About Tirumala Hills - How Tirumala Hills Got It's Name
Tirumala is located 3,200 feet (980 m) above sea level and covers an area of approximately 10.33 square miles.
In ancient literature Tirupathi is mentioned to as Aadhi varaaha kshetra. The prunas associate the site with Lord Varaha, one of the Avatar of Lord Vishun. The Varaha shrine is said to be older than the main sanctum of Venkateswara.
The origins of the Tirumala Hills lies in a contest between Vaayu (God of Wind) and Adisesha(the first serpent). During Dwapara Yuga, Adisesha blocked Vayu from entering Vaikuntam as Lord Vishnu was in the company of His consort, Lakshmi. An incensed Vayu challenged Adisesha to a fight to decide the stronger between them, Vayu was tasked with trying to blow off Adisesha from the Holy Meru mountain while adisesha was asked to protect the peak with his hood. After a long time, Vayu appeared to yield and Adisesha lifted his hoods assuming that he had won the contest. Vayu then blew away one of the peaks. The peak landed near the Swarnamukhi river and is currently known as Seshachalam hill. A variant to the legend is that the contest created pandemonium on earth and Brahma, Indra and other gods pleaded with Adisesha to relent. When Adisesha obliged, the peak (Ananda hill) and Adisesha were blown off Meru and landed near the banks of river Swarnamukhi. When Adisesha was dejected with his defeat, the Gods converted Adisesha into the seven hills with the hood named as Seshadri hill or Seshachalam hill or Venkatadri hill. Another variant to the story is: Adisesha, fatigued by the contest was instructed by Lord Venkateswara to rest on Earth in a place that he chose for his stay in Kali Yuga.
The seven peaks of the shrine represents seven heads of Adisesha. Tirumala is one of the 108 divya desams
And seven heads are named as SESHADRI, NEELADRI, GARUDADRI, ANJANADRI, VRUSHABADRI, NARAYANADRI AND VENKATADRI.
Tirumala Seven Hills Naming
1. Vrushabadri Hill - Hill of Nandi, Vahana of Shiva The first hill is known as Vrushabadri. In Kruthayuga, near Thumbura Theertha in Tirumala there lived a demon named Vrushabhasura who was a devotee of Lord Siva. As he was an asura, he had the inborn demonic quality in him and he used to daily cut his head and offer the same to Lord. By Lord Siva's grace, he would immediately get back his head. When Lord siva graced him and asked him to choose any boon, he said that he wanted to have a fight with Lord Siva. Lord Siva granted his wish and the fight between the devotee and the Lord Siva continued for many days. Finally Vrushabhasura was defeated. But Before dying as a mark of his attaining salvation at this place he asked Lord Siva to name this hill by his name. So this hill is called by his name as Vrushabadri.
2. Anjanadri Hill - Hill of Lord Hanuman. Kesari, the king of Vanaras (monkeys), married Anjanadri. They were childless for many years. So Anjanadri went to a hill near Akasa Ganga and did penance for several years. Later Vayu (wind god) gave a fruit to Anjanadri. As a result of eating that fruit given by Vayu she gave birth to Lord Hanuman. As Anjanadri did penance on this hill it is called as Anjanadri.
3. Neeladri Hill - Hill of Neela Devi. Nila Devi (or Neela Devi) is the third consort of Lord Vishnu, the other two being Sri Devi and Bhu Devi. In Paramapadam (Sri Vaikuntham) Sri Devi is seated to the right of the Lord, and Bhu Devi and Nila Devi to His left. The Veda sings the glory of Goddess Nila in Nila Suktam. First devotee who gave her hair to god is Neela Devi. Lord Srinivasa named this hill by her name as Neeladri. When Lord Srinivasa was hit by a Shepard on his head, a small portion of his scalp becomes bald. There is no hair growth over that place and this was noticed by Gandharva princess, Neeladevi. She felt such a handsome face should not have any defect. Immediately she cuts a portion of her hair and implants it on his scalp with her powers. As hair is considered as the beautiful aspect of women, Lord Srinivasa notices her sacrifice and he said all the hair given to him by devotees in Tirupati belongs to Neeladevi. Giving our hair to god is the symbol of leaving our ego. The word "Talanelalu" is also came from her name.
4. Garudadri Hill - Hill of Garuda, the vahana of Lord Vishnu. As we all know Garuthmantha (Vahana of Lord Vishnu) killed his cousins (Kadruvas children, snakes). After killing the snakes to wash away the sin, he started praying for Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was pleased by his prayers and came before Garuthmantha. Garuthmantha asked Lord Vishnu to allow him to come back to Vaikuntam. Lord Vishnu said he will be coming as a Swayambu on the Seven Hills and asked him to stay there in the form of a hill. This hill is called by his name as Garudadri.
5. Seshadri Hill - Hill of Sesha, the dasa of Lord Vishnu. Most important peak among the Saptagiris is Seshadri. Seshadri is named after Adishesa, divine Serpent on whom Lord Vishnu rests. There is a story behind this hill. During Dwapara Yuga, Vayu (wind god) reached Vaikuntam to visit Lord Vishnu. Adisesha did not allow him inside as Lord Vishnu was taking rest with his consort Lakshmi Devi. Vayu was not ready to go back without visiting Lord Vishnu, and they started to argue with each other. Lord Vishnu himself came to them, but they still continued the argument, that one is better than the other. Finally Lord Vishnu said Adishesa should hold the Anadha Shikara, one of the peaks of Meru Mountain and Vayu should try to blow off Adishesa from Meru Mountain.
6. Naraynadri Hill - Hill of Narayana (Vishnu) Narayana Maharshi wanted to do Penance to see Lord Vishnu. He asked Lord Brahma to show a appropriate place where there won't be any disturbances for his Penance. Lord Brahma showed him a place where he did Penance for Lord Vishnu. Lord Vishnu was pleased by his prayers, appeared before Maharshi. Narayana Maharshi asked Lord Vishnu to give a boon so that the hill will be popular by his name. So this hill is called by his name as Narayanadri.
7. Venkatadri Hill - Hill of Lord Venkateswara. Lord sinivasa resides on this Hill. The sacred temple of Sri Venkateshwara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatadri, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.
The Sanctum sanctorum called the Garbha Griha is where the main deity of lord Venkateswara resides. The deity stands majestically to a height of eight feet, in the centre of the sanctum directly beneath a gold guilded dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divay Vimana.The exquisitely wrought deity called the Mulabera is believed to be Svayambhu(self manifested) ,according to the legends. Further ,no human being is known to have either sculpted or installed the deity in the shrine.
TIRUMALA TEMPLE HISTORY
Tirumala Temple Description - History Of Tirumala Temple
The benefits acquired by a pilgrimage to Venkatachala is mentioned in Rig Veda and Asthadasa Puranas. In these epics , Lord Sri Venkateswara is described as the great bestower of Boons. Tirumala Temple is a Popular Hindu site.
Sri Venkatachala Mahathyam is referred in several puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishottara Purana. According to Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested himself on the western bank of the Swamy Pushkarini, while God Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the souther bank of the Swamy Pushkarini.
Padi Kavali Maha Dwaram - Entrance of Tirumala Temple The padi kavali Maha dwaram or Outer Gopuram stands on a quadrangular base, which is the entrance to Tirumala Temple. Its architecture is that of the later Chola Period. The inscriptions on the Gopuram belong to 13th Century. There are a number of stucco figure of gods like Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha on the Gopuram.
Padi Kavali Maha Dwaram Entrance Of Tirumala Temple
The padi kavali Maha dwaram or Outer Gopuram stands on a quadrangular base, which is the entrance to Tirumala Temple. Its architecture is that of the later Chola Period. The inscriptions on the Gopuram belong to 13th Century. There are a number of stucco figure of gods like Hanuman, Kevale Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha on the Gopuram.
Sampangi Pradakshinam Inside Tirumala Temple
The path of Circumnavigating the temple is called pradakshinam. The main Tirumala temple has three prakarams. Between the outermost and middle prakarams is the second pathway for circumambulation know as the Sampangi Pradakshinam. Currently, this pathway is close to pilgrims. The sampangi Pradakshinam contains several interesting mandapams like Pratima Mandapam , Ranga Mandapam ( Ranganayakula Mandapam) , Tirumala Raya Mandapam, Saluva Narasimha Mandapam, Aina Mahal and Dhwajasthambha Mandapam.
Ranga Mandapam Or Ranganayakula Mandapam Inside Tirumala Temple
Ranga Mandapam also called the Ranganayakula Mandapam, is located in the southeastern corner of the Sampangi Pradakshinam. The shrine within it is believed to be the place where the Utsava murthi, Idol of Lord Ranganatha of Srirangam was kept during the 14th Century, when Muslim rulers occupied Srirangam. It is said Yadava ruler Sri Ranganatha Yadava Raya constructed it between 1320 and 1360. It is constructed according to the 'Nagara' style of architecture.
Tirumala Raya Mandapam Inside Tirumala Temple
Adjoining the Ranga Mandapam on the western side, and facing the Dhwajasthambha Mandapam is a spacious complex of pavilions known as the Tirumala Raya Mandapam or Ann Un-Jal Mandapam. It consists of two different levels, the front at a lower level and the rear at a higher. Saluva Narasimha constructed the southern or inner portion of this Mandapam in 1473 A.D to celebrate a festival for Sri Venkateswara called Anna Unjal Tirunal (Anna Un-Jal Tirunal). Araviti Bukkaraya Ramaraja, Shriranga Raja and Tirumala Raja extended this structure to its present size. It is in this Mandapam, that the Utsaava murthi Malayappa holds His annual darbar (court) or asthanam during the hoisting of the Garudadhwaja on Dhwajasthambham to mark the commencement of Brahmotsavam. Incidentally, the prasadam distributed on this occasion is still called Tirumalaraya Pongal. The mandapam has a typical complex of pillar in the Vijayanagara style, with a central pillar surrounded by smaller pillars. Some of these pillars emit musical notes when struck with a stone. The main pillars have rearing horses with warriors mounted on them. Some of the best sculptures of the temple found in bold relief in the Mandapam. The bronze statue of Thodermallu, his mother Matha Mohana Devi and his wife Pitha Bibi, are kept in a corner of the Mandapam.
Aina Mahal Inside Tirumala Temple
The Aina (Mirror) Mahal is on the northern side of the Tirumala Raya Mandapam. It consists of two parts - an open mandapam in the front consisting of six rows comprising six pillars each, and a shrine behind it consisting of an Antarala and Garbhagriha. It has large mirrors. These reflect images in an infinite series. There is a Un-jal (Unjal) or food and water in the middle of the room. In which, the Lord is seated and festivals conducted.
TIRUPATI HISTORY AND GROWTH
Its History and Growth Tirupati is the ancient Holy city in Andhra Pradesh. Many Sacred Temples are located In and Around Tirupati. One of them is Tirumala Temple, Pilgrims destination. The temple of Tirupati is built in the foothills of the Tirumala Seven Hills. This temple is very popular among the devotees.
Some say that Tirupati Originally Called as Tripathi, Tiru derived from Tri a Sanskrit Word. "Venkatesaya Vidmahe, Tripathi Nadhaya Dheemahi, Thannoah Srinivasa Prachodhayath" Here in this phrase Lord Venkateswara is referred as Lord of Tripathy.
Some other Scholars says that Sanskrit husband is called as Pati or Pathi means Husband and Tiru or Thiru literally means 'Holy' or 'Sacred' in Tamil and together the temple is called as Tirupati. Tirupati is the Gateway to Tirumala- The abode of Lord Venkateswara.
Around 1500 years ago, there was no human habitation below the Scared Hill, there was a Huge forest that extended all around the Hill stretching up to the Bay of Bengal in the EAST and the River Pinaki or Penna in the North and extending miles towards WEST and SOUTH.
Gradually, with the growing importance and popularity of the Tirumala Temple, a village came up at its foot. It gradually grew into the town and the Town acquired the name of the Hill. Even today, many devotees refer Tirupati as Keel Tirupati or Lower Tirupati and Tirumala as Upper Tirupati or Mel Tirupati.
As per the earliest of Tamil literature (dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D) mentions Tirupati as Thrivengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms.
Literature which was composed roughly around the post-Mauryan and early-Gupta era also refers Tirupati as the Aadhi Varaha Kshetra
Tirumala was maintained and upgraded by various kingdoms. These include the Pallava Kingdom around 9th Century AD, Chola Kingdom around 10th century AD and the latest one being Vijayanagara Empire around 14th to 15th century AD.It was during the rule of Vijayanagara Empire that the temple received contributions.
In the period of Vijayanagara emperors, the temple attained its current opulence and size. The emperors of the dynasty, in particular, Krishna Deva Raya lavished on the temple numerous objects of priceless value, ranging from diamond studded crowns to golden swords.
Tiruchanoor Temple History
Tiruchanoor is a small village which is about 5 Km from Tirupati Bus station. It is also known as Alamelu Mangapuram, where the Temple for Sri Padmavathi Amma Varu, is located. Inscriptions on the walls of ancient Temple of Tirupati indicate the existence of an equally old Temple here known as Ilan Koil. It is said that there was an Ilan Koil important to Saivities at Tiruchanoor before 7th Century when Saivism thrived here.
This Temple was called either Thiruvengadathu Perumanadigal, Thiruvilan Koil Perumanadigal or Thirumantrasalai Perumanadigal. Inscriptions here reveal that it was built towards the end of the 8th Century.
Tiruchanoor was the last point on the old highway known as Vadakkuvazhi that connected the Tamil Country of Thondaimandalam with the region towards the north of the Hills known as the land of the Vadugars.
Chandragiri lies to the South-West of Tirupati. It gained prominence in the period of Saluva Mangideva, the great-grandfather of Saluva Narasimha, one of the generals who served under the command of Vira Kumara Kampanna in the second quarter of 14th Century.
Later, it grew up when the Saluva and Vijayanagara Kings built their forts and palaces here. Chandragiri as the second Capital of the Vijayanagara Empire.