visit Kempty Falls and proceed to Barkot & check into hotel.
Barkot - Yamnotri - Barkot (Drive - 36 Km / Trek – 7 Km) – One way
Hanuman Chatti and take local jeeps for Janki chatti (It helps to reduce the trek up to 8 Km). Trek starts from here (on foot or by Pony or by Doli at own cost) to Yamunotri (6 Km). On arrival at Yamunotri, One can cook rice by packing it in a cloth and dipping it in the hot water of the hot kund. Pilgrims take this cooked rice home as "Prasad". Here near the temple "Pooja" can be offered to Divya Shila, After taking bath in Jamunabai Kund's warm water and having "Darshan" of pious "Yamunaji" returning to Hanumanchatti. Later drive back to Barkot.
pilgrims after having a bath in the Taptkund have the Darshan of Badrivishal. Brahamakapal is significant for Pinddan Shraddh of ancestors (Pitrus). There are other interesting sightseeing spot like Mana, Vyas Gufa, Maatamoorti, Charanpaduka, Bhimkund and the "Mukh" of the Saraswati River. Just within the three kms of Badrinathjee.
Pilgrims after having a bath in the Taptkund have the Darshan of Badrivishal. Brahamakapal is significant for Pinddan Shraddh of ancestors (Pitrus). There are other interesting sightseeing spot like Mana, Vyas Gufa, Maatamoorti, Charanpaduka, Bhimkund and the "Mukh" of the Saraswati River. Just within the three kms of Badrinathjee.
Considered as the most sacred and the richest temple in the world, Tirupati temple is situated in the town of Tirupati. It is located 67-km away from Chittoor in Chittoor district of southern Andhra Pradesh. Also known as Tirupati Balaji Temple, it is a major pilgrimage center of south India. Besides, Tirupati also focous on other attraction of this place, the ancient and famous shrine of Sri Venkateswara, the Lord of Seven Hills are worth a viist.
The temple is located on a hill at Tirumala. It is a conglomeration of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam having a height of 853m (2,800ft.) above the sea level. The temple boasts of a vibrant and colorful culture also speaking volumes about its grand past. It is an important pilgrimage center, where devotees stand for long hours waiting to get a glance of the presiding deity.
Highlight of the Temple
The temple is the most popular and most visited temples in India. Being situated on a hill of Tirumala, it is climbed up by pilgrims, which is not an easy task.
Sri Venkataswara temple or the Tirupati temple is the richest temple in India. It is said that people drop bags of diamonds at the feet of Sri Venkataswara. Devotees flock this temple in huge numbers. In fact there are two lines to enter the temple, one is a free line, where you don't pay anything to get a view of the deity. But, for the second line, which takes less time to get a glance of the deity, you have to pay a minimum amount of Rs. 50.
The ancient Tirupati temple follows the Dravidian style of architecture. The gopuram of this temple is its highlight. The 'Vimana' or Cupola, named the "the Ananda Nilayam" is placed over the sanctum sanctorum. It completely veiled with gold plate.
There are three 'Prakarams' or enclosures in the temple, among them the outermost enclosure boasts of the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post. Apart form these, other highlights of the temple are the statues of Vijayanagara king, Krishnadevaraya and his spouse. There is also an idol of Todarmal, the minister of Akbar.
The image of the temple deity represents both Lord Vishnu and Lord Shiva. Lord Vishnu is considered as the preserver whereas the Lord Shiva is considered as the destroyer in Hindu religion.
A Day At Tirupati Tirumala
A day at Tirupati Tirumala temple begins with 'Suprabhatam' (awakening the Lord) as early as three in the morning. The day ends with the 'Ekanta Seva' ( putting the Lord to sleep) at around 1 O'clock in the night.
Prayers are offered daily, weekly and periodically in the form of 'Sevas' and 'Utsavams' to the Lord. Devotees who want to pay homage to the Lord can do it by giving a small amount in return of the Sevas or Utsavams done on their name. The gifts and donations offered to the deity, is known as the 'Hundi'. It is the main source of income of the Temple.
1830 hrs – Departure from Chennai
2130 hrs – Dinner at Puttur
2300 hrs – Arrival at Tirupati
2300 hrs to 0300 hrs – Overnight stay / Rest at Tirupati
0330 hrs – Departure to Tirumala
0430 hrs – Arrival at Tirumala
0500 hrs to 0600 hrs – Darshan of Lord Venkateshwara at Balaji Temple
0600 hrs to 0700 hrs – Shopping at Tirumala
0700 hrs – Departure to Tirupati
0800 hrs – Arrival at Tirupati
0800 hrs to 0900 hrs – Breakfast at Tirupati
0900 hrs 1000 hrs – Darshan at Padmavathi Temple
1000 hrs – Departure to Sri Kalahasthi Temple
1100 hrs – Arrival at Sri Kalahasthi Temple
1100 hrs to 1230 hrs – Darshan at Sri Kalahasthi Temple
1300 hrs to 1400 hrs – Lunch at Sri Kalahasthi
1400 hrs – Departure to Chennai
1700 hrs – Arrival at Chennai. Tour Ends.
The Package Cost
Rs. 1500/- per person (Adult)
Rs. 1260/- Per Child (3 – 10 years)
The package cost includes:
Transportation by AC Volvo Coach
Departure from Chennai – 1830 hrs on day-1
Overnight stay accommodation at Tirupati (On twin sharing basis) at Srinivasa Complex, Tirupati.
Early morning darshan at 0500 hrs on day-2 (approximate time taken is one hour)
Visit to Padmavathi temple & Sri Kalahasti Temples on day-2
Expected return to Chennai at around 1700 hrs on day-2
Package cost does not include:
Food & water
Anything not mentioned in the 'cost includes' list
The Darshan package is being organized through Andhra Pradesh Tourism and is subject to last minute change / delay / cancellation without prior notice & the organizer in not responsible for any such eventualities.
Confirmation of booking is only on full payment and is subject to availability at the time of booking with full payment.
Boarding / Alighting points are at Andhra Pradesh Tourism Office, 31 / 14 Burkit Road, Near Canara Bank, T Nagar, Chennai-17.
Saint poets, Azhvaars (there were 12 of them including Andaal) were ardent devotees of Lord Vishnu. These saint poets composed verses in Tamil and revitalized the religious spirit sparking off a renewal of devotional worship, referred to as the Bhakti movement.
The Azhvaars visited temples and sung praises in the name of Vishnu. Such temples have come to be known as Divya Desams. The compilation of the verses (known as Paasurams) is the revered Naalayira Divya Prabandham (4000 verses). There are 108 Divya Desams in all, around 20 are in the Pandya region (Madurai-Tirunelveli belt). In each of these temples, Vishnu can be seen in one of the following forms – Reclining, Seated or Standing posture.
Nava Tirupati Temples:
There are 9 Vishnu temples on either side of Tamaraibarani River. These temples hold a special place in the 108 Divya Desams. While Irattai Tirupati features as two temples in the Nava Tirupati list, it is counted as one divya desam only. Nammazhvar, the only Azhvaar to have sung at the Nava Tirupati temples, refers to certain temples in great detail, while some get only a passing mention.
One can start the Nava Tirupati trip from SriVaikuntam and end at Alwartirunagari or vice versa.
Sri Vaikuntam – Kallarpiran: Temple timing: 0700 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1700 hrs to 2000 hrs
SriVaikuntam is about 30 Km from Tirunelveli on the Tiruchendur road. One can see the towering structure of Vaikuntanathan temple as one enters the Tamaraibarani Bridge, off Tiruchendur highway. The story goes that the Lord, disguised as a thief, presented himself before the King to save the thief. Hence, the Lord here is also known as ‘KallarPiran’. In Vishnu temples, Adisesh, the Serpent God unfurls his hood over Vishnu in a reclining posture. A unique feature of the Lord here is that Adisesh has his hood above the Lord in standing posture, one of its kinds in the 108 Divya Desams. Another feature of the temple is that the Sun’s rays falls directly on Lord Vaikuntanathan on two days (April-May and October-November period) every year. It is believed that this temple was used as a fort in the fight between the legendary freedom fighter Veerapandiya Kattabomman and the British in the 1800s. Surprisingly though, Nammazhvar only makes a passing mention of this temple in his Paasurams.
Thiruvaraguna Mangai (Natham): Temple timing: 0800 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1600 hrs to 1800 hrs
This temple is about 2 Km east of SriVaikuntam and is known to many as the Vishnu temple at Natham. True to his name, Lord Vijayaasanar is seen to be sitting majestically like a victorious king on the throne. It is believed that a visit to this temple will help one attain moksha. This place is said to be a ‘Chandran’ Kshetram.
Thirupulinkudi: Temple timing: 0800 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1300 hrs to 1800 hrs
1 Km from Natham is the Lord KaasinaVenthar temple at Thirupulingkudi. The East facing Lord is seen in a reclining posture with a lotus stalk from his navel terminating in a flower on Brahma’s image on the wall of the sanctum. The story goes that Vishnu, along with Goddess Sridevi, came down to visit this place. Angered at being ignored for the trip, Goddess Bhoodevi hid herself in the netherworld. After Vishnu pacified her, it is believed that the two Goddesses came back together and gave darshan here with the Lord. An interesting feature of the temple is that Vishnu’s feet can be viewed through a small window in the passage.
Irettai Tirupati (Appan Koil): Temple timing: 0830 hrs to 1300 hrs & 1430 hrs to 1730 hrs
These are two temples within 100 yards of each other in the middle of a jungle and are counted as one for the purpose of the 108 Divya Desams. One has to cross a small canal to reach this temple. The first of the two temples has Lord Devapiran in a standing posture facing east.
Thulaivilli Mangalam (Appan Koil): Temple timing: 0830 hrs to 1300 hrs & 1430 hrs to 1730 hrs
Sage Suprabhar who performed a yagna at this place relieved a man and a woman from Kubera’s curse, which had turned them into a measuring scale (Tulai) and a bow (Villi). Hence this place is called Tulai Villi Mangalam. At the second temple one finds Lord Aravindalochanar in a seated posture facing east.
Legend has it that Lord Vishnu was impressed with Sage Suprabhar’s daily Lotus pooja and gave darshan to the sage on the Northern banks of Tamaraibarani. Hence, it is believed that one who does special ‘Lotus Flower’ pooja at this temple will be relieved of all sins.
ThiruKuzhandhai – Perungulam: Temple timing: 0730 hrs to 1230 hrs & 1630 hrs to 1930 hrs
The Maayakoothan temple at Thirukuzhandhai is about 10 Km east of SriVaikuntam and near Eral. This place is now known as Perungulam. Legend has it that Vishnu went on his Garuda Vaahan to rescue Goddess Lakshmi from an Asura. Hence, one finds Garuda as the Utsav deity here. In the battle that ensued, Vishnu is said to have performed his victory dance standing on Asura’s body and hence the name MaayaKoothan.
ThenThiruperai - Makara Nedun Kuzhaikathan: Temple timing: 0730 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1700 hrs to 2030 hrs
Back across the bridge and on to the South bank of Tamaraibarani, one finds the big Nigaril Mugilvannan temple at ThenThiruperai where the Lord is seen in a seated posture facing east.
Legend has it that Goddess Bhoodevi found two fish shaped ear rings while performing a penance, on the banks of Tamaraibarani, to relieve herself of Sage Durvasa’s curse and offered it to the Lord. The Lord who wore this came to be known as 'Makara Nedun Kuzhaikathan'.
Another story is that Varuna (the Rain God) performed a penance here to be relieved of his curse. As a mark of this, it is believed that Varuna visits this temple every year on the full moon day in the Tamil month of Panguni and worships Vishnu.
ThiruKolur – Vithamaanidhi: Temple timing: 0730 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1300 hrs to 2000 hrs
3 Km South West of Thiruperai is the Vaitha Maa Nidhi temple at Thiru Kolur, where the Lord is in a reclining posture facing east.
This is the birth place of MaduraKaviAzhvaar, the ardent devotee of Nammazhvaar. Legend has it that Kubera attained salvation from Goddess Parvati’s curse at this place and it was here that his Nava Nidhis were restored.
It is said that a visit to this temple will help one recover lost wealth. The Lord here is said to help his devotees in distress.
Alwarthirunagari – Nammazhvaar: Temple timing: 0700 hrs to 1200 hrs & 1700 hrs to 2000 hrs
This AadiNathan temple is at Alwartirunagari (Tirukkurugur). It is said that AadiNathan emerged on his own from the earth, though this does not figure among the only 8 temples where the Lord is believed to have emerged on his own.
Granting the prayers of a childless couple, Lord Nambi of Thirukkurungkudi is believed to have been born here as Nammazhvaar. When born, Nammazhvaar is said to have not opened his eyes or cried and he was taken to the tamarind tree within the temple.
Here, Nammazhvaar resided for 16 years till ThiruKolur’s Madurakavi (who was to later become his disciple) came and posed some interesting questions about life and that is when Nammazhvaar is said to have spoken for the first time.
So impressed was MaduraKavi (Azhvaar) with Nammazhvaar’s answers that he said ‘I do not need God, Nammazhvaar is enough’. Though Nammazhvaar died young, while in his 30s, his contribution to the Bhakti Movement is immense as can be seen from the fact that he sung praises of the Lord in one-third of the 108 Divya Desams. When Vaishnavites say Azhvaar, it means they are referring to Nammazhvaar, such is the reverence for him. There is a separate sannidhi for Nammazhvaar at this temple. He is the only one to have sung praise of Vishnu at the Nava Tirupati temples. The centuries old tamarind tree at the temple neither bears fruit nor closes its leaves at dusk.
Ideal time to visit Nava Tirupati temples:
Ideal time to visit Nava Tirupati temples is during Vaishnava festival season like Vaikunta Ekathesi, Vaikasi Visakam, etc.
Vaikasi Utsav is a famous festival when the deities from all the Nava Tirupati temples congregate here at Alvarthirunagari to listen to the Paasurams with Nammazhvaar seated on the Hamsa Vaahan.
During Margazhi, one is a witness to ‘Thiru Mudi’ Sevai, the only one of its kind in Divya Desams. This is one of the three Divya Desams in TN where Araiyar Sevai, the visual song and dance enactment of the ‘Paasurams is still being performed. There is a stone nadaswaram at this temple, which is played out on special occasions. Most of the inscriptions here date back almost a 1000 years.
Life History of Nammazhvaar:
Nammazhvaar was born in a clan "Vellalar tribe" on the 43rd day of kali yuga on Friday, under the star “Vishakha”, during the sukla pakshi, chathur dashi, in kataka lagna, in the month of vrushabha (May-June), in vasantha ruthu, in the year of Pramadhi, in Thiru kurugoor (near Thirunelveli) in the Pandaya dynasty of Tamil Nadu, to kariyar and Udayanangayar.
The child was extraordinary. For several days, it lived with eyes closed in perfect health, without food (neither breast fed milk nor any other). For days together, it never spoke. Distressed at this, the parents place the child at the shrine of Aadinathar, the deity of Kurugoor, surrendering into Him the entire burden of upbringing the child.
As the child was totally different from the general human nature, he was named Maran. He was also called “Sadagopan” as, unlike other children, he did not allow earthly ignorance to envelope him.
For sixteen long years, Maran sat motionless under the tamarind tree in Adinathar temple without food or drink, eyes closed, in padmasana ( one of the meditative posture), in utter silence. He was verily a SUN in human form with an aura encompassing the universe. He is believed to be the Avatara of Vishwak-Sena, chief of the hosts of Sriman Narayana in Vaikuntam.
During that period, an elderly Brahmin scholar named Madhurakavi was on his pilgrimage to north Indian shrines. At Ayodhya, the pilgrim saw an extraordinary sweet glowing light as a star on the southern sky. Keen on knowing the source whence it emanated he traveled southward. Even when he reached Srirangam, (near Trichy in Tamil Nadu) the light was visible in far south. He continued his quest till he reached kurugoor, where the light merged with the person in Nammalwar, seated blissfully under the tamarind tree.
Getting Nammazhvaar to speak:
With great difficulty, Madhura kavi succeeded in drawing out Nammazhvaar from his deep samadhi. He learnt from Nammazhvaar the secrets of all the shastras by becoming his disciple. Thenceforward, he remained at his lotus feet, recording the divine poem swelling out of the heart of Nammazhvaar in great ecstasy of Krishna Bhakti, sometimes rapidly and other times slowly, depending on the intensity of intuition and inspiration. At the very thought of the birth and beauty of Sri Krishna, the Nammazhvaar used to go into deep trance for months together.
Nammazhvaar is the seer of Dravidian Vedas. He sang four immortal poems as the Tamil version of the of the four Vedas – Rig, Sama, Yajur and Atharvanda.
Nammazhvaar stayed on earth in flesh and blood only for a brief thirty-five years. His return back to Vaikuntam through the Archaradhi gathi has also been sung by him in the penultimate portion of Thiruvaimozhi