Tonsure and Tirumala go together. Devotees vow and offer their hair to the Lord – a symbolic sacrifice of the ego. Tonsure is done at Kalyana Katta, a massive four floor building operating round the clock. Fee for tonsure near the cottages is Rs.10/- per head. Tonsure is followed by a holy dip in the Pushkarini and the devotees then proceed to the Temple for darshan.
Tonsuring (Getting your head shaved)
The objective behind tonsuring (shaving one’s head for the Lord) is to demonstrate that he/she completely surrenders his/her ego at the feet of the Lord. Pilgrims can have their heads tonsured at the Kalyanakatta (opposite the Annanadanam Complex). There are seventeen sub-centers for tonsuring. Pilgrims can also request to be tonsured at the cottages where they are staying.
Walking up the Hills
Many pilgrims walk up the hills to fulfill vows they have taken, for which Tirumala – Tirupati Devsthanam has constructed a footpath from Alipiri to Tirumala. It takes approximately two and a half hours to walk up the hill.
Angapradakshinam is when pilgrims lie prostrate, and then roll around the temple, chanting the Lord’s name. The objective is to show their devotion to the Lord, and thank Him for protecting them. It is performed in the Vimana Pradakshinam, one of the pathways around the temple. Pilgrims who wish to undertake the Angapradakshinam have to take a dip in the Swami Pushkarini, and reach the Main Temple Complex by 0200 hrs (through a special queue that starts from the PPC Sheds). Angapradakshinam is generally restricted to the weekends (Saturdays and Sundays). It is also restricted when there is heavy in flux of pilgrims.
Tulabharam is offering one’s weight in coins or other items such as sugar, candy according to one’s vows to the Lord. Tulabharam is generally performed for children. Pilgrims can weigh their offerings in the temple complex. The coins can be deposited in the temple hundi and other items can be handed over to the temple authorities present. The queue for Tulabharam is the regular queue that starts from the Vaikuntham Queue Complex or PC Queue Complex.
Niluvudopidi Niluvudopidi is offering to the Lord the ornaments, etc., that one is wearing when one takes the vow. The objective is to sacrifice one’s belongings to the Lord, with the philosophy ‘what is mine is the Lord’s’.