Tirupati Balaji, also known as Lord Venkateswara, is one of the most revered Hindu deities, and the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, India, is one of the richest and most visited pilgrimage sites in the world. While many people are familiar with the general facts about Tirupati Balaji, here are some lesser-known facts about this deity:
Ancient Origins: The exact origins of the Tirupati Balaji deity are unknown. It is believed that the idol of Lord Venkateswara was self-manifested (Swayambhu) and was discovered on the hills of Tirumala around 300 AD.
Hair Growth: It is said that the hair of the deity, also known as “Sesa Kamba,” has never been cut since the deity’s manifestation. Devotees offer their hair as a form of sacrifice, and the temple is known for its tonsuring ceremony.
No Advertisements: The Tirumala Venkateswara Temple does not advertise or promote itself in any way, yet it attracts millions of devotees every year. It relies solely on word-of-mouth publicity and the deep-rooted faith of the devotees.
Largest Laddu Distribution: The Tirumala temple is known for its famous “Tirupati Laddu.” This sweet delicacy is offered as prasadam (blessed food) to the devotees. It holds a Guinness World Record for being the largest religiously distributed prasadam, with millions of laddus being distributed every year.
The Akasa Ganga Legend: According to a popular legend, when Lord Venkateswara was hit on his chin by a shepherd, the deity’s chin started bleeding. To heal his wound, the Goddess Lakshmi (his consort) used the holy water from the Ganga, which then started flowing as Akasa Ganga, a sacred waterfall near the temple.
The Magnetic Idol: The idol of Lord Venkateswara is said to have a magnetic force. Devotees claim that if they bring a metal object close to the idol, it gets pulled towards it, indicating the divine power of the deity.
These are just a few lesser-known facts about Tirupathi Balaji. The temple and the deity continue to captivate millions of devotees with their spiritual significance and mystique.