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Tirupati Located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, Tirupati is a temple town that is revered by Hindus. Each year millions of devotees and believers come to the town to pay homage at the Sri Venkateswara Temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu. This amazing temple is located on top of the Tirumala Hill, while the town of Tirupati is situated at the foot of the hill.
Tirupati is a fascinating town for people, who want to find out more about Hinduism, or those, who want to exercise their religious beliefs. The numerous temples in the town and its vicinity give a tranquil and serene ambience to Tirupati. Waking up to the temple bells and hearing the chanting of the temple priests and devotees can be a rejuvenating experience that can soothe the mind and soul. The town is also famous for its wooden toys, which are made from a type of red wood.
Goddess Alamelumanga Temple
This temple is about 5 kilometres from the town of Tirupati. Sri Padmavathi Ammavari Temple is dedicated to Goddess Padmavathi, who was the consort of Lord Venketswara. The temple was constructed during the reign of King Thondaman Chakravarthy. It is claimed that worshippers used to first visit this temple and pay homage to Goddess Padmavathi before going to the Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati. Padmavathi was the daughter of Akasha Raja of Thondamandalam. It is believed that after performing oblation to the Gods, he found a baby girl resting on a lotus and named her Padmavathi. This girl went on to marry Lord Venkateswara. Goddess Padmavathi also is known as Alamelu Manga, which means an inexhaustible source of compassion and love.
Tirumala Venkateswara Swamy Temple
The king of all temples lies in Tirupati, which is located in the Chittoor District. The town is located at the foothills of Tirumala Hills, which is home to one of the most ancient and holy temples of India. This temple attracts millions of devotees each year and is called Sri Venkateswara Temple. It is claimed that the temple get more pilgrims than Mecca and Jerusalem. Tirupati is about 525 kilometres from Hyderabad and is surrounded by seven panoramic hills, which are home to perennial waterfalls, lush valleys and verdant forests. Besides the Sri Venkateswara Temple, other shrines located in the region include the Sri Govindrajaswamy Temple, Sri Kondandaramaswami Temple, Sri Kapileswaraswami Temple and the Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple.
The village of Kanipakam is located in Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, on the banks of Bahuda River. This village is famous for its Lord Ganesha temple, which is known as Kanipakam Vinayaka Temple. According to archaeological and historical evidence, the temple was built in the early part of the 11th century CE by King Kulothunga Chola I and was expanded subsequently by the kings of the Vijayanagar Dynasty. Local legend claims that the idol of Lord Ganesha housed in the temple grows continuously. Another local legend claims that the temple was constructed after a self-manifested idol of Lord Vinayaka made an appearance in the local well waters. Even today, the idol is housed in this well and the water in the well is perennial. During the rainy season, the holy water from the well overflows.
Srikalahasti is located close to Tirupati, on the banks of Swarnamukhi River. This town is considered to be one of the important sites for ancient Shiva temple. The Srikalahasti Temple is situated between the banks of the river and the foot of the neighbouring hills and is also referred to as Dakshina Kailasam. The temple has three majestic towers, which can leave visitors spellbound with the ornate and beautiful architecture. The original temple was constructed during the Pallava Dynasty and the temple that visitors see today was built in the 11th century during the reign of the Chola Dynasty. The massive 100-pillared mandapam was constructed in the 16th century by Krishnadevaraya.
This fort was built on a massive rock in 1000 AD. It is located at a height of 183 metres and is a testimony of the outstanding architectural expertise that prevalent during the Vijayanagar Empire. The exquisite stucco work, natural light and ventilation is the hallmark of this fort. The fort hosts a daily sound and light show twice a day in English and Telugu which attracts many visitors. The collection of the royal family displayed in Raja Mahal is sufficient to leave visitors spellbound. There is a Hanuman Temple dominating the entrance of the fort and thereafter there are bastions leading up to the Mahals. These bastions are made from granite and mortar and have beautiful carved pillars showing humans and lions.
Horsley Hills is a beautiful and scenic hill station in the state of Andhra Pradesh. Located at an altitude of 4,100 feet, Horsley Hills is about 144 kilometres from Tirupati and offers a wonderful escape. The road leading to the town is extremely scenic and panoramic, with Mahogany, Jacaranda, Sandalwood, Gulmohar and Eucalyptus trees lining the road in the form of a dense and verdant forest.The town is a paradise for adventure sports lovers, as they can experience the thrills of zorbing, rappelling, rock climbing and trekking. Horsley Hills is the perfect destination to commune with nature and lose oneself to the untouched natural beauty that Mother Nature has bestowed on this town.
Swami Pushikarini is the name of the lake that is located within the temple premises of Sri Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati. This lake has great religious importance, as the devotees believe that it is the holy Lake of Vaikuntha, where Lord Vishnu took a bath along with his wife. It is believed that Garuda, the mount of Lord Vishnu, brought the water to this site. Today, people bath in the holy lake to cleanse their sins and evils. The Swami Pushikarini is a natural freshwater spring lake and is spread over an area of 1.5 acres. It has a madapam in the centre which was constructed by Saluva King Narasimha Raya in 1468. The steps leading to the mandapam were built by saint-poet Tallapaka Annamacharya.
Located on the hill of Tirumala, near the temple of Sri Venkateswara is a beautiful waterfall, which has been there since time immemorial. The devotees believe that the water of the cascade flows from the feet of Lord Vishnu. The Akasa Ganga waterfalls are considered holy because the water is used for the daily maintenance of the temples and shrines. The devotees believe that the waters of the cascade is as holy as the waters of the Ganga and can be seen sprinkling it over their heads as an act to absolve their sins. The surroundings around the waterfalls are beautiful and spellbinding. There is a walkway leading to the falls and one can find a beautiful idol of Lord Vishnu with Sridevi and Bhudevi on either side. All the three idols have a divine glow that attracts passerbys, who stop there to offer prayers before proceeding to Akasa Ganga.
The village of Tallapaka is located in the Kadapa District. The village is about 48 kilometres from the city of Kadapa and 469 kilometres from Hyderabad. It is known across Andhra Pradesh and rest of Indian for being the birthplace of the noted carnatic music composer, Annamacharya. Annamacharya was known for composing devotional songs and the village has built a Dhyana Mandiram as homage to the composer, who lived during the 15th century. The main attraction in the village is the beautiful temple of Sudarashanachakra, which is abode to the idols of Lord Vishnu and Saint Gopalkrishna. The village also is home to a temple dedicated to Lord Hanuman and Lord Garuthmantha.
Temple of Kapila Theertham is located in the 50-mile radius of Tirumala and Tirupati. This temple is unique because unlike other temples in the area that are dedicated to Lord Vishnu, the Kapila Theertham is dedicated to Lord Shiva. The temple is located at the entrance of mountain cave on a steep and near-vertical slop of one of the Tirumala Hills. This is the spot where the Paapa Vinasanam Falls cascades down. At the entrance of the temple, there is a huge seated Nandi Bull, the faithful steed of Lord Shiva welcoming worshippers and devotees. Local legend claims that Saint Kapila Maharshi lived, meditated and worshipped Lord Shiva in the mountain cave and that is why it has been the named Kapila Theertham, where theertham stands for the holy lake formed by the waterfall.
The fortified town of Narayanavanam is located in the Chittoor District of Andhra Pradesh, about 35 kilometres from Tirupati. It used to be the capital of Karvetinagar Suryavanshi kingdom. The town is surrounded by mountains, giving it a peaceful and serene ambience. Narayanavanam is known for its ancient statues, which are collectively referred to as Akasha Maharaju Kota. The town is famous for its manufacture of shirts, handloom, lungis and churidhars. The town is home to the Sri Padmavathi Sametha Kalyana Venkateswara Swamy Temple and hence is considered holy by devotees. The local legend states that this was the site where Lord Venkateswara Swamy wedded Goddess Padmavathi, who was the daughter of King Akasaraju. While the wedding was going on, Padmavathi’s brother built two temples – one in Tirumala and one in Narayanavanam. This is one of the few temples in India where visitors can see both Venkateswara Swamy and Padmavathi enshrined in the same premises.
Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park
Sri Venkateswara Zoological Park is spread over an area of 5,500 acres and is located in Tirupati. It was established in September 1987 and is home to wide range of wildlife. The Park is unique because it is themed park. The theme of the park is based on Hindu mythology and Indian epics. There is a beautiful quote about God at the entrance of the Park that reads, ‘I am the eternal seed of all creation.’The zoo is divided into several sections and each one is named after mythical figures. For instance, the stump-tailed macaque enclosure is known as Angadha Dweepam; the baboon enclosure is called the Nala-Neela Dweepam and the leopard enclosure is named Bhagela Vanam. The most popular enclosure is the peafowl enclosure because of its proximity to the lush and well-landscaped lawns where visitors can relax.
Pre-historic Life Park
Most people associate Tirupati with temples, but it also is home to the Regional Science Centre, which is where the educative and marvellous Prehistoric Life Park is located. The Prehistoric Life Park takes visitors back in time and gives them a glimpse of the evolution of life on Earth. The Park starts with a display of prehistoric men, depicting the evolution of humans. Thereafter, visitors can see models of prehistoric creatures of all kinds, right from the wooly mammoth to different types of dinosaurs and even trilobites. All models have informative placards that tell visitors the name of the creature, the period when it lived, description of the anatomy, the diet and which parts of the world the creature’s fossils were discovered.
In eastern philosophy, water element has always been important for soothing the mind. When people venture into Sri Venkataswara Park, which is about 49 kilometres from the temple town of Tirupati, they will be able to witness one of the most amazing water elements – Talakona Waterfalls. Cascading down from a height of 272 feet, the area around the waterfalls is a haven for many plant species, some extremely rare. Locals claim that the waters of the cascade have healing properties and this attracts many people
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