Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh is one among the most important religious places in India, where the shrine of Lord Vishnu is situated.
The temple is known as Tirumala Venkateswara Temple and Lord Vishnu takes the avtar of Lord Venkateswara. The word Tirupati means the Pati (husband) of Lakshmi Devi. Venkatadri, one of the seven important hills in Tirupati, is where the temple is located.
Worshippers call Lord Vishnu as Balaji, Govinda and godsandprayer Srinivasa.
According to the reports, Tirupati is visited by numerous worshippers (almost 1 lakh) daily and this number increases on special occasions like Brahmotsavam festival. That means Tirupati is visited by almost 3 to 4 Crore believers annually.
Devotees of Lord Vishnu believe that the shrine is one among the 108 holy places in India.
It is believed that Lord Kubera, after his wedding with Padmavati, donated a huge sum to Lord Venkateswara. Lord Vishnu's debt is paid back by his worshippers by depositing money in the pot at the Tirupati shrine.
It was under Vijayanagara emperors' rule that Tirupati and the temple grew famous.
Devotees believe the temple got gold and valuable stones from the rulers. It was by the order of King Krishnadevaraya, that the temple was gold-plated. Some years after, Raghoji Bhonsle started the administrative system to manage the temple.
You can see seven holy hills, called as Saptagiri (Saptarishi), in Tirupati.
Vishnu was given the name of Saptagirinivasa from the names of hills.
The seven holy hills are supposed to be home to many deities. The names of these hills are Neeladri – Neela Devi's home, Garudadri – hill of Garuda (carrier of Lord Vishnu), Narayanadri – the hill of Vishnu, Vrushabadri – the abode of Nandi, Lord Shiva's vehicle, Anjanadri – abode of Hanuman and Venkatadri – abode of Venkateswara.
The Reason for Offering Hair at Tirupati
People believe that a small part of Lord Vishnu's head became hairless when a shepherd hit him.
Neela Devi gave her hair when she saw that Lord Vishnu lost his hair. Thinking that hair is one of the beautiful aspects of women, Vishnu promised that his worshippers will tonsure their head and dedicate it to her. The practice of cutting hair started from then and even today, devotees from all over the world visit Tirupati and offers their hair.
People believe that Neela Devi accepts the hair offered by Venkateswara devotees.