After the Mahabharata war, the land of Thondaimandalam was ruled by Akasha Raja, whose capital was situated at Narayanapuram, near the Venkatachala hill range. As he was childless, he decided to perform a great sacrifice and, when the land was ploughed for the sacrifice, a thousand-petalled lotus containing a baby was discovered. She was, an incarnation of Goddess Lakshmi and was named Padmavati, as she was born in a lotus.
The baby grew up into a beautiful young girl. One day, sage Narada appeared in court, read her palm and predicted that she would be the bride of Vishnu. The same day, Venkateshwara was chasing a wild elephant in the Venkatachala forest, and followed it into the royal garden where he met Padmavati, who fell in love with him. He returned home and enlightened Vakulamalika about his past birth as Rama and Lakshmi’s as Sita, and how they would both be united in Kali yuga as Srinivasa and Padmavati.
Vakulamalika was keen on seeing Vishnu as a Kalyanamurti, and immediately offered to leave for Akasha Raja’s city, and arrange.the sacred marriage alliance.Crossing the river Swarnamukhi, she reached the Shiva temple where she learned of Padmavati’s encounter with a handsome young man. Vakulamalika requested for an audience with Padmavati’s mother, Dharunidevi. Meanwhile, Venkateshwara disguised himself as a female Pulinda astrologer and entered the city, announcing her sooth-saying abilities.
The astrologer then informed queen Dharunidevi that Padmavati, her daughter, had fallen in love with a handsome young man who was Srinivasa, the Lord of Venkatachala. She should be married to him immediately, or would collapse in three days. Also, as proof, an old woman would soon arrive to discuss the marriage, he told the queen, and left.As predicted, Vakulamalika soon approached the queen for the hand of Padmavati for Srinivasa. Dharunidevi, discussed the subject with the king and the royal couple announced their approval. Sages Brihaspati and Shuka fixed up the auspicious time for the wedding and predicted auspiciousness and happiness for the young couple and the world through this marriage.
All the gods and the sages arrived at Venkatachala to witness the marriage. Vishwakarma, the divine architect, constructed a beautiful city on the hill and Lord Indra a beautiful mandapa (pavilion) for the wedding ceremony.As the Goddess Lakshmi had left him, Venkateshwara had no money to perform his wedding. So Venkateshwara took a loan from Kubera, the God of Wealth, promising to repay him within a thousand years. To help him repay his dues, pilgrims still shower him with money. By helping their Lord, the devotees believe that their Lord will help them in return.
Invitations to the wedding were sent to all the inhabitants of the fourteen worlds, the Gods, Goddesses and the celestial beings. It was to be a grand affair, and all the celestials, accompanied by the apsaras, gandharvas and kinnaras descended on earth to perform the wedding of Venkateshwara and Padmavati.Then, riding his eagle-vehicle Garuda, Venkateshwara set out in a glorious procession to Narayanapuram, accompanied by Lord Shiva on his bull and the other deities on their vehicles, preceded by the divine dancers and musicians, the Gandharvas and Apsaras, and followed by musical bands, while sages and seers recited the Vedas. As they passed the hermitage of Sukha Maharishi, the sage sang in wonder at the fantastic procession.
He invited Venkateshwara to come in and accept his offering of food. In return, the sage was asked how he expected to feed the vast procession. The sage replied that if he could satisfy the Lord, everyone else would automatically be satisfied. Pleased by the sage’s devotion, Venkateshwara entered the hermitage and accepted his offering of fruits. And all the processionists had a strange feeling of having had a good feast, without having eaten a single morsel of food.
They soon arrived at Narayanapuram where they were received by King Akasha Raja with music, flowers and sandalwood paste. Riding an elephant, Venkateshwara entered the marriage hall where the wedding was performed according to Vedic rites by the sages Vashishtha and Brihaspati. Then, to the chanting of Vedic hymns by the sages and the singing of auspicious songs by the women, Srinivasa tied the mangala sutra around the neck of Padmavati, and the celestials rained flowers on the holy couple.
Later, Lakshmi, the consort of Vishnu, also joined Venkateshwara on the hill. The Lord told her of his debt, to be paid with interest, to Kubera. To help him, she should enrich his devotees who would give him contributions of money and wealth. This would help him redeem his debt. Lakshmi agreed, and returned to live in his heart, whence his name Srinivasa, or the dwelling place of Sri or Lakshmi.That is whv pilgrims offer money and precious jewels to Srinivasa, to help him pay off his debt to Kubera and, in return, earn great merit.