Tirupati Balaji Temple is one of the most revered shrines in India. The temple is dedicated to Sri Venkateshwara, a form of Lord Vishnu. It is situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati, in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. Legend says that Lord Vishnu sent this avatar to save mankind from the troubles and worries of Kali Yuga; which is also one of the reasons why the temple goes by the name of Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam.
Around 75,000 to 90,000 pilgrims visit the temple daily and on any auspicious occasions or festivals, the number shoots up to around 5,00,000 making it the most-visited holy place in the world. It was reported that about 27.3 million pilgrims visited the temple in 2016. Tirupati Balaji temple is also the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth. It receives offerings of around 22.5 million per day. There are multiple legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has a murti (deity) of Sri Venkateswara, and it is believed that the murti shall remain there for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga.
10 extremely interesting and lesser-known facts about Tirupati Balaji Temple
- The moist back of the idol is something that leaves all the visitors curious. It is said that every morning after the Abhishekam, the idol sweats and the sweat is wiped with a silk cloth by the priest.
- The light of the lamp placed before the idol of the Lord never extinguishes. Nobody knows when the lamp was lit but it’s believed that it had been burning for a thousand years and like an ardent worshipper’s devotion, it will never be extinguished.
- The main idol of Sri Venkateshwara is alive! People believe it because if you keep your ear close to the idol’s back, you will hear the sound of enormous seas waves.
- From outside, the idol appears to be standing in the middle of the sanctum to the devotees but if you look minutely, you can observe that the idol is actually placed slightly towards the right-hand corner of the Garba Gudi.
- The idol of the deity has real hair and they never get intertwined. Legend says that Gardhavan princess gave her hair to Lord Vishnu since he lost some of his hair when he was hit by a shepherd.
- The secret village from where the garlands, milk, flowers, butter, and holy leaves offered to Balaji comes from is a big mystery. Nobody is allowed to enter or visit the temple except the residents. The only information the outsiders have about this village is that it is located somewhere around 20 km away from the temple.
- It is literally said that Goddess Laxmi resides in the heart of Balaji. The priests in Tirupati Balaji temple say that during Nija Roopa Darshanam, the idol is decorated with white wood paste that happens every Thursday. After the paste is removed, one can see the imprint of Goddess Laxmi there.
- At the main gate of the temple (Mahadwaram), one could find a stick. According to the legend, Ananthalwar used the stick to beat Swami when they were kids. One day, he hit Swami on his chin and blood oozed out. Since then the ritual of applying Chandan on Swami’s chin came into existence.
- The idol of the deity is stronger than any other material. Even after the application of Green Camphor, which is known as the strongest material that can initiate a crack in any stone, the idol of Swami remained unaffected.
- Tirumala Sri Venkateswara Temple is considered as a paradise of festivals. 433 festivals are celebrated here in 365 days of a year suiting the title “Nitya Kalyanam Paccha Toranam” where every day is a festival.
The faith and belief people have for Lord Vishnu or Swami is an unbelievable sight and quite fascinating too. Displaying an appealing sight of incredible India, a visit to Tirupati Balaji temple is a must during your trip to this wonderland.