Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India

Tirupati, 150 km northwest of Chennai in the Palkonda Hills, is known as the abode of Venkateshwara, Lord of Seven Hills, and a form of Vishnu. About 15 km northwest, on the sacred hill of Tirumala (elevation 750 m), is a temple dedicated to Venkateshwara. A fine example of Dravidian art and one of the most important pilgrimage centers in India, it employs 18,000 and attracts more pilgrims than Jerusalem, Rome, and Mecca - on a typical day, 100,000 pilgrims visit this temple. The devout consider it auspicious to have their heads shaved during their visit. About 500 years ago, Tallapaka Annamacharya fathered a new genre of devotional singing addressed to lord Venkateshwara, which today fills the air at Tirumala. His Sankirtana Laksanam, a collection of 32,000 songs in Sanskrit and Telugu, represents a significant contribution to Carnatic music. [Adapted from Encyclopedia Britannica]

Venkateshwara temple (more)

Darshan queue starts here

Temple bathing tank

Holy water?

Venkateshwara kitsch

Shiny pates

Freshly tonsured


Open air puja

Coconut offering

Camphor smoke

Devout women

One of many temples

Shaved family

Giant banyan tree


Getting used to it

Afternoon stroll

Wealthy couple (more)


Inner calling


Laddus for the lord

Tirupati train station


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