Tirupati town is 67-km from Chittoor in Chittoor district, the southern portion of Andhra Pradesh. The most important place of interest at the place is the historic shrine of Sri Venkateswara, the Lord of Seven Hills, who is famous all over the country. The shrine is situated on a hill at Tirumala, a cluster of seven hills known as Seshachalam or Venkatachalam with an elevation of 853m (2,800ft.) over the sea level. Said to be the richest temple in the world, this temple is a vibrant cultural and philanthropic institution with a grand history across several centuries. It attracts pilgrims from all over the country who stand in line for hours together to obtain a glimpse of the presiding deity for a few fleeting seconds. Tirupati A Fine Example Of Dravidian Temple Architecture Tirupati Tirumala Balaji Temple at Tirumala is believed to have existed from earliest times. The dynasties like the Pallavas of Kanchipuram, the Cholas of Tanjore, the Pandyas of Madurai and the Kings and chiefs of Vijayanagara, vied with one another in endowing the Shrine and contribution worship of the presiding deity. The Tirupati temple with its 'gopuram' or tower is a fine example of Dravidian architecture. The elaborate rituals and mode of worship in the temple were prescribed by the saint Ramanujacharya and are being followed even today. Anointing the idol with camphor, and the offering by pilgrims of the hair on their heads by getting themselves shaved by licensed barbers are the important customs in vogue at Tirupati Temple. The 'Vimana' or Cupola over the sanctum sanctorum is covered entirely with gold plate and is known as "the Ananda Nilayam". The Shrine consists of three 'Prakarams' or enclosures. The outermost enclosure contains the 'Dhvajastambha' or the banner post and, among others, the statues of Vijayanagara king Krishnadevaraya and his consorts, and of Todarmal, the minister of Akbar. The idol of the deity, the full figure of Lord Venkateswara or 'Venkataramana' or 'Srinivasa' or 'Balaji' (as is called in various parts of the country) has the attributes of both Vishnu and Shiva, preserving and destroying aspects of the Hindu Trinity.
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