LORD BALAJI TEMPLE HISTORYVishnu in the form of Lord Venkateshwara at Tirumala Venkateshwara (Sanskrit & Telugu), also known as Venkatachalapathy or Srinivasa or Balaji, is the supreme God believed to be a form of the Hindu Deity Lord Vishnu. He appeared in this Yuga Kali Yuga for saving the people who have fallen deeply and are deluded in three modes of material nature. Lord Venkateshwara means supreme God who destroys the sins of the people in this material world ‘ven+kata+eshwara=sins+destroyer+supremegod’).
He is Vishnu, who is transcendental to the material energy, Vishnu does not have direct contact with material people, and therefore yogis carry out severe penances to have a vision of Vishnu’s lotus feet. How ever, in the kali yuga people have fallen to the point that they have even lost themselves due to ignorance in bodily consciousness. Lord Vishnu out of love towards his devotees therefore incarnated as Venkateshwara. The exact period in which the temple was founded is not known, and tradition has it that the temple is Swayambhustala, meaning that it came into existence on its own without anyone constructing it. According to folk legends, there was a huge anthill at Tirupati.
A farmer heard a voice from the heavens asking him to feed the ants. By chance the local king heard the voice and began supplying milk for the ants himself. His compassion resulted in the liquid uncovering a magnificent idol of Lord Venkateshwara hidden beneath the anthill. According to some evidence the history of the temple dates back almost 2,000 years. In ancient times, a queen called Samavai, belonging to the Pallava dynasty (614 AD), is said to have consecrated the first silver image here. The temple is also mentioned in Sangam poetry (500 BC – 2000 AD). Numerous temple inscriptions from the 9th century record details of the temple and contributions made by both Pallavas and Chola Kings. It is believed that originally there was only one shrine at Tirumala. When the Vaishnavite saint, Ramanuja, visited Andhra in the 12th century, the temple at Tirupathi was built.
The Chola period saw the temple complex prosper and expand further. In 1517, Krishnadevaraya, on one of his many visits to the temple, donated gold and jewels enabling the Vimana (inner shrine) roofing to be gilded. The Maratha general Raghoji Bhonsle visited the temple and set up a permanent administration for the conduct of worship in the temple. Among the later rulers who endowed large benefactions were the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal. In 1843, with the coming of the East India Company, the administration of the Shri Venkateshwara temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala as Vicaranakarta for nearly a century until 1933, when the temple was under the administrative charge of the mahants.
The Madras legislature passed a special act in 1933 whereby the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was invested with powers of administration and control through a commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. A Ryot Advisory Council was formed for the management of the estates of the TTD, and was assisted by a Religious Advisory Council with regard to religious matters. Adi Sankaracharya came to Tirumala and placed Sri Chakra at the lotus feet of Lord Venkateshwara and sung the famous song “Bhaja Govindam”. According to various verses from the Puranas and other text; Lord Venkateshwara is the supreme God or Vishnu, Narayana or Brahman of this Kali Yuga. Lord Venkateshwara has His holy abode in the Venkatam hills (the hills are more often referred to as ThiruVenkatam) near Tirupathi. Thus, the main temple of Lord Venkateshwara is the Tirumala Venkateshwara Temple.
The Tirumala temple, where He is the presiding deity, is believed to be the richest of all the temples in the world. The temple is in southern India Andhra Pradesh in Chittoor district. The presence of seven hills influenced alternate names for the deity: Edukondalavadu in Telugu and as Ezhumalaiyan in Tamil both of which mean “Lord of the Seven Hills”. He is also known as Maal, ThiruMaal, Manivannan, Balaji (though this is a more recent name), Srinivasa, Venkatesha, Venkatanatha, Thiruvengadam Udaiyaan, Tiruvengadattaan and by many other names. He is also worshiped with the name Tirupati Thimmappa all over Karnataka by traditionally Shiva-worshipping communities. In Hinduism, Venkateshwara (also spelled as Venkateshwer or Venkatachalapathi) is a much-worshipped form of Vishnu. He is also known as Balaji or Lord Venkateshwara.
He is also worshiped with the name Tirupati Thimmappa all over Karnataka by traditionally Shiva worshipping communities. Vishnu, in the form of Venkateshwara, is much worshipped at Tirupati temple. Venkateshwara is the presiding deity at the Tirumala temple complex, believed to be the richest of all the Hindu shrines in the world. The temple is situated in southern Andhra Pradesh in Chittoor district. It is around 120 km away from Chennai. The presence of seven hills influenced alternate names for the deity: Edukondalavadu in Telugu and as Ezhumalaiyan in Tamil both of which mean Lord of the Seven Hills. In iconographic depictions, Lord Venkateswara’s eys are covered, because it is said, that his gaze is so intense, it would scorch the universe