Seven Hills of Tirumala Tirupathi Balaji

The Tirumala Hills are the abode of Lord Venkateswara, who is the supreme deity of Hindus situated in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh state, India. It is holy pilgrimage of Vaishnavaites and one among the 108 Divya Desams. It is situated 3200 ft above sea level, around 10.33 sq miles in area, and 90 miles away from Chennai. Tirumala Tirupathi was named as Bhuloka Vaikuntham or Kaliyuga Vaikuntam by Sri Ramanujacharya, who himself is an incarnation of Adisesha. The Seven Hills are so sacred that Sri Ramanujacharya refused to put his feet on these hills saying that these seven hills are Seven Heads of Serpent Adisesha on which Lord Himself resides as Shri Tirumala Venkateshwara Swamy
 
Sri Ramanujacharya Incarnation of Adisesha
 
Sri Ramanujacharya Incarnation of Adisesha
 
Lord Vishnu is often depicted as resting on Adisesha. Adisesha is an ardent servant and an incarnation of Lord Vishnu, who had descended to Earth in two human forms or avatars: as Lakshmana- Brother of Rama; and Balarama- Brother of Krishna. All these Seven Hills are prehistoric and have the World’s most Ancient Natural Rock Archway. Several Investigations where conducted about the age of these Hills by the Geologists, and the information given by them tallies exactly as said in Hindu Puranas. Today they are dated 2100 Million years old. The Lord Venkateshwara Temple in Tirumala attracts approximately 75,000 pilgrims every day. 
 
Natural Arch on Tirumala Hills
 
Natural Arch on Tirumala Hills
 
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of this Lord in Tirumala. The main idol of Lord Venkateshwara resides in the Sanctum Sanctorum, which is also known as the Garbha Griha. The idol stands majestically to a height of 8 ft, in the centre of the sanctum beneath a gold guilded dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divay Vimana. According to the legends, the idol of Mulabera is the exquisitely wrought idol and believed to be Swayambhu (self manifested). The fact lies that, the idol in this shrine is not sculpted or installed by any human being. According to one legend, the temple having an Idol of Lord Venkateswara, is believed to remain here for the entire duration of the present Kaliyuga.
 
Lord Venkateshwara on Venkatadri Hill inside of Garbha Griha
 
Lord Venkateshwara on Venkatadri Hill inside of Garbha Griha
 
Vimana Venkateshwara on Golden Gopuram
 
Vimana Venkateshwara on Golden Gopuram
 
Dwajasthanbham inside Tirumala Balaji Temple
 
Dwajasthanbham inside Tirumala Balaji Temple
 
There have been several instances and mentions of this sacred shrine of Tirumala, which is made up of seven peaks and consists of various theerthams present on it well described in many Holy Scriptures or Puranas related to Lord Vishnu, Lord Shiva and Lord Brahma. The true legend behind this holy shrine can be referred in these Hindu texts. The Hindu Mythology consists of total 18 puranas. They are as follows:
 
Different Puranas of Lord Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu
 
Different Puranas of Lord Shiva, Brahma and Vishnu
 
There are 6 puranas of Lord Vishnu (Sattva Guna): Vishnu Purana, Naradiya Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Varaha Purana and Bhagavata Purana.
There are 6 puranas of Lord Shiva (Tamo Guna): Matsya Purana, Kurma Purana, Linga Purana, Shiva Purana, Skanda Purana and Agni Purana.
 
Lord Vishnu as Fish Rescuing Saptarishi and Manu from Great Deluge
 
Lord Vishnu as Fish Rescuing Saptarishi and Manu from Great Deluge
 
Tirumala is comprised of holy seven peaks, which represent the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus also known as Seshachalam Hills. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. It is meant auspicious to first worship the lotus feet of Lord Venkateswara in Alipiri, before starting spiritual journey of climbing the steps of sacred seven hills in Tirupathi to reach Him. Lord Venkateswara is the supreme Avatar of Lord Vishnu in this Kaliyuga as per Vedas, Puranas and Hindu Dharma. 
 
Route Map of Alipiri Footpath
 
Route Map of Alipiri Footpath
 
 
These Seven Hills or Edu Kondalu are also known as Saptagirulu which are very auspicious, having great history and significane each narrating a different story. According to Hindu Epics Varaha Purana, Padma Purana etc. the Greatness of Tirumala is described as follows:
 
90 Degrees Tilited View of Tirupathi Hills
 
90 Degrees Tilited View of Tirupathi Hills
 
Legend and Significance of Seven Hills:
 
Once the Lord Venkateswara asked Sage Narada to tell about a suitable place on Earth where He could abide during the difficult period of Kaliyuga (The Iron Age, when people of Earth would forget Spiritual values). Upon that Sage Narada suggested a place, south of India, which was situated by the banks of River Svarnamukhi. The Lord was pleased. Since the Lord was about to settle on Earth for the period that Kaliyuga was to last, a part of Heaven was  brought down, which is today known as Tirumala. Hence Adhisesha has always been with Lord Vishnu in all his avatars as Balarama with Krishna, as Lakshmana with Rama etc, and took the form of one of the 7 hills of Tirumala.
 
Straight View of Tirupathi Hills
 
Straight View of Tirupathi Hills
 
1)Garudadri: It is the White Boar Incarnation of the Lord wghich had saved the Earth from the clutches of the demon Hiranyaksha. Mother Earth was pleased with Her Lord and begged Him to live with Her. Then the Lord asked Garuda, to bring down a beautiful hill from Heaven. That Hill is called as Garudadri. It is believed from ancient times that Lord Varaha lives on Tirumala near the Western bank of Swami Pushkarini till today. Hence, called as Varaaha Pushkarini.
 
2)Vrishabhadri: There was a demon called Vrishabasura, who had a very strange way of doing penance. He would offer his head along with a flower to the Lord. By God's Grace the severed head would join the body after every day's ritual. When Vrishaabha died he requested the Lord that a hill be called by his name in remembrance of the fact that he had lived and attained salvation on that hill. The Lord granted his wish and the hill is known as Vrishabaadri.
 
3)Anjanadri: Kesari was an Asura King. He did penance for many years to obtain a son who would be immortal. Lord Shiva appeared before him, and said:  "You are not fortunate enough to have an immortal son, but your wish will be fulfilled through your daughter". Kesari's daughter Anjani did penance for many years and was blessed with Hanuman as a son. Hanuman is an incarnation of Lord Shiva. Hanuman received the boon of immortality from Mother Mahalakshmi Herself. Brahma named the hill after Anjani as Anjanaadri.
 
4)Neeladri: First devotee who gave her hair to god is Neeladevi. Lord Srinivasa named this hill by her name as Neeladri. When Lord Srinivasa was hit by a Shepard on his head, a small portion of his scalp becomes bald. There is no hair growth over that place and this was noticed by Gandharva princess, Neeladevi. She felt such a handsome face should not have any defect. Immediately she cuts a portion of her hair and implants it on his scalp with her powers. As hair is considered as the beautiful aspect of women, Lord Srinivasa notices her sacrifice and he said all the hair given to him by devotees in Tirupathi belongs to Neeladevi. Giving our hair to god is the symbol of leaving our ego. The word “Talanelalu” is also came from her name. Many devotees give their hair to Lord Balaji. The daily quantity of hair collected is over one ton. This hair is sold by the temple organization by auction.
 
5)Seshadri: The hill Seshaadri is the formation of Adhisesha himself. Adhisesha is the cobra on which Lord Vishnu reclines. There was an ego tussle for supremacy by Adhisesha and 'Vayu' (Wind). Vayu felt that he was as omnipresent as the Lord. As they both fought, Narada played some melodious notes. Adhisesha raised one of his hoods. Vayu seized the opportunity, and blew with such a force that Adhisesha fell like a meteor upon the earth. Now Vayu was not elated about his victory. He was in fact remorseful as he had deprived the Lord of His couch. Vayu asked Adhisesha to forgive him and to return to Heaven. The latter refused saying that whatever transpires is the will of the Lord. The Lord agreed. He said that Adhisesha would take the form of a hill, which would be called Sheshachala or Sheshaadri, in a place where He (The Lord) was to reside till the end of the Age of kali (Kalyug).
 
6)Venkatadri: The hill Venkatadri got its name form 'Ven' which in Sanskrit means 'sin'. And 'Kata' which means that which burns. So Venkatadri means a place which will burn all sins. The Venkatadri Hill (853 m) is part of the Seshachalam Hills. Madhava, a sinner suffering from leprosy was cured as he joined pilgrims going to Tirumala on a pilgrimage. The pilgrims were singing 'Govinda Govinda!' as they moved on their way. These words were like magic to Madhava's soul. He felt a burning sensation and he realised that the dreaded disease had left him.
 
Brahma-the Creator said the following to Madhava:
 
"You are the cause for the people to know that whoever steps upon this hill with devotion, it will burn away all sins and imperfections! henceforth this hill will be called Venkatadri in your honour!"
 
7)Narayanadri: This hill is called Narayanadri in honour of Narayanarishi. Many names were given to these hills by various devotees. Thus it may be called 'Gnanaadri' because it gives divine knowledge or/and Chitaamani because it fulfills devotees' desires.
 
How to Reach: Tirumala is about 435 km from the state capital Vijayawada, 138 km from Chennai, and 291 km from Bangalore. Tirumala is easily accessible by Air, Road and Trains which are well connected to Tirupathi from all parts of the country.
 
 
 
Image Courtesy: en.wikipedia.org, travelwithgs.blogspot.in, ramanan50.wordpress.com, yatraklick.blogspot.com, lordtirupathi.blogspot.in, www.plesantlife.com, surendrapuri.in

 

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    Tirumala

    Tirupathi, Andhra Pradesh - 517504
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