Venkatadri, the abode of Lord Srinivasa is the most sacred place in this universe. It is said in several puranas that it is only with punya of several thousands births one will be able to step on this sacred mountain. Srinivasa, the Supreme Lord is affectionately called by devotees as lord of seven hills . The seven hills are Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. Venkatadri, the most serene place in this universe has several names… kanakadri, theerdadri, srisailam, chintamani, srigiri, seshachalam, venkatachalam, etc. A devotee is filled with infinite joy walking through these mountains and reaching the top of the hills. Once you go by walk, you feel like going by walk every time… such is the power of these hills… 2 the most picturesque surroundings take you to unknown worlds…. nature in it’s splendor… Venkatadri is very dear to Lord Srimannarayana.
The syllable’ vem ’ indicates amritha (nectar) and ‘ kata’ denotes aiswarya or prosperity. Thus venkatadri bestows a devotee with bliss, prosperity and ultimate happiness. Venkatadri is the first place in this universe. Lord Srimannarayana kills the demon Hiranakshya , saves this world in varaha avatar (white boar) . Lord brings up the world on his tusk. Venkatadri is the first place to come out of water and it is from this sacred hill that Lord Brahma started the whole creation at the behest of Lord Srimannarayana. Every devotee should visit Sri Varaha Swamy temple near the main temple in Thirumala. Lord Srimannarayana decided to descend on this hill from sri vaikuntham to save the people from miseries of kaliyug. As by then Sri Varaha Swamy is already on the hill, Lord requests him for some place on the hill.
Varaha Swamy accepts this request and grants Lord 100 feet place on the hill on the condition that first puja and naivedyam should be accorded to him and only then to Lord Srimannarayana… Lord Srinivasa happily accepts this and this custom is followed till today. It is the tradition of Thirumala that a devotee should first visit Lord Varaha Swamy’s temple 1Sri Srinivasa – Lord of Seven Hills Sri Srinivasa – Lord of Seven Hills before going into the main temple to visit Lord Balaji. It is only then that Lord Balaji is pleased. To strengthen the fact that it was all under water once upon a time, we can still see many plants on these hills which normally grow only under water elsewhere. We will not find them growing on the land anywhere else in this world except on Venkatadri.
Similarly many trees on these hills are brought by gods to this hill when all of them descended from celestial worlds to pray Lord Srimannarayana staying on the hill in the form of Srinivasa … It is because of the presence of these divine trees that the weather is very pleasant all through the year on these hills. Venkatadri is called by several names… seshadri because adisesha, the serpent king took the form of a hill… adisesha is the most ardent devotee of lord… garudadri because it is garuda (the eagle lord) who brought this hill from sri vaikuntham… as this hill happens to be the abode of Sri Mahalakshmi too, it called srisailam… ’sri ’ meaning Maha Lakshmi and ‘saila’ meaning hill… It is also called Narayanadri because once a Brahmin by name Narayana did tapas of Srimannarayana on this hill… vrishabhadri because a demon by name Vrishasura used to live on this hill troubling saints.
Lord Srimannarayana kills him on this hill in a fierce war… the battle went on for several days and finally the demon lost all his energies and recognizes him as none other than supreme Lord Srimannarayana himself… He then requests Supreme Lord that the hill be called by his name Vrishabhadri after his death… Lord, the most benevolent ,grants his request… Thus the hill is also called vrishabhadri. The stillness of the beautiful forest reverberates with chantings of govinda, govinda by devotees trekking the sacred hills by walk with great faith in Lord of seven hills Sri Venkateswara, the supreme power. Venkatadri is nothing but Lord Srimannarayana’s kreedadri (sporting place) of srivaikuntha brought to this earth by garuda.
It is resplendent with wonderful trees, plants and shrubs of wonderful scented flowers… Ever resounding with melody of singing birds… filled with delightful streamlets… Venkatadri is also called chintamani as it grants all desires of devotees… gnanadri because of it’s power of conferring enormous knowledge… kanakadri as the hill is nothing but kanaka (gold) itself… To ordinary mortals like us it is looking like a rocky mountain… But it is actually splendid gold…It is also known as simhachala as it is believed Lord Srimannarayana killed the demon Hiranyakasipa on this hill… anjanadri as Anjana Devi, mother of Lord Hanuman gave birth to him on this hill after doing tapas for several years…As we all know Lord Hanuman is of Siva amsa …observe this unique aspect…Anjana Devi did tapas on Srimannarayana’s Venkatadri and is blessed with a boy.
Sri Srinivasa – Lord of Seven Hills Sri Srinivasa – Lord of Seven Hills of Siva amsa…Vishnu and Siva are same… sivaya vishnuroopaya siva roopaya vishnave …Both are different tatwams of same supreme force…In fact another point worth mentioning here is none other than Lord MahaSiva Himself is the kshetra palaka of thirumala hills…Kshetra Palaka is the ruler or protector of the place. In the earlier days there used to be a big sphere shaped rock in the temple. It is believed to be Siva amsa. After closing the hills the temple archakas (priests) used to keep the keys on this rock. The rock used to go round the sanctum sanctorum protecting it. One day a small boy happens to come under spherical rock and gets wounded…then the archakas and temple officials shifted the rock to a far off place on the hill.
Special prayers are offered at this place even today on every Maha Sivarathri festival day… It is also called neeladri because once a demon by the name ‘neela’ was staying on the hills troubling the saints doing tapas. He was ultimately killed by lord Srimannarayana and the hill thereafter is called neeladri at the request of the demon.one more story states that a monkey king by name ‘neela’ was staying on this hill and hence the name neeladri. According to another story, a female devotee by name ‘ neelambari ’ was the first one to offer hair to Lord on this hill. So the name Neeladri. Perhaps it is due to this reason that tonsure ceremony is called talaneelalu in telugu. Tonsuring of head is an important custom in thirumala.
Everyday an estimated 5,000 devotees offer hair in Thirumala. It symbolizes the surrendering our ego before the Supreme Lord. Venkatadri’s glory can not be described fully by four faced Brahma or thousand eyed Indra or thousand hooded adisesha….such is the power of this hill that any good deed done on this hills bestows a person with thousand times more blessings. Lord Srinivasa is the antaryami of all of us and it is by serving him one gets eternal bliss… om namo venkatesaya…om namo srinivasaya…om namo narayanaya…