Tirupati is a place Lord Vishnu chose as an alternative to Vaikunth his celestial home of Lord Venkateshwara. Tirumala temple stands on a hill range comprising seven peaks, representing & hoods of Adisesha. Lord Balaji is also called Lord of seven hills.
Here are some interesting and unknown facts about the Balaji temple.
The uniqueness of Arch
The Arch at the entrance of Tirumala Hills is unique in the world. Natural arch, Tirumala Hills is a distinctive geological wonder located a km. north of Tirumala Hills temple. The Arch is also known as Silathoranam. Sila is rock and thoranam is garland strung over a threshold connecting two vertical column as an arch. Arch measures 8m in width and 3m. in height. It is one of the few natural arches in Asia.
- The arch resembles the hood of serpent, a conch and discus all symbol of worship in Hindu religion and considered to be source of the idol of Lord Venkateswara or Lord Balaji.
- Main deity in Tirumala temple is of the same height as the height of the Arch.
- Lord Vishnu is supposed to be have put his first foot down at place called Padalu, which is highest point of Tirumala hills, Second step at location of arch and thereafter next step is stated to have been placed where his idol is now worshipped in the temple at Tirumala.
Application of Green Camphor has no ill effect
A Chemical, kachcha Kapooram (Green Camphor) is a soft white chemical is applied on the idol of Balaji everyday. Fact is if this chemical is applied on granite, cracks will appear on it. But , surprisingly this is applied on Balaji every day still there is no damage to the stone.
Idol of Balaji always maintain a temperature of 110 degree F.
The temple is at a height of about 3000 feet so the climate is normally cold and also every morning at 4:30 am Abhishekam is done in which the idol is bathed with water, milk as well as other dravayam. After the bath sweat appears in form of fine water particles on the body of the idol . Sweat is wiped with silken cloth. On every thursday when ornaments are removed before sacred bath it is noticed that they are warm.
The story about Lord’s Chin
At the entrance of the main door, to the right side a stick which was used by Ananthaaivar to his Venkaleshwara Swamy is present. When this stick was used to hit the Small boy Venkateshwara his chin was hurt. Since then the practice of applying sandalwood paste on Swamy’s chin started.
Why hair is given to Lord
When Balaji lost small portion of hair after hit by shepherd, Neela devi a Gandharva princess cut a portion of her hair and implant it on his scalp. Lord Balaji promises her that all his devotees who come to his abode should render their hair to him, and she would be recipient of all the hair received . It remains a miracle that there is a real hair on the main idol of Venkateswara Swamy. The authorities says that this hair is always silky smooth and never entangles. Nearly 1.08 crore devotee offer their hair to the Lord and nearly 1.5 crore disposable blades are used for the purpose, TTD gets an income of 200 crore per year with the sale of the offered hair.
Dress of Lord Balaji
The length of the silken dress of Lord Balaji is around 21 arm length. (roughly one arm length is one and a half feet ), and its weight is around 6 kilogram. This can not be brought from any shop. devotee willing to offer dress submit assigned sum at the temple office towards the cost of the dress offered by the devotee. Andhra Pradesh govt. also offers one set dress twice in a year. Every friday 15 such outer garments are accepted for offering. For this there is waiting period of at least 10 years or more.
How the garment of Lord Consort is prepared?
The inner garment of Lord Balaji’s consort Goddess Alarmelumanga are made of cotton at a place called Kathwaal. The weaver of this garment belong to Chechu tribe and they prepare it with utmost devotion. Since this inner garment touches the body of Goddess, the weaver take bath thrice daily during the preparation of the dress, They don’t touch liquor or any non- vegetarian food.
The worship of Lord Balaji is done as Mother Goddess Amba (Ambal) for 4 days, Lord Maha Vishnu for 2 days and Lord Shiva for one day in a week. Bilva leaves a must for worship of Lord Shiva are used during archana. Venkateshwara Swamy appears to be standing in the middle of the Garba Guddi. Actually, Swamy stands at the right side corner of the Garba Guddi . This can be noticed from standing outside.
Abhishekam of Lord
Abhishekam is performed every morning from 4:30-5:30. many items required for Abhishekam are imported from abroad like saffron from Spain, kasturi from Nepal, Punugu from China, certain fragrance material from Paris. These items are mixed with sandal paste prepared in a golden plate. 51 small kalasam of milk is offered in Abhishekam. Then they apply Kasturi and Punugu to the idol. Specially packed roses are air-freighted from Amsterdam. Many fragrant items are sent from China to Balaji. These include chinese camphor, akila(a scented wood similar to sandalwood , sandalwood, amber, kumkum, thamalam etc.
There is also a traditional belief in vogue that Balaji has a third eye which he opens at the time of Abhishekam.
Preparation of food
The temple authority buy a mud pot daily in which curd and rice is offered to Lord. Except curd rice no other cooked or prepared food item ever cross the Kulasekara’s steps and enter the sanctum sanctorum. It is deemed to be big blessing indeed if any devotee gets the used mud pot and any left over of the curd and rice offered to Lord Balaji.
The value of ornament of Balaji is around 1000 crores (appreciates as the market rises). salagrama is golden necklace its weight is around 12 kgs, surya kadari- weighs around 500 kgs, pada kavasam (leg covering ) weighs around 375 kgs. The single blue stone that is in possession of the temple is a unique and can not be found anywhere in world.
The God with no Weapon
Normally any Hindu God idol in sathvik and shanthi posture would be depicted with at least one weapon in one of the hand. But, in case Lord Balaji has no weapon in his hand . He is Nirayudha Pani. In ancient Tamil literature he is described as Verungai Vedan, a hunter without any arms in hands.
Abhishekam water or liquids are let out through pipe into a nearby sacred tank of the temple called Pushkarani. Hence the water in the tank is also considered sacred. It is believed that the sacred water is capable of removing one’s sin on taking a dip in it. After taking a dip people offers Arghyam.
Flower garland worn by the idol of female devotee known as Sri Aandaal at Srivilliputhur temple of Tamil nadu is brought daily to the hills and offered to Lord Balaji. Sri Aandaal worshipped Lord Balaji as her God.
The Secret Village
There is a secret village about 22 kms from town which allows only residents of the village to enter. It is said that village has a garden of flowers from where flowers are fetched and used in the sanctum of Lord Venkateshwara. All the flowers used in garba gudi are in condition brought out. There is a waterfall behind the swamy and all the flowers used are thrown in the waterfall. There are about 1180 stone engraving in the temple at the seven hills. Out of these 50 are in Telegu / Kannada and rest 1130 are in Tamil language only. Paintings / murals at Tirupati are over 300 years old.
Every Friday morning, a special worship is performed before the commencement of Abhishekam. One Psalm in Tamil beginning with the word Venkatam yena Petra is sung. During special worship the idol is without any dress or flower decoration (Nirmalya / Viwaroopa Dharshanam / Dikambaram). A camphor is lighted and shown to the Lord (Karpoora Aarti). The Nayadyam is offered to the Lord(offering of fruits etc). Once again a karpoora aartiis done.
The idol of Balaji at this time shines beautifully and is a treat to the eye.Lakshmi devi is on the heart of Swamy. On Thursday during Nijaroopa Darshanam, Swamy is decorated with white wood paste . When this decoration is taken out the imprint on Lakshmi Devi remains, This imprint is sold by temple authority.
The lights lit in front of Swamy are said to lit since thousands of years.
The Suprabhatam chanting to wake up Lord is not played in temple during month of Dec – Jan as he never sleeps.
The Garuda Hills in Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateshwara features a natural rock formation that is in the form of Garuda. Garuda is vehicle of Lord Venkateshwara.
A similar statue of silver is built inside the sanctum sanctorum in 966 AD for the purpose of doing Abhishekam as well as beautifying with all the jewelleries. Pallava Dynasty king sakti and his wife has donated lot of jewels and ornament to this silver idol of Balaji.
Major source of income is offerings, sale of prasadam, sale of darshan tickets,seva ticket, sale of hair offered and receipt from choultries(place of accommodation). The gross income of TTDfor the year (14-15) ws estimated to be 2359.2 crores ie, about 6.34 crore every day.
The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 devotees daily, on special occasion or festivals like annual Brahmotsavam, the number shoots up to 500,000 or more thus making it a most visited place in world
In 1800, temple was said to be closed for 12 years. One king is said to have punished 12 people by killing them and hanging them on the wall of the temple. It is believed that at this time Swamy appeared.
According to Varaha Purana during treta Yuga , Lord Rama resides here along with Devi Sita and Lakshmana on his return from Lankapuri.
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