Rajapaksa prays at Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara Temple

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Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa with his Shiranthi at the Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara Temple on December 24, 2021 (India News Network Photo)

Venkat Raman
Auckland, December 29, 2021

Sri Lankan Prime Minister Mahinda Rajapaksa and his wife Shiranthi Rajapaksa offered prayers at the Venkateswara Temple in Tirupathi on December 24, 2021.

They were on a two-day visit to India, landing in Tirupathi in a special aircraft from Colombo.

According to the Indian High Commission in Columbo, Mr Rajapaksa had visited the Tirupathi Lord Venkateswara Temple in February 2020 and that a Special Pooja was performed at the Sanctum Sanctorum on that occasion.

India and Sri Lanka have a legacy of intellectual, cultural, religious, spiritual and linguistic interaction and the relationship between the two countries are more than 2500 years old.

About Lord Venkateswara

Lord Venkateswara in Tirupathi, situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupathi in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh is the world’s ‘Richest God’ with an estimated annual income of more than $US 400 million. The Temple has more than 2000 kgs of gold and more than $US 500 million worth of other forms of jewels and jewellery.

According to a legend, Lord Vishnu in this Avatar owes money to Kubera in connection with His marriage to ‘Alarmelu Manga’ or Padmavathi and hence is seeking ‘donations’ from his devotees.

Lord Venkateswara is becoming increasingly popular with people of all religions planning to visit the Temple during the ensuing holiday season. We dedicate the following article to the Lord and His Devotees.

Lord Venkateswara with His Consort Goddess Alarmelu Manga (The Goddess on Lotus or Goddess Lakshmi), at the Sanctum Santorum of the Temple

About Lord Venkateswara Temple

Sri Venkateswara Swamy Temple is a landmark Vishnu Temple.

Lord Vishnu is believed to have appeared in this Avatar to save mankind from the trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Hence, the place is also called, ‘Kaliyuga Vaikuntham’ and Lord is known as ‘Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Deivam.’ The Temple is also known as Tirumala Temple, Tirupathi Temple, Tirupathi Balaji Temple. Venkateswara is known by many other names including Balaji, Govinda and Srinivasa.

The Tirumala Hills are part of the Seshachalam Hills range and are 853 metres above sea level. The Hills comprise seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrushabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri. The Venkateswara Temple is located on the seventh peak, namely Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank.

Hence the Temple is also called, ‘Temple of Seven Hills.’

Tirumala town covers about 10.33 square miles (27 km2) of land.

The Temple was constructed in 300 AD conforming to the Dravidian Architecture.

The Garbagriha (Sanctum Sanctorum) is called ‘Ananda Nilayam.’

Venkateswara, the Presiding Deity, is in standing posture and faces east in Garbha Griha.

The Temple follows the Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship. It is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and is listed as 106th and the last earthly Divya Desam.

The Temple premises has two modern queue complex buildings to manage the heavy pilgrim season (Tarigonda Venkamamba Annaprasadam complex for free food, hair tonsure buildings and a number of other lodging sites.

A new Abode for Lord Venkateswara coming up in Auckland, New Zealand

Record visitors

More than 400 million devotees visit the Temple every year (or about 100,000 visitors every day of the year), while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims could rise to 500,000 a day.

The Lord of the Seven Hills stands closest to Chennai, the capital of Tamil Nadu (138 kms) and Bangalore, the Capital of Karnataka (291 kms) and is farther from major cities of Andhra Pradesh, namely Hyderabad (572 kms) and Vijayawada (435 kms).

There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the Temple has a Murthi (Deity) of Lord Venkateswara, which is expected to remain until the end of the Kali Yuga.

A new home for Lord Venkateswara in Auckland

The following is from our Archives (March 16, 2021)

About 25 years ago, a new migrant couple considered construction of a Temple for Lord Venkateswara; a Temple that would be a tribute to the Lord of the Seven Hills in the original setting of Tirupati-Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh.

That desire remained a dream, for as devotees understand, the Lord must ordain and provide the Divine Direction. Efforts however continued, albeit sporadically, until two weeks ago when the desired settings appeared to evolve themselves.

The Lord’s Trust

The formation of an entity Sri Venkateswara Devasthanam (SVD) was the first step in the ambitious journey to build a new home for the Lord in Auckland.

A large stretch of land, appropriate for the elevated Lord of the Seven Hills has been acquired and initial tasks for complying with official regulations have commenced. The promoters hope to place the Project for public view and support in due course.

Indian Newslink is assisting the promoters of the Lord Venkateswara Devasthanam New Zealand Project in Auckland and will continuously provide information relating to its progress and general information about the Tirumala and other places of Vishnu Worship in its ensuing editions. Readers can seek further information by email to venkat@indiannewslink.co.nz

About the Temple in Auckland

All along the way, the Prayer is that the dream of almost three decades should become a reality; for Sri Venkateswara Devasthanam in Auckland will not just be a place of Worship. The Temple Complex will comprise a host of facilities and services that will benefit the growing community and its multifarious needs. Central to this substantial investment-oriented Project would be service to humans and other kinds, ranging from Satsang, Special Prayers, Celebration of Hindu Festivals, a Centre for Meditation, Accommodation, Dining and Catering, a Community Centre for Weddings and other social gatherings and much more.

As the saying goes, just like success, the extent of SVD is limited only by this Reporter’s imagination and no act of kindness, however small, will ever be wasted.

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