Tirumala Venkateswara Temple is held in high respect by Hindus world over. Millions seek to pay homage at this venerated shrine situated at the hill town of Tirumala. The Temple is one of the richest in India as devotees willfully donate money, precious jewels, diamonds and gold to the temple as a regard for the deity. The fortune of this House of God is estimated to be Rs. 50, 000 crores. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to a legend, the temple is devoted to Lord Venkateswara who is believed, shall remain here for the entire period of KalaYuga.
The architecture of Tirupati Balaji is magnificent. It has been fashioned in the Dravidian style. The sacrosanct place has a number of small shrines inside its premise. There are three enclosures which are called 'Prakarams' and a dome on the main shrine called as ''Vimana'. Other main attractions of the temple are the statues of King Krishnadevaraya and his spouse. The idol of the principal deity, Lord Venkateswara or 'Venkataramana' or 'Srinivasa' or 'Balaji' has the reflection of both Vishnu and Shiva, that signifies the preserving and destroying aspects of the Holy Hindu Trinity.
Tirupati Temple has some virtuous attractions for pilgrims. The world famous ‘Tirupati Laddu’ is given here as ‘prasadam’. The temple activities and rituals are intriguing to many. Devotees in large numbers get their head tonsured as an offering to the Lord. The daily amount of hair collected is over a ton. The hair thus gathered is sold by the temple organization and it garners over $6 million for the temple's treasury. One of the most fascinating offering in this temple is the ‘thulabharam’. In this ritual, a devotee sits on one pan of a weighing balance and the other is filled with materials greater than the weight of the devotee. Devotees usually offer sugar, jaggery, tulsi leaves, banana, gold, coins etc. This is mostly performed with newborn babies or children.
The Tirupati shrine is visited by over 6000 pilgrims every year. Darshan Timings and Hours of Operation of the Tirupati Venkateswara Temple are as under;
A day at Tirupati Tirumala temple begins with 'Suprabhatam' ("Awakening the Lord") as early as 3:00 AM and ends with the 'Ekantha Seva' ("Putting the Lord to Sleep") around 1:00 AM the following morning. The timings Darshans are different each day of the week. All darshan timings, whether Sarvadarsanam, Seeghra Darshan, and Divya Darshan follow the same schedule per below:
Saturday, Sunday, Monday: 4:00 AM to 5:00 AM, 7:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM till Ekantha Seva
Tuesday, Wednesday: 8:30 AM to 1:00 PM
Thursday: 9:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM till Ekantha Seva
Friday: 10:00 AM to 6:00 PM and 9:00 PM till Ekantha Seva
“Sarvadarsanam” which means “darshan for all” is conducted for about 18 hours a day on most days and is extended to 20 hours during special festivals and holidays. On an average, about 50,000 pilgrims go through the Sarvadarsanam on a typical day.