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The World’s Richest Temple

by Uma Shankari on 20/05/11 at 7:52 am

Venkateshwara or Balaji temple at Tiruppathi in Andhra Pradesh State in India is reputed to be the world’s richest temple.

If you grew up in an average South Indian family, your mornings would begin with the recitation of ‘Venkatesha Suprabhatam’ floating from record players and transistors. ‘Suprabhatam’ can be translated as ‘good morning’ and the song describes the beautiful dawn at Tirupati, wishing Lord Venkatesha or Vishnu a ‘good morning’  and reminding him of his ‘worldly duties’. Incidentally, this hymn about the world’s richest temple/god is perhaps the highest selling CD in the world. If you like, you may enjoy the Suprabhatam in the mellifluous voice of lthe renowned singer Late M.S.Subbulakshmi.

The 1900-year-old temple is considered the ‘Vatican of the East’. Tirupati is 170km northwest of Chennai, in Andhra Pradesh, near the Tamil Nadu border. It is located in the eastern ghats, a mountain range that runs along the south-eastern India. The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area.

Venkateshwara temple situated on a plateau on a range of hills; Source

The Tirumala hill has seven peaks (”Sapthagiri“), said to represent the seven hoods of Adisesha, the serpent under whose hoods Vishnu resides in Vaikuntha or heaven. The temple of Lord Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak Venkatachala.

The temple is reportedly the most visited place of worship in the world – about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims visit the temple daily. With an average of 19 million visitors a year, it is almost double the estimated number of people visiting Vatican City. On special occasions and festivals, the number peaks to 500,000.

Source

Inside the premises: Source

A visit and worship of the Lord is believed to cleanse all the sins, as is signified by the name Venkateshwara – “Ven” means “sin”, “Kata” means “destroyed”, and Eshwara stands for god. The staunch belief of the devotees has to be seen to be believed. Many ordinary poor folks collect money throughout the year in small ‘hundis’ (piggy-bank like) for an annual visit to the temple with the entire family members. They walk the distance on foot, then spend hours waiting in queues (the not-so-poor pay money to go through shorter queues) for a two-second glimpse of the Lord, and donate the entire savings to the temple.

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CHIPMUNK

May 20th, 2011

beautiful pix, and excellent info

galore

May 20th, 2011

nice location of the temple, Thanks for the share

Jimmy Shilaho

May 20th, 2011

You make me want to visit India, and I should before I clock 40.

ravitej

May 20th, 2011

you are correct.I had visit tirupathi nearly 25 times.

siriiiii

May 20th, 2011

It’s true

papaleng

May 20th, 2011

Exceptional information and a great photos to compliment . Never heard about this temple before, thanks for sharing.

WindBlowerTM

May 20th, 2011

I am speechless, the only word comingto mind is: WoW! Truly thank you for this share. Great article!

mahesh golani

May 20th, 2011

Good information.Excellent picture! I have not seen a better picture!

SmileIncognito

May 20th, 2011

nice article on the temple

Ruby Hawk

May 20th, 2011

If I were rich I would be on the next plane out.

valli

May 20th, 2011

You are right, Tirumala Tirupathi Devasthanam is the richest temple in the world and you have done a good job.

Eunice Tan

May 20th, 2011

Nice to see richest temple

Judy Sheldon

May 20th, 2011

Such fabulous photos and fascinating info.

DR.VNS

May 21st, 2011

Well written and accompanied by beautiful pictures.

K Kristie

May 21st, 2011

Interesting info, nicely done.

cobaltinee

May 21st, 2011

This temple is a tourist attraction.

Melody SJAL

May 21st, 2011

Magnificent.

martie

May 22nd, 2011

Extremely interesting article and the pictures are gorgeous. It seems that everywhere in the world religion is big money.

Macherie

May 22nd, 2011

I have to admit I haven’t been to India before. My travels usually take me to other places.. but I would love to see the temple where-in hairs are given as offering.This is the first time I have heard of it.

Raj the Tora

May 22nd, 2011

Am a great fan of Tirupathi trips – every time I only climb by foot from foot hills to the temple above. Excellent place and nice post. Thanks. By the way, this is the second richest religious place after Vatican :)

Lakshmi Ramanathan

May 22nd, 2011

Good article Uma, with great pics. You wonder what they must be doing with so much money and gold? I am sure they must using it on looking after the needy people? Any idea. Another thing, I think the temple as it exists today (Vaishnavite) must be about 1000 years old, after Ramanujam is said to have declared it a Vaishnava temple.

Christine Ramsay

May 22nd, 2011

A very good article, Uma. Beautifully illustrated. Sometimes I think these religions should use some of their wealth to help their followers who are living in poverty

Uma Shankari

May 22nd, 2011

Thanks for the comment, Christine. They do. They have a lot of hospitals, schools and colleges, but you are right. It is not commensurate with the income. They can do much more.

Uma Shankari

May 22nd, 2011

Thank you, Lakshmi. They are doing some social service, as you can gather from the following website:
http://www.indiadivine.org/audarya/shakti-sadhana/94824-social-services-tirumala-tirupati-devasthanams-ttd.html

Angelgirlpj

May 22nd, 2011

Nice pictures and information.

PR Mace

May 22nd, 2011

Interesting article and lovely pictures.

Dalu V

May 22nd, 2011

Interesting read!

pinkrose88

May 23rd, 2011

Wow! Interesting place to visit, hopefully in the future.

Steve Weitzner

May 23rd, 2011

Very nice pics :)

Uma Shankari

May 23rd, 2011

Ranjan Mathews said via private message:

rich temple where rich people whitewash their black sins and black money. The poor of Tirupati still beg for alms!?

vijayanths

May 23rd, 2011

Very well written article as always.

It’s long time since I visited the Perumal, hope to visit soon.

thresiapaulose

May 23rd, 2011

A very detailed report on the richest and most visited temple of the world. It is the symbol of Indian devotion. Thank you my sister Uma.

kanivel

May 23rd, 2011

May Balaji bless you!

monica55

May 23rd, 2011

Uma, this is so very well done and beautifully illustrated with such attractive pix. that I can see why it made its way to the top content list. It has also helped me to see some of the top places to visit when I shall have taken a trip to India.
Monica

shahzadi queen

May 23rd, 2011

beautiful pictures.well written article

neopisiva

May 23rd, 2011

Nice pics and info to go with it.

joeulman

May 23rd, 2011

What a beautiful place
Thanks for sharing

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Nelson Doyle

May 24th, 2011

Uma, I enjoyed reading the article and looking at the photos. You are very detailed in your information, which I really like in this type of article and subject matter.

Keep up the good writing – it will pay-off big time as time goes on!

John 3:16 “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

John 1:1 “In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.”

John 14:6 “Jesus saith unto him, I am the way, the truth and the life : no man cometh unto the Father, but by me.”

God Bless,

Nelson Doyle

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May 24th, 2011

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lian rosa

May 24th, 2011

Wow! So much income for a temple. I wonder how much of it they spend on social services? Anyways, magnificent photos you shared in this article. It makes me want to visit the temple. :)

chaits

May 24th, 2011

being there in front of Himself is a completely different experience a feeling unspeakable.

myverse

May 24th, 2011

Pooja Says

May 25th, 2011

And the temple happens to give the BEST laddus as prasad. :)

sensation

May 25th, 2011

Nice article and good snaps. I am reminded of the pilgrimage from Tirupathi base to the main shrine by walk with my friends some decades back which took 4 hours and truly memorable experience.

Best Wishes.

Uma Shankari

May 25th, 2011

Yes sensation, I too cherish the memory of walking up the steps, visiting the intervening small shrines and taking a peek at the deer park. It is this seemingly endless walk that make us appreciate the 2-second darshan.

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May 25th, 2011

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ronthoughts

May 25th, 2011

Very well said Uma, I totally agree, thanks for the share.

The forgiver

May 27th, 2011

I really want to visit this place! Will do so in the next Diwali vacations! :)
Thanks for the share.

rslaksmi

May 27th, 2011

It is very nice and i am blessed.

Revathi

May 28th, 2011

I will be visiting Tirupathi the coming Tuesday, and I am happy to be reading about it just now. I would have loved to trek the distance, but due to certain time constraints, I will be going by car. May be next time…

Anusha Jain

May 28th, 2011

Hi, the content shared is really great. I read few of the comments, here you actually rouse the desire to visit India in people. That’s really good. :)

Regards,
Anusha, UV Associates

Apostle of Flamboyancy

May 29th, 2011

proud of India and its rich heritage

Dalu V

May 29th, 2011

Good article!

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olea33

Jun 26th, 2011

Great temple, indeed

Rosettaartist1

Jul 2nd, 2011

good to know

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