Saturday, April 24, 2010

Pilgrimage to Tirupati – Part IV

There is much to write in recollection of our various visits to Tirupati. However I wrote in general about pilgrimage to Tirupati in my previous three posts and in this concluding part I am writing about places to see in Tirumala and in and around Tirupati.
When you visit Tirumala, you must first have darshan of Sri Varahaswamy. Sri Varahaswamy Temple is to the North of the main temple of Sri Venkateshwara Swamy and along the Swami Pushkarni (sacred pond of the Temple). And then after the darshan of Lord Venkateshwara Swamy you may visit a number of sacred and interesting places on the Tirumala hills. Close to the main Temple is the TTD Devasthanam maintained beautiful ornamental Garden which also has many rare species of plants and trees. And within a radius of 15 Kms from the main Temple there are many places to visit. One can engage a cab to visit all these places in one go or as per convenience in two trips.
You may visit Srivari Paadhalu on Narayanagiri hill. This is the place where Sri Venkateshwara Swamy first set his foot on Tirumala hills. The foot prints of the Lord are present here and the view of the Tirumala Temple and town is magnificent from this place. Close to this place is Shilathoranam meaning a stone gate or arch. There is a Shiva Temple here in the midst of a garden.
Within 5 Kms. from the main Temple you can visit Akashaganga. There is a perennial water stream jetting out between rocks here. This water is used for Sri Venkateshwara Swamy’s Abhishekam and other Temple rituals. Papavinasanam is also close by. Across the Papavinasanam River; a dam is present here. This is one of the sources of water supply to Tirumala. Papavinasanam means ‘getting rid of sins’. Seven streams of water are let out from the river from a height here and pilgrims are advised to take a holy bath under any of these streams. On the way to Papavinasanam there is the Temple of Sri Venugopala Swamy. There are few more interesting places like Vaikunta Tirtham and Tumburu Tirtham on Tirumala hills.
Downhill while in Tirupati town; you may visit the ancient Temples of Sri Govindarajaswamy and Sri Kodandaramaswamy. And in close proximity to Tirupati town there are other important Temples which you can visit within half a day.  Sri Kapileswaraswamy Temple of Lord Shiva is just at the foot of Tirumala Hills. The Temple is amidst attractive greenery and there is a sacred waterfall here called Kapila Teertham. At Alamelumangapuram which is 5 Kms. from Tirupati is the most important Temple of Sri Padmavati Devi the consort of Sri Venkateshwara Swamy. It is said that a visit to Tirumala is fruitful after visiting Sri Padmavati Temple. However due to various personal constraints pilgrims mostly visit this Temple on their return journey from Tirumala. And about 12 Kms. from Tirupati is Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara Swamy Temple at Srinivasa Mangapuram. It is said that Sri Venkateshwara Swamy and Sri Padmavati Devi stayed here for sometime after their marriage and then proceeded to Tirumala.
And 40 Kms. from Tirupati is yet another important Temple, Sri Kalahasti Temple of Lord Shiva. It is as important as Shiva Temple at Kasi (Varanasi) and that is why it is called Dakshina Kasi meaning Kasi of South.

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