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Venkatachala Nilayam Tracing the Evolution of Tirumala Temple

Author Name: S R Ramanujan | Format: Paperback | Genre : Religion & Spirituality | Other Details

There are two million Hindu temples in India. Some of them are more than one thousand five hundred years old. Some of them are known for their architectural splendor and some for their historical importance. But most of them attract devotees for their spiritual significance. In a way temples are a tool for the Hindus to connect with the Creator. Among these places of worship what stands out as the most popular one in the entire world is Tirumala (Tirupati) located in Andhra Pradesh, India, dedicated to Lord Vishnu. Tirumala is also known as Venkatachalam, the presiding deity being Venkateswara. He is also known to his devotees as Lord of Seven Hills, Balaji and Srinivasa. Tirumala temple is the richest temple in the world with its annual budget hovering around 25 billion rupees. The footfall for this magnificent temple touches a whopping figure of seventy thousand on weekdays and one hundred thousand during the weekends. Most of the saints in the South have sung in praise of Lord Venkateswara from Annamayya to Thyagayya, apart from Alwars and Acharyas.

This world record to fame and riches is not without its flip side. The temple has become the focal point for a variety of controversies. The never-ending dispute is over the identity of the idol as a result of the age-old conflict between the worshippers of Siva and Vishnu bedsides neo-Buddhists. The latter strongly believe that Tirumala temple was a Buddhist shrine, but was converted into Vishnu temple by “wily Brahmins” when Buddhism was getting edged out from India. The book, Venkatachala Nilayam, is an attempt to unravel the mystery over the history of the temple, providing a historical perspective to the issue and thus establishing the real identity of the Lord, indisputably that of the Lord Vishnu

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S R Ramanujan

The author is basically a journalist having spent nearly three decades in print and television journalism with very little background in temple history. His brief stint in Sri Venkateswara Bhakti Channel of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams as its COO emboldened him to research its history.

He has to his credit another book of Vijayanagara’s history published by Notion Press, Vijayanagara – The Never to Be Forgotten Empire.