the one foot square copper plaque near the deity. It is said to be the written agreement deed presented by Lord Venkateswara to Sri Varahaswami. Words resembling the brahmi script are found on it.
Let us now move over to the temple’s main entrance.
The height of the main entrance has been periodically increased since 13th century. Its present height is fifty feet. This entrance has other names such as ‘Padivaakili’ and ‘Simhadwaram’.
In Tamil it is called ‘Periya Thiruvashal’. This temple complex is spread over 16.2 acres of land. On either side of this main entrance there are two feet high statues made of alloy metal (Pancha loha). They are Sankanidhi and Padmanidhi who are the guardians of ‘Navanidhi’, the treasure of Lord Venkateswara.
According to history these statues were consecrated by Achyutha Rayalu. History tells us that Achyutha Rayalu might have installed these statues. We can find the statue of Achyutha Rayalu at the feet of these deities who guard the wealth of the Lord.
While going in through this main entrance let us chant the name of ‘Govinda’ once. The ocean of milk and sweetened honey are not sweeter than the chanting of the name of ‘Govinda’ and is the method to get rid of all the ‘Karmas’ and attain liberation!
The first entrance is a brass one, while the second is a silver one. The third entrance is a golden one.
SHANKHANIDHI – PADMANIDHI
These are two angels guarding the wealth and treasure of Lord Venkateswara. As per tradition these guardian angels of wealth are installed at the third entrance of the temple. After saluting the first threshold, Sankha Nidhi and Padma Nidhi one would enter the holy Shrine by chanting ‘Govinda, Govinda, Govinda’.
SRI KRISNADEVARAYALU & HIS CONSORTS
Abutting the Mahadwara and to its right, there is a high-rise mandapam (Porch). This is called Krishnadevaraya Mandapam or Pratima Mandapam. This mandapam is constructed in Vijayanagara architectural style. To the right side of this porch, one can find tall copper statues of the emperor of Vijayanagara kingdom, Sri Krishnadevarayalu and his two consorts Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi.
These three statues placed in front of Lord Venkateswara express their devotion to him. It is said that Sri Krishna Devaraya himself installed these statues. On 2nd January 1517 A.D. and from then onwards this mandapam has become famous as Krishnadevaraya mandapam. Their names are inscribed on the shoulder badges of these statues.
Sri Krishnadevaraya has made seven pilgrimage trips to Tirumala between 1513 A.D. and 1521 A.D. He paid his first visit to the temple along with his two queens on 10th February 1513 A.D. and presented a crown made of navaratnas (nine varieties of gems), 25 plates made of silver to the Lord. The queens who came along with the king presented two golden bowls for ‘Pala aaragimpu’ (consumption of milk).
Later on the king came alone and presented three crowns studded with precious stones and gems for the processional deities. He gifted five villages to the temple, including Thallapaka, to meet the expenditure on the daily offerings to the Lord. On his fourth visit on July 6th 1514 to the temple, he showered 30,000 gold coins on the deity.
In 1515 he gifted a gems studded golden ‘makarathoranam’ (a festoon in the shape of a crocodile). He made a fifth visit to the temple on 2ne January 1517 to personally consecrate their own statues.
He got the Ananda Nilayam gold plated with 30,000 gold coins in September 1518. He visited Tirumala once again in 1518. He made his eighth visit on February 17, 1521 and donated a golden cap along with a yellow garment studded with precious stones.
By the left side of the main entrance or Mahadwaram there is a tall copper statue saluting with folded hands. This is the statue of Venkatapatirayalu, the king of Chandragiri, he was also a generous king who ruled Chandragiri during 1570 s and donated many gifts to the deity.
Let us now move forward by uttering ‘Jaya Jaya Ho Govinda’. Victory to the one who is the refuge of the three worlds! Victory to the one who is merciful to the devotees!
Twelve feet to the north of ‘Srikrishnadevarayala mandapam’, there is a glass porch. Every day at 2 p.m. a service called dolotsavam is performed to the Lord in this glass porch. Devotees are permitted to participate in this paid seva.
In reality, this seva is a north Indian contribution. There is no evidence to prove when this was built. There is enough evidence to prove that this seva programme began to be performed in 1831.
Let us now move to Ranganayaka Mandapam by chanting Govinda. Govinda, Govinda… the name that gives us eternal happiness!
Just opposite to the glass porch, there is another high rise mandapam called Ranganayaka Mandapam, due to the Muslim invasions between 1320 and 1369 A.D., the idols of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangapatnam were shifted to Tirumala for safe keeping. Daily prayers and poojas were offered to him in this Mandapam. After the cessation of the Muslim invasions, these statues were once again shifted back to SriRangam. Yet this place is called Ranganayakula Mandapam to this day.
This mandapam is said to have been build by the king of Tirupathi, named Ranganadha Yadava Rayalu. It is in this mandapam Kalyanothsvams were performed to the Lord. But, due to the increase in pilgrim rush, daily Kalyanothsvams are performed in Sampangi Pradakshinam.
When president of nation, national leaders, and VIPs visit Tirumala for lord’s darshan, they are offered prasadams and blessings of the temple priests in this Ranganayaka Mandapam.
Let us now move over to the adjacent Tirumalaraya Mandapam by chanting ‘Govinda’, the name which is so majestically sung by Annamaya!
Ten feet to the south of the flag staff, there is another stone pillared pavilion called Tirumalaraya Mandapam. This was built by Saluvanarasimharayalu, the emperor of Vijayanagara, to express his gratitude to the Lord for his help in his victories. Every year, for fiv days, in the month of June and July, the Lord and his two consorts are placed on a rocking cradle in this mandapam. This ritual which used to enthrall the devotees is now discontinued.
All couples begetting children with the blessings of the Lord, offer money in coins, silver, candy and camphor equivalent to the weight of their children as avowed by them. Even the patients who are cured of their diseases express their gratitude similarly. This Tuladandam is arranged in front of the Ranganayaka Mandapam.
At about hundred feet from the flagstaff, there are three copper statues of devotees, facing the Lord and saluting him with folded hands. One is that of Lalakhemaramu, the other is that of his mother Mata Mohana Devi and the third one is that of his wife Pita Bibi. Lala Khemarumu is a kshatriya known as Raja Todaramallu. He courageously protected Tirumala both from the invasions of Muslims and the British during the seventeenth century. The Lord blessed this family and gave place to them in his temple. Let us salute this blessed family and move further by chanting ‘Govinda’-the name of the Lord resting on Adisesha, the name of the Lord who has the entire universe as his residence.
We are now in the vacant space between the glass porch, idol porch (Pratima Mandapam) and Ranganayaka Mandapam. Now lets look at the golden flagstaff. This golden flagstaff is located in the middle of a twenty-pillared square pavilion. To the east of the flag staff there is an altar and to the northeast, there is a granite stone called ‘Kshetrapalakasila’. This pavilion is said to have been constructed in the fifteenth century.
During Brahmotsavams, a flag with Garuda’s imprint is hoisted on this flagstaff for extending an invitation to gods and goddesses (Yaksha, Kinnera and Gandharva), to attend this festival. Those wishing to take pooja material or other things into the sanctum, they have to circumambulate the dwajasthamba. Even the Lord is made to circumambulate the dwajasthamba whenever he is taken outside or inside the main temple. As this flagstaff is made up of wood, it has been changed from time to time. In the year 1982 a new flagstaff has been consecrated. Let us now learn something about the near by altar.
BALI PEETAM (ALTAR)
Abutting the flagstaff is the Bali Peetam or altar. After offering food (Prasadam) to the Lord and other deities and after exiting through the silver gate, the Prasadam is kept on this altar. It is believed that this food offering is accepted by deities, the angles and the elemental forces. After saluting the dwajasthamba and Balipeetam let us move to ‘Kshetrapalaka’ sila by chanting Govinda… Govinda…, the name of the Lord who is the repository of Dharma!
KSHETRA PALAKA SILA (BIG ROUND STONE)
To the north east corner of the altar, under the flag staff porch, there is one and half feet high stone slab.
This is called ‘Kshetrapalaka Sila’. It is said that this stone slab marched around the temple for providing security to the shrine at night.
Priests used to keep the keys of the temple on this stone slab every night after closing the temple and take them to open the temple in the morning after saluting it.
A story in circulation tells us that a child falling under this stone slab while it was patrolling around the temple. To avoid recurrence of such mistakes, this stone slab was shifted to ‘Gogarbha Teertham’ which is in the vicinity of the temple and a tiny part of it was kept inside the temple for people to have a look at it.
At present the ‘Kshetrapalaka Sila’ in all its rediance and full form is in existence at Gogarbha teertham, while a part of it is found in the temple.
Even to this day, the priests touch this stone slab with key bunch after closing one before opening the temple.
If you wish to have a look at the full form of ‘Kshetrapalaka Sila’, you have to pay a visit to Gogarbha Teertham after having Lord’s darshan.
Do not forget even in your dreams to chant the name of the Lord Govinda, who is the protecter of this whole universe.
On entering the precincts of the temple one first encounters the circumambulating passage called ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’. The grand circumambulating passage out side the temple is never taken into consideration. Therefore ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ is considered to be the first one. Earlier Sampangi flower plants (gold flowers, Michelia Champaka) were grown in this path way for decorating the Lord.
FOUR PILLAR MANDAPAM
Four pavilions in the four corners of ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ were built by Saluva Narasimha Raya in 1470 A.D in his name, his wife and his two sons. In the yester years when the influse of pilgrims was minimal, the Lord was paraded in all his pomp and gaiety in this passage only, often stopping at the flour corners of the path for blessing the devotees after receiving their offerings.
SRI VENKATA RAMANA SWAMI’S KALYANA MANDAPAM
Earlier all wedding festivities of the Lord were celebrated at the pavilion in the ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’. With the increase in the number of the devotees, these festivities were held for sometime in Ranganayaka Mandapam. At present a large zinc sheet porch is erected for this purpose as the space in Ranganayaka Mandapam is found in adequate. Let us salute the newly wedded Lord and his consorts. We all will worship them at Tirumala. It is the Vaikuntam in Kaliyuga.
UGRANAM (STONE HOUSE)
‘Ugranam’ means godown. All the pavilions on western side are now being used as store houses. The material used for the lord’s ‘Puja’ and other rituals is now stored in the North west corner of the ‘sampangi Pradakshina’.
VIRAJA RIVER (Prohibited Area)
As per the legend, Viraja, a sacred river of Vaikuntam flows below the lotus feet of the Lord. The well of water in the temple complex is believed to be a part of that holy river. This well is located in front of the Ugranam or store house. Idols are sculpted on the stones used for the inner walls of this well. Hence this well is called ‘toy well’ or ‘bommala bavi’. As of now a four feet high brick parapet wall is erected over this well. Let us now move to the Lord’s kitchen by chanting the name of the Lord, the name which grants Mukti and who gives all that is desired by his devotees.
The Lord’s kitchen is located in the route of Sampangi Pradakshinam. This kitchen is referred to as ‘Padi potu’. Sweet meats and savories like laddoo, vada, appam, dosa, poli, sukhiya, jilebi, etc which are offered to the Lord are prepared here in large quantity. To the east of this kitchen is the ‘flower chamber’.
The flower chamber was earlier located in the ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’. All the flowers used for the service of the Lord and other deities are supplied from this flower chambers, which is called ‘Yamunottarai. The Lord being a lover of flowers, wishes to be decorated with them. All the flowers raised on the seven hills are only meant for the Lord of the seven hills. Others are forbidden from using flowers while on the hills. This is the tradition of the place and shrine. This ‘flower chamber’ now stands shifted to ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’. Every morning and evening the Jiyyangas collects the flower garlands prepared in the flower chamber and carries them over his head to the Lord after circumambulating round the flag staff with trumpets blowing and umbrellas shading and presents them to the Lord’s Sanctum for performing the various rituals and poojas.
FLOWER WELL (WELL OF FLOWERS)
Just opposite and to the north of the flowers chamber is the ‘flower well’. All the flowers used for the worship of the Lord are naves given to anyone as ‘Prasadam’. They are deposited in this well. Of late, flowers are being used in huge quantities for the decoration of the Lord and his consorts. As the ‘flower well is unable to hold this huge quantity of used flowers, they are being strewn over the uninhabited areas of the seven hills.
The long porch on the eastern side and adjacent to the ‘flower chamber’ is Vagapadi chamber. Offerings to the deity are prepared here thrice a day. Now let us step into Vimana Pradakshinam and know its contents. Let us move to the silver entrance. Keep the name of the Lord Govinda permanently on the tongue and the name will get rid of our terrible sins!
The threshold opposite to the flagstaff is called the ‘silver entrance’. This is also known as ‘Nadimipadi Kavali’. This is the second entrance leading to the Sanctum Sanctorum. Researchers say that the construction of the ramparts of this second entrance was started in the 12th century and completed in the 13th century. The doors of this entrance were silver plated on October 1st 1929 A.D by Sriram Dwarakadas Pharabhani, belonging to Nizam estate. Inscriptions in Hindi and English are found on this entrance.
Let us now enter the ‘Vimana Pradakshinam by chanting Govinda… Govinda… Hari Om Sri Venkatesaya Namah. Govinda, whose heart is a fountain of ever flowing compassion!
Beyond the silver door, the path which circumambulates the main gopura of Ananda Nilaya is known as ‘Vimana Pradakshina. Early, at the pre dawn hour, while Suprabhata seva is performed to the Lord, devotees make Anga Pradakshina (rolling one’s body in humility all round the temple as a religious vow). Hence it is also called Angapradakshina marg. In this path way one can witness Sri Ranganadha just opposite to the silver entrance, Sri Varadaraja Swami temple, main kitchen, golden well, Ankurarpana Mandapam, Yagasala, Nanala (coins) Parakamani, notla (Paper notes) Parkamani, almirah of Sandal SREERANGANATHUDU VENDI VAKILI paste (Chandanapu ara) darshan of Vimana Venkateswara, cell of records, Sannidhi bashyakarulu, the seat of Sri Ramanuja, the temple of Yoganarasimhaswami, Lords’s hundi and the seat of Vishvaksena. All the small temples in this path way are called ‘Chutttu gullu’. Every small temple has a name inscribed on it. Let us proceed to learn about these temples by chanting Govinda…. Govinda and praising his glory!
As soon as one enters the temple through the silver door, we can witness Sri Ranganadha kneeling on Adisesha (serpent). There are small gold plated idols of Sri Varadaraja Swami and Sri Venkateswara Swami on the upper and lower sides of Sri Ranganadha. United Breweries group chair man Vijaya Malya on August 1, 1991, at a cost of 55 lakh of rupees, got gold plated the entire place around Sri Ranganadha statue. The angapradakshina commences from here, moves round the Vimana Pradakshinam and comes to an end here. It is said that the Lord loves the devotees doing ‘Porlu dandalu’ and grants them their wishes. Shall we also commence our ‘Porlu dandalu’ to appease the Lord.
SRI VARADARAJA SWAMI TEMPLE
In the Vimana Pradakshina pathway and at a distance of nine feet to the south of the silver door, is the Varadarajaswami temple. The idol is 5 feet high with a single pagoda over the shrine. Devotes have to go round this temple on their way to the Lord’s Darshan. When this idol was installed is not known. Victory to Varadaraja who is ever merciful and grants boon to the devotees! Let us now move to have darshan of the Lord in the Ananda Nilayam and later learn about the small shrines in the Vimana Pradakshina path way in the precincts of the temple complex.
Let us enter the front porch of the Lord Venkateswara, named ‘Ghanta Mandapam’. Lord Brahma, the angels and Maharshis like Sanakasanandana wait for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara at the golden gate. Opposite to the golden gate, there is Garuda Mandapam. The pavilion that links the golden gate and the Garuda Mandapam is called ‘Ghanta Mandapam’ or ‘Mahamani Mandapam’. It was constructed in 1461 A.D. by Mallanna, a native of Chandragiri and minister in the Vijaya nagas empire. ‘Garudalwar Mandir’ is also located just opposite to the golden gate in this mandap. In this mandap there is a 6 feet high statue of Garuda (vehicle of Vishnu) saluting the god with folded hands. Every day at the Predawn hour, Suprabhath is recited in the place between the golden gate and the statue of Garuda. The Lord sitting on the golden throne in this mandapam, listens to the recital of almanac and the submissions of receipt and expenditure account of the previous day. This place is also called ‘Srinivas Darbar’.
To the south of the golden gate in this mandap, two big bells are suspended from a wooden log using iron chains. The Brahmin who rings this bell is called ‘Ghantapani’. The ringing of this bell denotes that it is time for the Lord to have his meal. At Tirumala many devotees have their food only after the bell stops ringing, whenever the emperor of Vijaya Nagara Empire camps at Chandragiri, the bell sounds are relayed to Chandragiri through intermediary bell porches for enabling the emperor to have his food there after. Because of these bells, this porch has become famous as ‘GhantaMandapam’.
Just opposite to the golden gate and facing the Lord there is a six feet high statue of Garuda saluting the Lord with folded hands. Let us salute this devout servant of the Lord and the King of Birds and then seek the permission of Lord’s guards to enter the golden gate.
After taking permission from Jaya and Vijaya, the guards of the Lord, let us move in. On either side of the golden gate, there are Jaya and Vijaya holding a conch, a disc and a mace respectively. There is a ten feet high wooden grill around these statues. These two devout servants guard the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord twenty four hours of the day. After hailing and saluting these two, let us enter the golden gate. ‘Jaya Vijayeebhava’, ‘Digvijayeebhava’!
BANGARU VAKILI (GOLDEN DOOR)
The most important entrance for going into the sanctum sanctorum is this golden gate. From this entrance we can see the Lord directly. Since ages, Lord’s very special ‘Suprabhata Seva’ has been performed at the pre dawn hour i.e. 3 A.M. every day. Here this stone frame of the entrance and the porches of Jaya Vijaya on either side of the entrance are gold plated and hence this name. At night these doors are closed methodically in a preconceived fashion. There are three bolts for these doors. The upper and the lower door bolts are locked by the authorities, while the middle one is locked by the priests. Through the small hole in the door, the priests lock the inner bolt by using a sickle like instrument called Kunchakola from outside. In the same way, they open this bolt from outside, in the morning. Annamayya a saint poet, on his first visit to the temple had seen the Lord from this door step and said ‘Kankaratna Kavatalirugada Ganti’, which means, “I have witnessed the brilliant radiance of the Lord from this golden gate”!
Just think for a moment about the innumerable gods, goddesses, angels and yogis, who entered through these doors; about the several rishis who waited here for the Lord’s darshan; the Alvars, haridasas, devotees like Annamacharya and Tarigonda Vengamamba, kings, emperors and all who waited here for having Lord’s Darshan. It is our good fortune that we are also able to move through these entrances just like those great people.
As you enter the Sanctum through this golden gate, you can have the darshan of the benignly disposed, Lotus eyed Lord of the universe! The dispeller of the dense darkness of evil! The Ocean of boundless grace! The Lord of liberation at whose glorious feet Sanaka,Sananda and other sages render reverent obeisances! The spirit that rules the universe! The Saviour, the kindred spirit! The deity presiding over our body! Who grants prosperity and spiritual knowledge! The radiant Lord in ornaments adorning necklaces, ear rings and a magnificent diamond, ruby and emerald studded crown and his ornate hands blessing people and his pleasant smile dispelling fears, troubles and worries of people! The Lord perennially present in our thoughts and spirit is there to be seen through this golden gate!
While chanting ‘Govinda’ let us salute his threshold and enter the sanctum. Chant ‘Govinda…Govinda’, this great redeemer of our troubles!
The pavilion that you notice after crossing the golden door is known as ‘Snapana Mandapam’. Every day after Thomala Seva, the idol of Koluvu Srinivasa murthy is brought here and placed on the golden throne and his court is held. During this court, almanc is recited; the affairs of the day, the details of income and expenditure of the previous day are reverentially presented to the Lord. The golden throne that is used during this court is stored in the adjacent grilled chamber.
There are two rooms on either side of the golden door. In the right side room, the Hundi collections are kept. In the left side room, the Lord’s jewels i.e. the crown, the conch, the chakra, necklaces made of diamonds, gems, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topazes etc are kept. The service of adorning the Lord with these ornaments is called ‘Samarpana’. The Samarpana is classified into three types: Sada Samarpana, Visesha Samarpana and Antique Jewellery.
Sada Samarpana:- These are the ornaments which are worn by the Lord every day. They are kept in the charge of the chief priest. Their value is said to be around ten million rupees.
Vishesha Samarpana:- These are the special ornaments which adorn the Lord during festivals and during the visit of VIPs like the president of India and the Prime minister to the shrine. The Lord’s diamond and gem studded crown, Sankhu (conch) and Chakra (disc) are kept in the charge of a special officer known as ‘Parupathyadaru’. These are valued at 20 million plus rupees.
Antique Jewellery:- They adorn the Lord during Brahmotsavams. They comprise antique jewellery gifted by the king and queen of Gadwal. More than their monetary value, they are of immense historical importance. These ornaments are kept in the safe custody of T.T.D. treasury.
The ornaments that are daily used for the Lord are kept in the left room in the Snapana Mandapam. To avoid trespassing, iron doors made of thick rods are erected for this room. Have a good look at them. As you proceed further beyond this ‘Darbar’, you come across Rama’s mansion. Let us chant Rama’s name and enter Lord Rama’s Mansion.
“Sri Rama Rama Ramethi, Rame Rame Manorame! Sahasra Nama Tathulyam, Rama nama Varanane”!
“Rama’s very form is so lovely to the eyes and mind! The very Utterance of his name is a source of Supreme Ananda. Pronouncing Rama’s name once is like reciting his name thousand times”!
LORD RAMA’S MANSION
Immediately crossing Snapana Mandapam, there is a very narrow passage, which is known as Lord Rama’s mansion. There are two raised plat forms on either side of this passage, earlier, idols were kept on these plat forms. At present these idols are placed inside the room. Yet the name remained the same. All these small idols from the plat form are shifted to the Ankurarpana pavilion near the golden well. Whenever there is a heavy rush of pilgrims, the Lord’s darshan is arranged from the threshold of this mansion. After crossing the stone threshold of the Rama’s mansion, there is the bedroom of the Lord. The doors of this bedroom are always kept open. Now, let us move into Lord’s bedroom chanting ‘Govinda…Govinda….’.
In this room, there is a golden cot with silk mattress hung by silver chains on which the Lord’s idol is seen relaxing. That is why this place is called ‘Sayana Mandapam’. In this room the offerings are kept in front of the Lord. These offerings are never taken beyond this threshold of the Sanctum. Let us also not cross this threshold. While standing here, let us devour the beautiful image of the Lord and preserve it in our mind. Even after going home, we should be able to see the Lord’s image in our mind’s eye. We should firmly determine to confine his magnificent image in our mind. Then only he will appear before our eyes whenever we wish to see him. Then there would be none to shove us off. No one can pull us away from him. As we enter the golden threshold we can have a look at him without even blinking our eyes. Never think that you are leaving him behind while you are returning from his presence. Turn around with the thought that the Lord is accompanying you and that he is in your mind’s eye. Don’t keep on turning your head again and again for having another glimpse of the Lord, as you are likely to obstruct other devotees and force the security persons to shove you away.
The Saviour of the world!
Oh’ Lord of the Universe!
Here is an anecdote of a devotee who carried away the Lord’s image in her mind’s eye. After having the darshan of the Lord, she was walking back with out causing the slightest discomfort to other devotees. Yet the security personnel grabbed her hand and pushed her away. She shouted at him angrily, “why have you pulled me when I am walking away?” and quickly walked away. Even after coming out of the Sanctum, her anger did not subside.
Later on, when she thought about this incident, she realized that the unsavory incident happened because she came to the Lord in her physical form. Had she been able to fix his image in mind and meditate, no one would have pulled her away from him. From then onwards, she began to see the Lord sitting at the threshold, without entering the sanctum just by closing her eyes and concentration on the Lord. She was amazed to discover that it was so easy for her to have the lord’s darshan in this manner. Initially she thought that it was only on illusion and was skeptical about it.
On waking up the next day morning she had the Lord’s darshan and to her dismay he was wearing an ordinary white robe instead of his usual attire and jewellery. All the day she wondered why the Lord wore such simple attire. The riddle was solved when she realized that it was a Thursday. Every Thursday the Lord adorns a white silk robe. She was overjoyed. It meant that she had been seeing the Lord every day and that it was not an illusion. It became possible because she could arrest the Lord’s image in all its grandeur in mind. That’s why she was able to see that image every day. By appearing before her in different images, he has instilled in her the belief that she had been going to the temple every day and was having the Lord’s Darshan. Is it so easy to have the Lord’s darshan?
She was thankful to the security personnel who was responsible for all this. God has shown her the way. This is proof enough for any one to be with the Lord if we strongly desire to be with the Lord, that wish is granted. If you have strong belief in god and faithfully wish for something, it is fulfilled. There is another example for proving that our desires are fulfilled when we have nothing but faith in him.
One day a guest came to a devotee’s house. He had a ‘Tirumala Laddoo’ in his hand. Some body gave it to him while going home he had stopped by to greet her. All her attention was on that laddoo though she was talking to him. She was hoping that he would offer at least a part of it to her, but he never bothered about it. He had left her without ever giving part of it. She was very disappointed for not getting the Lord’s prasadam. She was totally disturbed till the evening and when her children returned home from school, she got herself busy with them. That night her husband, on his return from office brought a big kalyanam Laddoo which was given to him by a friend. She became speechless with happiness and pleasantly surprised on receiving the laddoo. Most probably the Lord, noticing her disappointment, has sent the laddoo.
If your desire for things is really strong it is likely to be fulfilled. We should have faith in ourselves. Let there be no lingering doubt in you. Such experiences are innumerable. If you feel like sharing your association with the Lord, with others, then why delay? Share with me.
The threshold in front of the Lord is called Kulasekhara Padi. Kulasekhara was a Vaishnava devotee. He has made a humble request to the Lord, “ O Lord Venkateswara! Transform me into the stone threshold in front of you for enabling me to have a glimpse of your beautiful face every day”. That is why this threshold is named after him. How fortunate he is! Let us also seek from him a favour of transforming us into a tiny particle in that threshold so as to enable us to have his darshan all the time of our existence.
You are the father and
You are the mother,
You are the granter and
You are the Supreme Lord!
No one is permitted to enter the Sanctum. Therefore let us learn by reading about it. The spot where Lord Venkateswara’s self inducted Statue is located in the Sanctum Sanctorum. It is called Ananda Nilayam. Earlier there used to be a Pradakshina (circumambulating) passage around this Ananda Nilayam. A wall was built around this sanctum and the Vimanam over the wall was built between 1244 – 1250 A.D. over a period of time, with the construction of Ananda Nilayam, Sayana Mandapam and Lord Rama’s Mansion, this passage around the Sanctum was close.
LORD VENKATESWARA (PRESIDING DEITY)
Look! That’s the Sanctum of the Lord of the universe. Have a good look at the glorious, celestial and heavenly form of the Lord. With unbated eyelids, how beautiful the idol is! How soothing it is! In the middle of the Sanctum, Lord Venkateswara’s ‘Swayambhu’ idol fully clad in jewellery made of precious diamonds, gems, emeralds, rubies etc. is seated on the pedestal called ‘Brahmasthana’. In other words, Sri Mahavishnu along with Mahalakshmi on his chest has descended from ‘Vaikunta’ on the Tirumala Hills as the first ‘Swayambhu’ idol. All other idols were installed later at different times. The beauty of this ancient idol is beyond the reach of any sculptor. As per Agama Sastra, 36 kinds of precautions are taken for carving a perfect idol. The idol of the Lord is different from the sculptural theory as it is self made ‘ Swayambhu’. On a closer examination of the Lord’s idol, one finds that the ‘Swayambhu’idol is 8 fee high with his chest measuring between 36” and 42” and his waist between 24” and 27”. His head is covered with long locks which extent up to his shoulders. This idol has a sharp nose, half closed eyes with clear eyelashes, long artistic fingers, well built muscles etc, which is beyond the scope of any theory on sculpture or Agama Sastra. This beautiful idol has four ever brilliant hands in different postures. In the right upper hand there is ‘Sudarsana Chakra’ (disc) and in the left upper hand there is a conch, while the lower right hand is known as ‘Varada Hastha’ and the lower left hand is known as ‘Kati Hastham’. The lower part of the waist appears to be tilted to the left while the knees appear to bent a little. This glorious posture of the Lord is very unique, attractive and decent. The bluish tinged body of the Lord has his consort Mahalakshmi seated on his chest and hence the sparkle in his heart. This beautiful idol is so attractive that it can not be described in words. So have a Darshan of him and be blessed.
Mahalakshmi, his consort, who is apparently protruding over his chest is the one who conveys all our wishes and desires to the Lord.
‘Sri Venkatesa Charanam Saranam Prapathe’. ‘O Lord Sri Venkateswara, We have sought your Lotus Feet as the only support, only your Divine feet can give us Solace!’.
The anklets on his feet are ever brilliantly shining. There are dark patches on his shoulders because of bow and arrows being carried by him. Adorning all the ornaments gifted to him by the devotees, he looks beautiful beyond compare and attracts all like a magnet. Our eyes are dazzled by the brilliance of the variety of ornaments worn by the Lord.
Is the Lord looking so beautiful because of his sparkling ornaments?! Or are the ornaments endowed with beauty because they are worn by the Lord?! Several happenings in the Sanctum astonish not only the devotees but also the temple priests.
While the Lord is being decorated with flowers and ornaments, the priests have felt the soft and supple body of the Lord though it is a granite idol. It is also said that the Lord perspires after ‘Abhishekam’ and sweat is seen on the idol. For the priests serving the Lord in the Sanctum, the idol appears to be a living figure and not one made of granite.
The main idol of the lord is very ancient one and it is proved not only by Rishis and Yogis but also by scientists and archaeologists. The Silathoranam in Tirumala is said to be 2500 million years old.
There are five images of Lord Venkateswara. The main idol in the Sanctum should not be moved out at any point of time. Hence five different idols are used for processions. They are:
• Sri Venkateswara Swami
• Bhoga Srinivasa Moorthy
• Koluvu Srinivasa Moorthy
• Ugra Srinivasa Moorthy
A part from these one should also know about:
• Sudarsana Chakratthalvar
• Sri Sitha, Rama, Lakshmana
• Rukmini, Krishna
BHOGA SRINIVASA MURTHY
In Ananda Nilaya the ever beautiful idol is that of Bhoga Srinivasudu. This silver idol was presented to the temple by a Pallava queen ‘Saama Vaayi’ in 614 A.D. She rejoiced in decorating the idol with many ornaments. During the ‘Ekanta Seva’ at the day’s end, it is the privilege of Bhoga Srinivasa to go to bed on silk mattress. During ‘Suprabhata Seva’ in the morning, this idol is removed from the silk mattress and kept at the foot of the main deity.
KOLUVU SRINIVASA MURTHY
Every morning Koluvu Sreenivasa Murthy is seated on the golden throne in Snapana Mandapam and almanac (Panchangam) is read out to him. All the details of the day like tithi, nakshatra, yoga and the information about different sevas are given to him. Then the treasury clerk humbly presents to him, the income and expenditure account of the previous day. This is done is Snapana Mandapam before the sunrise failing which it is done in Ghanta Mandapam after sunrise.
UGRA SREENIVASA MURTHY
In the by gone days, the processional deities of Ugra Sreenivasa Murhty were taken out for procession during festivals. When these idols were being taken in a procession on a particular day, strange, unusual and alarming incidents took place. After these incidents, these idols since 1330 A.D have not been used in procession. Even now if at all they are taken out, they are returned to the temple by 3 A.M and offered ‘naivedyam’ to the Lord in the Ranganayaka Mandapam and then taken to Ananda Nilaya.
There is an anecdote in circulation behind Malayappa Swami being made a processional deity in place of Ugra Sreenivasa Murthy. We have learnt that during the 13 th century when Ugra Srinivasa Murthy was being taken in a procession, Strange and disturbing incidents took place. Then all the devotees prayed to the Lord and sought his protection. Then the Lord voiced his words through a devotee and advised them not to use these idols for processions in future and told them to use other idols which are available at a place called ‘Malayappa-Kona, the priests searched that the place and brought the idol of the Lord. As the idol was found in Malayappa Kona, he was called Malayappa Swami. While the idol of Lord Venkateswara is a granite Swayambhu, Malayappa Swami’s idol is made of metal alloy. After the main deity, Malayappa Swami’s idol has a special place of pride. It is great feast to the eyes to see Malayappa Swami along with his consorts. Sreedevi and Bhudevi during the fete of processions, festivals and all Sevas. In a year more than 450 processions and festivals are
performed. Among them, some are meant for the main deity and while the others meant for Malayappa Swami. During Kalyanotsavams, Malayappa swamy is made the bridegroom. On Ugadi (Telugu new year) the first rituals are performed on Malayappa Swami and during the ten day ‘Brahmothsavams’ the festivities reach the pinnacle of glory. These incomparable festivities are world renown and have no substitutes.
SRI SUDARSHANA CHAKRA TALWAR
In Tirumala we witness Sri Sudarshana Bhagwan’s presence in the right hand of the Lord in the varied forms of light and processional deity. The important role played by Sudarshana Bhagavan, in punishing the evil ones and protecting the devotees by the Lord, is commendable. He takes the responsibility of protecting the devotees coming to Tirumala as well as their safe passage. During the ten day ‘Brahmatsavams’, Malayappa Swamy is taken in a procession every day in the morning and evening in the streets of Tirumala. Just before Malayappa Swami embarks on his procession, Chakra talwar moving out in his palanquin carries out the security check up of the processional passage. He then goes inside and reports to the Lord. After receiving this report, Lord Malayappa Swamy begins his procession.
It is said that while Sree Rama was in exile Threthayuga, he and Lakshmana came to Tirumala in search of Seeta. As a mark of their visit, their Statues are kept in the temple. As they were in exile, their statues reflect their simplicity and are devoid of any ornaments. History accounts for these Statues being gifted by a bramhin.
Mythology endorses that Lord Venkateswara is none other than Lord Sri Krishna of Dwaparayuga in the pre dawn Suprabhataseva of Lord Venkateswara, a mention of Srikrishna’s name is made in the phrase ‘Uthishtothishta Govinda’. In the month of (Dhanurmasa) January while Ekantaseva is performed Lord Krishna is made to sleep on the silk mattresses in place of Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy. During this month, Suprabhatham is not recited. Songs(Thiruppavai) related to Sri Krishna alone are sung for waking up the Lord.
Salagramas are stones in the form of a spherical, usually black-colored found in the sacred river Gandaki.. What makes them so sacred is that they have lines ingrained on them, which resemble the shape of Sankhu and Chakra. These are worshipped by Vaishnavites as a form of Vishnu.
In Anandanilaya apart from the Lord, four big special Salagramas and several small Salaagramas receive abhishekam and archana every day. All these Salagramas are placed in a silver vessel worshipped at the foot of the deity and having come out of ‘Ananda Nilayam’ abundantly blessed, let us go to Lord’s main kitchen.
PRADHANA VANTASHALA –POTU (MAIN KITCHEN)
This kitchen is a very ancient one. All prasadams offered to the Lord are prepared here. Due to the ever-increasing rush, preparation of some items is in padi pootu in Sampangi Pradakshina. The Lord has a good appetite not only for delicious food but also for fragrant flowers and ornaments. Lord Venkateswara who loves delicious food, happily shares the same with his devotees in the form of Prasadam. Tenali Ramakrishna, the court poet of Sri Krishna Deva Raya has bestowed the title ‘Thindimendayya’ (voracious eater) on the Lord after he was unable to assess the Lord’s food intake. Nowhere in the world ‘Prasadams’ of this magnitude are prepared with pure ghee. It is believed that the left over ghee after preparing items on a day is sufficient enough (for preparing prasadams) in smaller temples through out the year.
It is believed that Vakuladevi the mother of Lord Srinivasa, supervises the preparation of food relished by Lord Srinivasa. To this day she continues to supervise the preparation of all the prasadams for the Lord. So a peep hole is made in the wall for her to over see the preparations in the kitchen.
The well beside the main kitchen is known as ‘Bangaru bavi’. The water from this well is used for Abhishekam, archana and cooking food for the Lord. In the earlier era water from this well was channeled directly to the tub in the kitchen through a fifteen feet high canal. This technique used here is similar to that used in pumping water at Hampi town during the reign of Vijayanagara kings. Even twenty years ago water was being pumped into the kitchen through this canal. But now a days due to heavy rush of pilgrims and due to increase in quantum of preparation of Prasadams, water is being pumped by a motor.
To the south of ‘Bangaru Bavi’ and opposite to the main kitchen is located ‘Ankurpana Mandapam’. Before the commencement of the ten day Brahmotsavams every year, ankurarpanam (Initiation ceremony) is performed. Ankurapanam means the sprouting of nine varieties of grains usually called ‘Navadhanyam’. Before every festivity and every celebration this procedure is adopted. Hence, this mandapam is called ‘Ankurarpana Mandapam’, another speciality followed from the early days is that the idols of Anantha, Garuda, Vishwaksena (Lord’s army chief) and the idols of Rama’s attendant deities Sugreeva, Angada and Anjaneya are kept in this Mandapam for being seen by the pilgrims. In the Vicinity of these deities in ‘Ankurarpana Mandapam’ priests give theertham (holy water) to the devotees. Let us also accept in humility the holy water from the priests. This holy water is the medicine which gets rid of the karmas. It cures the diseases like anger, desires of flesh, greed hatred etc. and gives us eternal peace. It is time to move to ‘Yagasala’ by chanting the name of this Lord. Govinda………which dispels fear!
The room adjacent to Ankurarpana mandapam is the Yagasala, where all yagas and homams (sacrificial fire) are performed since ages. But at present they are performd in the Kalyana mandapam located in Sampangi Pradakshina. But only during Brahmotsavams these rituals are performed in the yagasala. The Lords Yagasala destroys all our sins and we will not get entangled in the bonds of sins any more. Let us prostrate before this ‘Yagasala’ and pay our reverence to it.
NANALA PARAKAMANI (Coin counting room)
This was gradually constructed over a period of time by the representative of Vijaya nagara Empire named Chennappa in 1586 A.D. Actually this was the place where Kalyanotsavams were performed 50 years ago. Due to pilgrim rush, this was shifted to ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’.
NOTLA PARKAMANI (Counting Room for paper currency)
The present location where the counting process was carried out was earlier used for several purposes. Due to the increasing rush of pilgrims the location and timings of counting have been changed. At present this mandap is used for counting paper money. Transparent glasses are arranged around this place for the pilgrims to witness the process of counting. There are several heaps of gold, silver, paper money, foreign currency, antique jewellery, silver coins and old legal tender like Kani, ana, ardhana etc. are noticed in this place. These are the offerings of the devotees to the Lord. The counting process is carried out meticulously by the employees of TTD under the supervision of TTD officials. There is the vigilance wing which also overseas the process of counting. Further the entire process of counting is video graphed. In addition two pilgrims are permitted as witnesses to this counting process right from the beginning till the end. The devotees who came to the vimana pradakshina after having the darshan of the Lord at that point of time are selected as witnesses for the ‘Parakamani’. They are the fortunate and the blessed ones to witness this procedure.
After the counting is over, these pilgrims have to append their signature as to confirm that the entire process of counting was done perfectly. Then, they are permitted to have another darshan of the Lord and prasadams. With full security, the process of counting is done and the receipt accounts are presented by dawn to the treasurer of the Lord.
Nothing is greater than the divine wealth. Let us all sacrifice what ever we can for the good cause. Only the name ‘Govinda’ is everlasting and gives us immense bliss!
The sandal paste required for daily usage of the Lord is prepared here. Large stones are arranged here for making sandal paste from sandal wood. The sandal paste required for various festivals through out the year is prepared here.
Chandana Charchita Govinda
The Lord of the untainted form,
The Lord who is beautiful and anointed by sandal paste,
The Lord who has a body tint equal to that of a cloud!
ANANDA NILAYA VIMANAM
The golden abode of the Lord of the universe is Ananda Nilaya. It is the sacred place where the Lord Venkateswara receives his ‘Poojas’ and ‘archanas’. The golden gopuram on this AnandaNilaya is the ‘Ananda Nilaya Vimana’ which is also known as Bangaru Gopura Vimanam. As per mythology, Garuthmantha (Vehicle of Sri Vishnu) brought this Ananda Nilaya Vimanam from Vaikuntam (the celestial abode of Vishnu) and consecrated it in this sacred place as desired by Lord Sri Vishnu.
A true devotee alone is able to see the actual Vimanam brought from Vaikuntam. To the ordinary people, he appears as a statue and the Vimana is visible to them as golden gopura. If one has a firm belief in him this ‘Vimana’ becomes visible to him/her (Nothing is impossible). Even ‘Vamana Purana’ has recorded this. Helicopters and aeroplanes are not allowed to fly over Venkatachalam where Ananda Nilaya is located. On Narayanagiri, signal towers are arranged for helping the pilots to keep away from this location. No one is permitted to land his aeroplane or helicopter on the Tirumala Hills. Not even the Prime Minister, Chief Minister or President can do it. Every one has to reach Tirumala by foot or by road from Tirupati.
Many great people, sages, emperors and devotees have had a darshan of this Vimanam and served the Lord. Some of these devotees developed this ‘gopuram’ and got it gold plated.
VIMANA VENKATESWARA SWAMI
Lord Venkateswara ingrained on Ananda Nilaya Vimanam is said to be as powerful and sacred as the main deity in the sanctum. Even if one fails to have the darshan of the Lord, he could have a glimpse of Vimana Venkateswara and derive the same benefits usually associated with the darshan of the Lord in the Sanctum. Nowadays due to increase in pilgrim rush, the devotees have the darshan of ‘Vimana Venkateswara’ only after having the darshan of the Lord in the Sanctum.
Close to the place from where Vimana Venkateswara is seen, is the record room with a sign board fixed atop. In this room all records and files pertaining to the ornaments of the main and processional deity are kept. All details of the weight and value of the silverware and gold ornaments is recorded in the ledgers.
RECITAL OF VEDAS
Beginning from the record room, Veda pundits seated there, melodiously recite the slokas from the Vedas.
Oh the most beautiful and wonderful Srimannarayana! The Lord who knows all the Vedas and Upanishads! The Lord’s presence in Ohmkaram, is the beginning and end of the Universe! Let us all chant the Narayana mantra which is so very powerful and propagated by Adi Sankaracharya!
SABHA ARA (SHELF)
All the articles like the golden umbrellas, silver torches, camphor plates and silk robes used in Lord’s processions are kept here. The golden cot with silk mattress used for the ekanta seva of the Lord is also stored here. Let us proceed further by saluting this shelf.
SANKEERTANA BHAANDARAM (Treasury of Sankeertanas)
Adjacent to the sabha are, there is the treasury of Sankeertanas. There are two statues on either side of this room. One is Annamacharya’s Statue and the other is that of Peda Tirumalacharyulu.
Annamcharya of Tallapaka heritage, his son Peda Tirumalacharyulu and his grand son China Tirumalacharyulu have sung hymns in praise of the Lord and honoured him.
All these hymns and poems are inscribed on copper plates and kept in safe custody in this place. These poems and hymns became so popular that one can hear them at anytime and at any place on TVs, Cds etc.
Annamayya not only took part in all festivals of the Lord but also secured a permanent place in the temple complex. Is it a possibility for any ordinary man!? Such a great devotee that he is, he wrote about 32000 keerthanas on Lord Venkateswara. He advised his son to write atleast one Keertana everyday and dedicate it to the Lord after his demise.
During 1525-30 A.D the construction of the trove was completed and all the works of Tallapaka family were inscribed on copper plates and safely kept in Tallapaka shelf.
It is said that all hymns originally written were on Palmyra leaves and later on transcribed on copper plates by his son.The king of Vijayanagara dynasty, Achyutarayalu, helped in constructing this treasure trove and preserving Annamayya’s writings. The corpus of Tallapaka came to light when Sadu Subramanya Sastri who worked in different posts in TTD from 1919 to 1946 A.D sighted the inscriptions. In 1923 all the copper plates on which Tallapaka’s corpus of literature was inscribed were taken out by him and got them rewritten on paper by the then pandit of TTD, Venkataramana Sastri. Lot of care was taken about them till 1930. Subramanya Sastri was transferred to Madras in 1931, for supervising the making of a diamond crown for the processional deity Mlayappa Swami ordered by the queen of Gadwal. The responsibility of paying personal attention to that work was entrusted to Sastri. It took two years for the completion of the crown. In this two year period, lot of Tallapaka literature was lost and whatever was left was published. The members of Annamacharya family still play a very important role in the shrine. Every day morning during Suprabhata seva, it is the members of the Tallapaka family who sings hymns at the golden door for waking up the Lord and at night lullabies are sung by them for the Lord. They play a very important part in the Kalyanotsavams. The father of blank verse is Tallapaka Annamacharya, whose hymns are recited by every one while visiting the Shrine. Annamacharya’s family plays a vital role in the various rituals at the shrine.
“The different forms of Hari are the angels
The various names of Hari are the mantras”.
How fortunate and blessed is the saint poet Annamacharya, to have sung the glory of the Lord Venkateswara every second of his life! How blissful it would be for us if we also could do it. Atleast keep chanting the Lord’s name Govinda… forever and ever!
Just beside Tallapaka treasure trove there is a pavilion called ‘Sannidhi Bhashyalu’. There is a granite statue of Sri Ramanuja in this pavilion. Sri Ramanuja in his long life of 120 years (1017 – 1137 A.D) visited Tirumala thrice. In those days, very reluctant to trample the holy hills with his feet, he climbed the seven hills on his knees. It is said that he took rest at a point now known as ‘Mokali Mitta’. In his memory, a temple was constructed here. He has rendered yeomen service to the Lord at Tirumala. Sri Ramnuja streamlined the temple management and handed it over to the posterity. Let us pay tribute to this holy man, whom the Lord treated as his teacher.
THE LORD’S DOLLARS
Gold and silver dollars with Lord Venkateswara Swami’s image are sold at this place. The devotees after having a darshan of the Lord, can buy these dollars.
YOGA NARASIMHASWAMI SANNIDHI
It is said to have been built between 1330 – 1360 A.D. The abandoned statue of Yoga Narasimha Swami, lying at some place on Tirumala hills was brought by Sri Ramanujulu to the temple and was consecrated inside the shrine. While sitting infront of this statue Annamayya had written hymns on the Lord. Let us also close our eyes and meditate for a while and then proceed to learn about Sankusthapana Sthambam.
King Thondamanu laid the foundation at this place before the commencement of construction of Ananda Nilaya Gopuram and other associate works.
PARIMALAM ARA (SHELF OF FRAGRANCE)
From Sankusthapana Stambam let us go round Yoga Narasimha Swami to see the fragrant shelf on the way. The perfumes and aromatics used for the Lord are sent from this place.
After having the darshan of the Lord, the devotees deposit their offerings to the Lord in this Hundi. This hundi is sealed with sealing wax not only by the TTD officials but also by the Jiyyars. While opening this hundi, officials verify whether the seals are tampered or not. It is believed that a Sri Chakra is placed under this hundi and hence the deity receives lot of wealth in the form of offerings. Sri Ramanadha Ghanapati, a veda pundit of TTD has said that when he was still a student of Vedas seventy years ago, land under hundi was dug to raise the ground level of the temple. It was then that the Sri Chakra Yantram was found. The temple complex was modified many times for creating easy passage to the devotees. But the hundi was never shifted from this place.
The Lord has blessed us with this beautiful life, a family, wealth and everything. Let us not hesitate to sacrifice a part of our wealth which the Lord has given us. Each paise we offer to the Lord is spent for a good cause. Let us all deposit our offerings in the Hundi and have the darshan of golden Varalakshmi.
For the benefit of devotees depositing their offerings in the hundi, a tall statue of bangaru Varalakshmi (golden Varalakshmi) is arranged on the left side wall. It is belived that goddess Varalakshmi grants lot of wealth to all the devotees who fulfill their vows.
God will send!”
To the left side of the exit of Hundi room and opposite to Annamacharya treasure trove there is ‘Kataha Theertham’ a tub like structure. This is where the Abhisheka theertham (holy water) coming out from the feet of the Lord is collected. This ‘Theertham must be consumed by chanting the name of Lord Venkateswara. It is said in Skanda Puranam that those who take this theertham would be liberated from their sins and all terminally ill people are cured of their illness.
After coming out from hundi enclosure one can see the small temple of Vishvaksena on the left side. He is the army chief of Lord Venkateswara. The processional statue of Vishwaksena, which plays an important role during festivals, is at present placed in Ankurarpana mandapam.
Mukkoti Pradakshinam begins at Lord Rama’s mansion that is beyond Ghanta Mandapam in the path way of Vimana Pradakshina. This is kept open every year on the day of Vaikunta Ekadasi in dhanurmasam (December month). On that day this passage is kept open from midnight to midnight. On that day the doors of this passage are called ‘Vaikunta dwaram’. On that auspicious day this passage is fully decorated with flowers and colourful electric lights. Blessed are those who pass these doors on that auspicious day. It is their good luck and fortune to move through these doors.
‘Vina Venkatesam nanadonanada
Sada Venkatesam Smarami Smarami’
‘There is none who is equal to Lord
Venkateswara. He is nonpareil
We have got faith and devotion
and always trusted his divine feet only’.
To the Lord who is residing in the
Hearts of his devotees
A devine and a supreme
Mangalam! (an auspicious close).