Sri Balaji Temple is a landmark Vaishnavite temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateswara, an incarnation of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam.
The temple is also known by other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple. Venkateswara is known by many other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
Some of the facts about Tirumala Balaji Temple are
1. This temple holds immense significance for people belonging to Hinduism. According to Hinduism, there is a total of 8 Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and The Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of them.
It is also regarded as one of the 106 Divya Desam or Vishnu Temples ( Mentioned by Tamil Azhwar saints ) that are located within the earthly realms.
2. Lord Vishnu is worshiped six times a day as per the Vaikhanasa traditions. The six Aradhana’s are known are UshaKala, Prathakala, Madhyanika, Aparahana, SandhyaKala and Ardharatri Aradhana.
3. This view of Tirumala hills from down in Tirupati.
4. Tirupathi laddu has a GI Patent making it arguably the first offering at a place of worship anywhere in the world to be recognized as an intellectual property (IP)—in this case, of the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), a trust that manages the temple at Tirupati.
The GI status is granted to identify a product as having a specific provenance, and with a certain quality or reputation associated with that origin. Kashmir pashmina, Darjeeling tea, and Kancheepuram silk have all been granted GIs.
5. Oil lamps are used in worshipping Lord Balaji. These oil lamps are placed in front of the idol of the lord. The amazing thing is that these lamps never get put off.
No one knows the time when these lamps were lit up for the first time. It seems that these were lit up thousands of years ago and will remain the same forever.
6. The Arch at the entrance of Tirumala Hills, which resembles the hood of a serpent is considered unique in the world. It is said that the main deity in Tirumala temple is of the same height as the height of the Arch.
Lord Vishnu is said to have put his first foot down at a place called Padalu, which is the highest point of Tirumala hills, the Second step at the location of the arch and the next step is stated to have been placed where his idol is now worshipped in the temple at Tirumala.
7. The Idol of Balaji is adorned with Pachai Karpooram, from Cinnamomum camphora, which is a highly volatile substance, daily. If applied to a stone, it will form Cracks. But not so in Lord Balaji’s case.
8. Lord Venkateshwara idol appears to be standing at the center of the Garba Gudi. But actually, Lord Vishnu stands at the right side corner of the Garba Gudi. This can be noticed from standing outside.
9. In 1800, the temple was said to be closed for 12 years. One King is said to have punished. 12 people (who committed some crime) by killing them and hanging them on the walls of the temple. They say that it was at this time that Vimana Venkateshwara Swamy appeared..!
10. Tirupati Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple, the world’s richest Hindu temple managed by the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) board/trust
11.Real hair of Balaji
The hair worn by Lord Balaji is silky, smooth, tangle-free, and absolutely real. The story behind those faultless locks goes like this – Lord Balaji, during his regime on earth, lost some of his hair in an unexpected mishap.
A Gandharva Princess named Neela Devi quickly took note of this incident and cut a portion of her glorious mane. She offered her chopped locks humbly to the deity and requested him to plant them on his head. Pleased with her devotion, the god accepted the kind offering and promised that whoever visits his shrine and sacrifices his/her hair at his feet will be blessed. Ever since it has been a custom among devotees to shave their head off in the temple before or after their desires are fulfilled.
12. The Garuda Hill in Tirumala, the abode of Lord Venkateswara, features a natural rock formation that is in the form of Garuda (the eagle), Incidentally, it turns out that Garuda is also the vehicle of Lord Venkateswara.
13. There are about 1180 stone engravings in the temple at the Seven Hills.Of these 236 belongs to the regime periods of the kings of Pallava/Chola/Pandias, 169 belongs to the Chalukya Kings dynasty, 229 belongs to the period of King Kishna Deva Rayar, 251 belongs to the Achchutha Rayar period,147 belongs to the Sadasiva Rayar, 139 belongs to the period of kings of Kondoi Veedu Right from the period of Pallava king Nandivarman that is from the year 830 AD to 1909 AD .
14. At the entrance of the main door, to the right side, a stick which was used by Ananthaalvar to hit Venkateshwara Swamy is present. When this stick was used to hit the ‘small boy’ Venkateshwara, his chin was hurt. Since then, the practice and tradition of applying Sandalwood paste on Swamy’s chin began.
15. It remains a miracle that there is real hair on the main idol of Venkateswara Swamy. The authorities say that this hair never tangles and is silky smooth always.
16. The flowers used in the sanctum will be never brought out of the sanctum. These flowers are left (facing forward and leaving behind) in a small waterfall that exists behind the idol of the Swamy.