Tirupati is an important holy sanctuary for the devotees of Lord Vishnu, where the famous temple is situated. In the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple, Vishnu is in Lord Venkateswara’s avtar. Worshippers believe, Tirupati means the husband of Devi Lakshmi. There are 7 sacred hills and it is on Venkatadri that the shrine is located. Lord Vishnu has other names like Srinivasa, Govinda and Balaji.
It has been estimated that the number of worshippers visiting Tirupati is almost 1 lakh daily and the number goes up to 5 lakhs if there is any special occasions, like the Brahmotsavam. It is calculated that the place sees almost 3 to 4 Crore worshippers annually. Devotees of Lord Vishnu believe that the shrine is one of the 108 sacred places in India.
It is believed that Lord Kubera, after his wedding with Padmavati, donated a huge sum to Lord Venkateswara. So as to pay back this sum, devotees put money in Lord Vishnu’s Hundi kept in the temple.
The History behind the Temple.
The shrine and Tirupati became wealthy under the rule of emperors of Vijayanagara. It is said that they donated gold and valuable stones to the famous shrine. It was at the time of Krishnadevaraya that the temple shrine was coated with gold. Some years after, Raghoji Bhonsle started the administrative committee to manage the temple.
The 7 Holy Hills.
There are seven hills in Tirupati, which are called Saptarishi or Saptagiri. The Lord got the name of Saptagirinivasa from the names of hills.
The 7 holy hills are supposed to be home to different gods. The hills are Vrushabadri – the abode of Nandi (vehicle of Lord Shiva), Neeladri – abode of Neela Devi, Anjanadri – abode of Hanuman, Garudadri – hill of Garuda who is the vehicle of Vishnu, Seshadri – abode of Sesha (the servant of Vishnu), Narayanadri – the abode of Lord Vishnu and Venkatadri – abode of Venkateswara.
Why Offering Hair at Tirupati is Famous?.
People believe that a small part of Lord Vishnu’s head became hairless when a shepherd hit him. Neela Devi gave her hair when she observed that Vishnu lost his hair. Lord Vishnu gave his word to Goddess Neela that his devotees will give their hair to her as a respect to her good act. That’s how the ritual of tonsuring the head started, which is still being continued to this day by worshippers. People believe that Goddess Neela accepts the offering from them.
As there are more followers of Vaishnavism, the people of Tirupati…