The Swami Pushkarini (The Sacred Temple Water Tank)
It is very usual and highly probable to find a water tank either just beside or nearby every Hindu temple constructed during the ancient and medieval times. The waters of the tank were strictly for temple purposes only – like for the God’s “bath” that is a ritual/worship, cleaning and washing the temples insides and outsides, for use inside the temples for drinking purposes (Not in Tirumala, though), kitchens (if any) and by large, by the folk that stay and live by the temple like the priests’ families and workers, for their daily uses. The water’s chief and famous uses are bathing and washing by the visiting pilgrims who take a dip or swim in it and, above all, for the temple’s special occasions when the divine images are taken in the temple boat, in the tank waters. The water in the Swami Pushkarini is absolutely NOT stagnant OR infected. It has a state-of-the-art recycling facility and water is treated before it gets into and recycled continuously. Swami Pushkarini was a pleasure tank of Sri Maha Vishnu in Vaikuntham, and was brought and set on Earth by Garuda, for the sport of Sri Venkateshwara. It is adjacent to the Sri Venkateshwara temple. A bath in the Swami Pushkarini is believed to clean pilgrims of their sins and bestow temporal prosperity. Pilgrims bath here before entering the main temple. A bath in the holy tank purifies one’s body and soul.
The Akashganga Waterfall
The Akashganga (Heavenly Ganges likened to The Milky Way OR heavenly river) waterfall is about 3 Kms north of the Tirumala temple. This is very famous for the prime reason is that its waters are used for The Lord’s bath every day. In the olden days, the priestess took turns to carry the water all the way from this part of jungle to the temple in the wee morning hours by the rough walk path that meanders thru the jungle even to this day. After the Tirumala Tirupati Devsthanam came into existence, water lines were laid into the temple and thus simplified! This is a beautiful place where the mountain stream gushes out in a deep but very well paved and accessible ravine. Water is procured from this place for Abhishekam. In rainy season Akashganga’s gushing waters provide a beautiful sight and a bath here at that time is really refreshing.
The Papa Vinashanam (cleanser of Sins)
About 5 Kms north of the Tirumala temple is a deep bowl formed by the surrounding hills that created a reservoir ages ago and many a mountain stream emptied into it. This came to be known as the Papavinashanam (The Cleanser of sins). Its waters were initially used for worshipping purposes but abandoned later because of the distance from the temple. It is still used though,for special occasions. To conserve water forever increasing number of pilgrims and therefore, the temple township, a dam was constructed across but the pilgrims, thus preserving the tradition, provided a bypass for bathing. It is believed that the holy waters of this place dissolve the sins of the devotees. Hence this place is known as Papavinashanam. A dam constructed here regulates the water flow.
The Great Geological Arch (Shila Thoranam)
During excavations in the 1980′s on a mound of earth in the jungles 1 km. North of the temple where it was believed that some information lied buried about the Lord’s transformation into rock, a very rare phenomenon of two different sets of rocks connected together in the form of a thin link was found. This formation is known to exist elsewhere only at the 4 fingers of Texas and somewhere in Australia. This is pretty small in size relatively but what makes it unique and astounding is that nowhere in rock formations known to exist on the Indian soil have been found to be of this type and also, the height of The Lord confirms exactly to the distance of the pinnacle of the arch from the foot of the same! Also, two other formations excavated along with resemble the celestial conch and the discus that are the Lord’s possessions. These have not been carved even remotely. They are formed naturally very mysterious indeed! This geological arch is a very rare spectacle in the world. This arch (older than the Jurassic age) is 25ft in length, l0ft in height. Pilgrims must make it a point to visit this wonder of the world during their Tirumala trip. No buses are available. A private vehicle or a 20-minute walk from Sri Varahaswamy Temple brings you here.
Sri Varahaswami Temple
The famous temple of Sri Varahaswami in Tirumala is to the north of the Sri Venkateshwara temple, on the banks of Swami Pushkarini. The presiding deity is Varaha Swami, an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in the form of a boar that was staying on the hills when The Lord descended unto earth. HE had to take permission from Lord Varaha to stay here and grant HIM (Lord Varaha), the privilege of first view by the visiting pilgrims and first Naivedyam (sacred offering of food to Lord for consecration) in return. Thus it is imperative that pilgrims visit Sri Varaha Swami first and The Lord, only later. According to legend, Tirumala was originally the Adi Varahakshetra (place belonging to Sri Adi Varahaswami). Lord Sri Venkateshwara took up residence here, with the permission of Sri Varahaswami. According to Brahmapurana, Naivedyam (food offered to God) should first be offered to Sri Varahaswami. Pilgrims should visit Sri Varahaswami temple prior to Sri Venkateshwara temple. According to Atri Samhita (Samurtarchanadhikara), Varaha Avatara is worshipped in three ways as Adi Varaha, Pralaya Varaha, and Yajna Varaha. The idol of Sri Varahaswami in Tirumala is that of Adi Varaha, as it resembles the description of the Adi Varaha Murti in Vaikhanasa Agama texts.
Sri Venkateshwara Temple:
The ancient and sacred temple of Sri Venkateshwara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatachala (Venkata Hill) of the Tirupati Hill, and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini.The sanctum sanctorum which houses the awe-inspiring idol of the Lord of the Seven Hills is situated in the main temple complex of Tirumala. There are several exquisitely carved doorways, mandapams and shrines that you will come across inside the Sri Venkateshwara Temple complex. Inside the Temple complex main places are Padi Kavali Maha Dwara Sampangi Pradakshinam, Krishna Devaraya Mandapam, Ranga Mandapam Tirumala Raya Mandapam, Aaina Mahal, Dhwajasthambha Mandapam Nadimi Padi Kavili, Vimana Pradakshinam, Sri Varadarajaswami Shrine Potu, The Main Shrine, Sankeertana Bhandara, Bangaru Bavi, Snapana Mandapam Ramar Meda, Shayana Mandapam, Garbha Gruha, Kalyana Mandapam Sri Ramanuja Shrine, Sri Narasimhaswami Shrine, Tirumamani Mandapam Bangaru Vakili, Mukkoti Pradakshinam, Sri Vishwaksena Temple, Sri Yoga Narasimhaswami Temple, Sri Garuda Temple.
Sri Bedi Anjaneyaswami Temple:
Sri Anjaneyaswami temple is located opposite the Sri Varahaswami temple on the North Eastern banks of the Swami Pushkarini. It was constructed during the Mahant’s period. The idol’s hands are joined in supplication (in the Anjali pose).
Sri Anjaneyaswami Temple:
Sri Anjaneyaswami is believed to be a bestowed of boons and a protector from all-evil. Abhishekam is conducted every Sunday.
There are several teerthams in Tirumala, like Swami Pushkarini, Akashganga Teertham, Papavinashanam Teertham, Pandava Teertham, Kumaradhara Teertham, Tumbhuru Teertham, Ramakrishna Teertham, Chakra Teertham, Vaikuntha Teertham, Sesha Teertham, Sitamma Teertham, Pasupu Teertham, Japali Teertham, Sanaka Sanandana Teertham Important festivals at the teerthams are held on Kumaradhara Magha Pournami, Ramakrishna Pushya Pournami Tumbhuru Phalguna Pournami, Chakra Karthika Masa – Ksheerabdhi Dwadasi.
The TTD Gardens – ornamental, landscape and flower gardens – occupy an area of 460 acres in Tirupati and Tirumala. The gardens were set up to beautify the area in and around Tirumala The Gardens Department of TTD meets the demand for flowers of all the temples in Tirumala. It supplies garlands for adorning the deities and for decorating the mandapam, pandals and vahanas on festive occasions.
The Ashthana Mandapam or Sadas Hall is an auditorium near the main temple complex. Cultural events are held here.
Originally Sri Venkateshwara Museum was established in 1980. Stone and wooden carvings, articles used for puja, and traditional art and architecture are displayed here.