Friday, 5 December 2014

The Journey through 7 Hills.

DAY:1

On Nov 27th, 2014 we  boarded  our train from Khurdha railway station to reach our long time dream & divine destination of TIRUMALA  TIRUPATHY TEMPLE.

TIRUMALA TIRUPATHY TEMPLE -A NIGHT VIEW
                         The most revered temple in Andhra Pradesh which comes under Chittoor district is dedicated to LORD VISHNU .The holy temple is situated on the TIRUMALA HILLS /SHESHACHALAM which has 7 peaks namely

1. SESHADRI
2. NEELADRI
3. GARUDADRI
4. ANJANADRI
5. VRUSHABADRI
6. NARAYANADRI &
7.  VENKATADRI , The  main temple is on the Venkatadri hills. ..                                                                                                    
                          The story of Lord Venkateswara begins when all gods,goddess and saints in the Devlok(heaven)decide to perform a grand pooja (offering).But then they were baffled, as among all the Gods who was the most worthy to offer the pooja. Therefore, to make a decision the main saint among them Saint Brugu sets on a journey to take a test of all the Gods.Lord Brahma ,Lord Shiva and all the other gods fail in his test and finally he reaches VAIKUNT, the abode of Lord Vishnu.Lord Vishnu wins his heart by paying him proper homage but Goddess Lakshmi gets hurt because of the abuse lord vishnu has to suffer and she alights from VAIKUNT & goes to  Karavirapur to lead the rest of her life & starts meditation. Lord Vishnu becomes crestfallen and he too leaves Vaikunt and roams on his vehicle THE GARUDA(the mighty eagle) & finally reaches  Seshachalam(Tirumala hills)as   Lord Venkateswara( an avatar/incarnation of Lord Vishnu)seeking Goddess Lakshmi.Lord intends to  meditate abstaining from having food and water.All the gods then makes a stratagem to unify both of them.Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma disguises themselves as a calf and  mother cow respectively and Goddess Maha Laksmi as cow's possessor and vends the cow to a king in Chola region .The cow begins to nourish the Lord Vishnu  with her milk and finally this act was caught and the cowherd who was blamed as a thief became outrageous and throws an axe to the point where the cow showered the milk.Lord Ventakeswara receives the wound by extricating the cow,so Lord's  head gets injured and the volume of blood which flowed like a stream was such that it could cover 7 hills placed  one on top of each other.This act  made Lord angry and cursed the Raja(CHOLA KING) ,so that he became a beggar. The King then pleaded for innocence and God blessed him & told his curse will end only when Lord will be crowned during his marriage with  Padmavati.

                          In the mean time  Lord was being  looked after by Bakulamalika just as a mother nurtures her son. Meanwhile a king named Akash Raj who was childless obtains a beautiful girl child from lotus and so he names that girl as Padmavati (the one who came from lotus .Padmam meaning lotus)who grew up as a charming  & beautiful princess .It is Goddess Lakshmi who emerged as Padmavati after 12 long years of tapas /meditation in order to unite with her husband Lord Venkateswara (an incarnation of Lord Vishnu) . One day during hunting Lord happens to see Padmavati and fell in love with her.With the permission of Bakula devi and Padamavati's parents Lord marries Padmavati. As God has no place to live Lord asks for some land from Lord Varaha Swamy(the 3 rd incarnation of Lord Vishnu)and with the help of Thondiman ,Padmavati's father's brother,who was a great devotee of Lord Venkateswara, a grand temple was constructed on the Venkatadri Hills and Lord along with  Goddess Padmavati begins to lead their life there for  LOKA SAMASTA SUKHINO BAVANDHU (meaning-forblessing the universe for its  well being ,peace and prosperity ).Meanwhile Goddess LEKHSMI understanding the commitments of her husband decided to live in the heart of her husband  Lord Venkateswara forever...

 Note :The entire story of Lord is beautifullynarrated in a book named "Venkateshakalyaan"

                                                                                      We had to travel  hours to reach there.On the way we enjoyed the most in our cabin munching on  Vijaywada (a place on the way,in Andhra)special SAMAOSA  with hot green chillies  & chilled our tummy with lassi(spicy or sweet buttermilk).Wowww...It was just awesome.Some how we killed our time and at last reached the Tirupathi  Station by 3.30 am on 28 t h Nov.After a long 1 hour wait, the Kerala express reached and we met my parents and straightaway hired a cab (it costs 500- 1000 INR) and started our journey up the hill  .

crispy samosa with hot chillies & lassi
There are three choices to reach the top of the hill.............

1.Through the cab/private vehicles
 
 THE ROAD  WAY
       
2.Through the foot/ pedestrian  path  which starts from Alipiri/Sri vari mettu  & will take only 5-7 hours to reach all the way up the hill .Free luggage counters are also avaliable there to transport our baggages up the hill.

Note:They will receive only the bags which have locks on them.

 THE PEDESTRIAN PATH

3.Through APSRTC at very reasonable rates.

APSRTC BUSES

  At Sapthagiri  check point after clearing the formalities we headed straight to  CRO(central reception office) Complex ,from where we got our room keys  as we had  already completed  the formalities for reserving rooms for us through  the e booking site of TTD(www.ttdsevaonline.com and go for accomadation.if you are doing e booking don't forget to take your id's and printed copy of the receipt along with you ) .
SAPTHAGIRI CHECKING POINT

{nowadays TTD offers e booking facilities for booking rooms,darshanas and other poojas{web address:www.tirumala.org} .Its better to reserve the rooms and poojas ahead .}

For us PANCHAJANYAM  guest house was allotted . The  rooms were clean and comfortable.We had a good shower, devoured our breakfast and  were all set for an outing.

Paanchajanyam  guest house
ready for an outing..

The main destinations other than the Tirupathy Temple  which we visited  are

1.SRI VARAHA SWAMY TEMPLE

             As the tale suggests one should  first have the darshan of Lord Bhoo Varaha Swamy(the third avartar/incarnation  of Lord Vishnu) then of Lord Govinda as a token of respect for the Varaha Swamy who lend   the land to the lord to build a stay for himself in the Tirumala Hills.The idol of Lord Varaha Swamy along with his consort Bhoo Matha (the mother earth )  residing on  Swamy's  lap is very beautiful and a mind soothing experience.This temple is boarded  by the Holy Pushkarini Pond/Chakra Theertham on one side and the main temple of LORD VENKATESWARA  on the other side..

SRI BHUVARAHA SWAMY TEMPLE
THE HOLY PUSHKARINI











2.SRI PADAM/SRI VARIPADALU

                    :It is believed as the point where  LORD VENKATESWARA  first set his foot on the  TIRUMALA HILL & left his foot prints there.

INDIAN GIANT SQUIRREL/MALABAR SQUIRREL 

foot prints of LORD

3.SILATHORANAM /ROCK GARDEN

                        SILA MEANS ROCK & THORANAM MEANING GARLAND. It is actually a rock garden & various rocks in there are compared to the Lord Venkateswara's xancus/sankh,the sacred wheel /chakra  and  TiruNamam (the dot/bhindi on Lords nose and forehead)

ROCK GARDEN

4.SRI GOPALA SWAMY TEMPLE
                           
                           :A beautiful shrine with Lord Krishna along with his love Radha Rani as the main deities.

SRI GOPALA SWAMY TEMPLE

On the way back i relished a cup of cool buttermilk with black salt & sabja/basil seeds  and Mr.V with a  cup of hot badam milk.A lot  of refreshing drinks and snacks like tasty raw mangoes with a spicy dip,bhelpuri(spicy puffed rice),dosas (crepes),pakodas & bhajjas(fritters) are available  and with the advent of time we will even get Chinese veg special dishes like manchurian and chowmein which symbolises the development even in this holy land.

buttermilk from  clay pot
hot badam/almond milk



5. PAPAVINASANAM

             :It was actually a sacred waterfall .It is believed that bathing in this water will purify the sins of the devotees and will bring peace & prosperity in their lives.All those who visit Lord Balaji 's temple  in Tirumala will surely  make a visit  to this place.But now considering the security reasons the TTD have made available this water in the form of showers in a more secure place.Such a fascinating pilgrim and tourist spot it was but now spoilt by the devotees bathing spitting and littering .Nothing much to see there.If you have  ample  time you can make a visit to the place.
                                                 
PAPAVINASANAM

 6)CHAKRA  THEERTHAM

       Another sacred water lodged area where we have a shrine for God & Goddess Shiv & Parvathi, Lord Narasimha(lion man incarnation of Lord Vishnu) and some Snake Gods.If you like trekking get ready for a small adventure.
on the way to Chakra Theertham
7)AAKASHA GANGA:
           
                   The name  itself signifies the  Holy River Ganga from originating from  the lotus feet of Lord Vishnu,yet  another sacred waterfall on the Tirumala hills.




                               By 4 pm we arrived  back to our hotel.After having tea and some snacks we  were dresses up to go for the Darshan(in main sanctum sanctorum)It was our first visit after marriage so we dressed up in our traditional attire ie. me in a saree and MR.V in mundu or dhoti and shawl.
                                     
  Note:

1.Those who book/reserve darshan and other pooja tickets through internet are strictly allowed only in the traditional attires like saree/half saree/davani for ladies/girls and dhoti/mundu/pijama kurta for men. They  should also take their identity cards with them to show to the officers on demand.
2.Mobile phones.video cameras/still cameras/pager not allowed inside the temple
3.No drinking,smoking,eating non-veg foods and littering in the temple premises.
4.Do not wear flowers on your head as it is believed that all the flower on the hills are for Lord Venkateswara Swamy.  

TTD offers a lot of  facilities at free of cost for the devotees who reach there from around the world.

1.Free Food & water

The TTD offers free food throughout the day to the devotees.We also got a chance to have the prasadam(Annadhanam- Free lunch offered from temple to the devotees). It is served in batches in a multi story building throughout the day.
builing where free food is served
2.Free transportation by TTD buses in an interval of 5 minutes to important land marks in and around   the main temple.

     
grand TTD buses

3.Free accomdation facilities are also provided by TTD  from the CRO complex,where devotees will get free locker facilities,free bathrooms and toilets round the clock.The amount(200 INR) they deposited will also be refunded when they vacate the rooms.Each room can accommodate 10 -15    people &will be having a common bathroom and fan.                                                                                                        
4.Free medical help is also arranged by TTD in the  temple premises for the devotees in case of emergencies .  


'V-' IN MUND & SHAWL AND M'-IN TRADITIONAL PAINTED  KERALA SET SAREE

                By  gods grace within a period of 2 hours we had darshan ,got the prasadam  and overwhelmingly we came out of the temple to join the procession of  Utsava Moorthy along with his consorts in the golden palanquin .(the main deity is permanent  in the temple,which is immovable whereas the utsava moorthy or the movable idols are  used for various festival/ poojas  outside and inside the main shrine.)
             
utsav moorthy in golden palanquin
After which we galloped some food and slept  peacefully..
                                                           
a night view from the streets of tirumala

DAY 2:
                                                 From 10 AM to almost till afternoon we were attending the celestial  KALYANA UTSAVAM. EVERYDAY MARRIAGE CEREMONY IS CELEBRATED IN THE  TEMPLE FOR UTSAVA MOORTHY ALONG WITH HIS CONSORTS ,Goddesses LAKSHMI & PADMAVATI OR BHU(bhoomi or mother earth) DEVI AND SREE (Lakshmi Devi) DEVI" FOR THE WELL BEING OF ALL CREATURES AND TO LEAD THEM ON THE RIGHT PATH.             COMMEMORATING ALL THE RITUALS WHICH ARE PERFORMED IN A HINDU MARRIAGE, ARE PERFORMED TO GOD AND HIS CONSORTS.AFTER WHICH AKSHATA(SACRED RICE GRAINS) IS GIVEN TO THE  DEVOTEES WHO PARTICIPATED IN THE GLORIOUS WEDDING . Evening was set aside for roaming  on the streets  and to do a little shopping  for our cousins..

DAY:3

It was time to bid bye to Tirupathy with a hope to reach  back to the shrine of the Lord as soon as possible..On a cab we traveled all the way down through the 7 hills.


PANORAMIC VIEW OF THE TIRUPATHY  TOWN 
RUSTIC ROADS














                                                                                                                                                     That day we visited  the famous temples in and around Keezhu Tirupathy or on the valley of Tirumala Hills.

 1)ISKCON   TEMPLE:
           
                  One  among the beautiful temples of LORD KRISHNA which is flourished all around the world with mesmerizing interiors.The  forever chanting  mantras 
 HARE RAMA HARE RAMA RAMA RAMA HARE HARE
HARE KRISHNA HARE KRISHNA KRISHNA KRISHNA HARE HARE" indulges the devotees in a spiritual ambiance.

ISCKON TEMPLE,TIRUPATHY


ANOTHER CLICK

































2) SRI KODANDARAMA TEMPLE {Ram,Sita ,Lakshman & Hanuman temple}


                    The ancient SRI KODANDARAMA TEMPLE is situated in Tirupathi town.In token of visit  of SITA ,RAM AND LAKSHMAN to  this place ,their idols were consecrated .


SRI KODANDARAMA TEMPLE

3)SRI KAPILA THEERTHAM

                  Another  noteworthy waterfall ,of Vedic  importance, cascades   from the Tirumala Hills is the Kapila Theertham. A shrine dedicated  to Lord Shiva is situated besides this waterfall. It is one of its kind in the premises of Tirupathy temple which is  dedicated to Lord Shiva majority being the temples of Vaishavites (devotees of Lord Vishnu).It is believed that the Holy Saint KAPILA resided  here  & worshiped  before the idol of Lord Shiva and hence the name Kapila Theertham. Don't miss  the  other shrines present in the temple premises like  LORD HANUMAN,LORD MURUGAN & VENUGOPALA SWAMY.

KAPILATHEERTHAM

4)SRI KALAHASTI

                    Another  Holy Temple located on the outskirts of Tirupathy town , on the banks of river Swarnamukhi, dedicated to Lord Shiva  is the renounced temple 'SRI KALAHASTI"  which is also known as the" DAKSHINA KAILASAM". This temple  is around 40-50 km from Tirupathy town. Here the Lord Vayu   is incarnated as Lord Shiva and is worshiped as KALAHASTEESWARA. The Goddess Parvati is worshiped here as  Gnanaprasunambika.The name of  the  temple derives from the 3 ardent devotees of Lord Shiva
A spider named SRI
A hunter named KALA &
An  elephant HASTI . This  temple is also famous for Rahu Ketu (the celestial bodies  in the Indian astrology)poojas.
the lofty gopuram on the entrance 

5)ALAMELU MANGAPURAM/SRI PADMAVATI AMMAVARI TEMPLE ,TIRUCHANOOR

                        The temple devoted to Goddess Padmavati (lakshmi) the wife of Lord Venkateswara  is only around 5 km  from the Tirupathy town.It is said that  a visit to Tirupathy becomes incomplete without a visit to this temple.This was our last destination in that Temple city of Tirupathy.We availed special darshan by buying a 50/- ticket.  Once we see the goddess we will be blown away by grace and charm,after all goddess being the lovely wife of Lord Venkateswara Swamy..!
 
  with  new ray of  hopes in our minds & with a strong wish  to return to the  fane we bid bye to the Holy land  ........govinda govinda...