Tirupati has the reputation of being the land where Lord Venkateswara, the reincarnation of Lord Vishnu had appeared. To this date, the region of Tirumala in Tirupati district is revered as a holy spot due to the presence of the Venkateswara Temple. Tirumala also has the Seshachalam Hills which has seven peaks that are likened to that of the seven-headed serpent Adishesha. There are a lot of legends based on mythology that are associated with this place. Tirupati cabs are available for visitors keen on paying a visit to this holy place.
The Venkateswara Temple is a pilgrim landmark and sees thousands of pilgrims on a daily basis. This number sees a sharp rise during special occasions like the Brahmotsavam, when the number touches several lakhs, making it the most visited holy spot in the world. It is also the richest temple in the world with its wealth and due to the ample amount of donations it receives. The temple is said to have been built around 300 AD and portrays a Dravidian style of architecture.
Hair tonsuring is also a common practice here. Pilgrims shave their head to offer ‘Mokku’ to Neela Devi. As per the legend Neela Devi is believed to have magically implanted a portion of her hair on Lord Venkateswara’s head when he was left with a bald spot due to a wound caused by a shepherd. Moved by this gesture, Lord Venkateswara promised that any devotees who donate their hair at the religious place would be offering their hair to Neela Devi.
It is important to keep in mind that since it is a highly respected spiritual region, liquor, eating meat and inappropriate clothing are not allowed in the temple. Women are required to wear a traditional saree or cover their heads with a shawl before entering the temple.
Endowed with a spiritual air, Tirupati is also famous for its numerous Hindu festivals that are celebrated with great pomp. The Srivari Brahmotsavam is an event that runs for nine days when Malayappa, the processional deity of Lord Venkateswara, is taken around the city in different vahanams (vehicles).
Vaikunta Ekadashi, one of the most important Vaishnavite festivals is also celebrated here. It is believed that on this day, the doors to Vaikunta – Lord Vishnu’s abode will be open. Sri Krishna Janmashtami is celebrated with a grandeur all around the city.
The Tirupati laddu, a sweet offering made to the deity, is also very famous here. The laddu is distributed as Prasad and has its own geographical indication tag.
Apart from the world famous Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, Tirupati also has other places of religious significance including the Sri Venkateswara Museum, Aadhi Varaha Swamy Temple, and Sri Padmavati Ammavari Temple. The Sri Venkateswara Museum houses various relics and artefacts that are culturally and religiously relevant, along with photos, instruments and the like. It also has a meditation center.
Plan a trip to this holy place with the Chennai to Tirupati cabs and witness the grandeur of the richest temple in the world. You will need to keep in mind that this is a spiritual place and your choice of cuisine will be limited to vegetarian food items. But you can always try local dishes for an authentic flavour.