Tirupati is a city in Chittoor district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. The city is home to most famous and important Vaishnavite shrine of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple and other historic temples and is referred to as the “Spiritual Capital of Andhra Pradesh”. It is one of the seven Swayam vyaktha kshetras dedicated to Vishnu. Tirupati is a municipal corporation and the headquarters of Tirupati (urban) mandal, and of the Tirupati revenue division. As of 2011 census, it had a population of 287,588, making it the ninth most populous city in Andhra Pradesh. It is the seventh most urban agglomerated city in the state, with a population of 459,985. Tirupati is home to many educational institutions and universities. For the year 2012–13, India’s Ministry of Tourism named Tirupati as the “Best Heritage City”. Tirupati has been selected as one of the hundred Indian cities to be developed as a smart city under Smart Cities Mission by Government of India.
- Festivals – The city celebrates all major Hindu festivals which includes Sankranti, Ugadi, Krishna Janmashtami, Maha Shivaratri, Ganesh Chaturthi, Deepavali, Rama Navami, Kartik Poornima etc. Srivari Brahmotsavam is a nine-day event, celebrated during the months of September–October, the temple of Tirumala witness lakhs of devotees. During this festival, the processional deity Malayappa of Venkateswara Temple, along with his consorts Sridevi and Bhudevi, is taken in a procession in four mada streets around the temple on different Vahanams. Tirupati also celebrates a carnival named as Tirupati Ganga Jatara, held during second week of May every year. This is a week long festival where Goddess Gangamma (Grama Devatha) is worshiped.The tank behind the temple of Padmavathi Temple, Tiruchanur has Padma Pushkarini, where Chakra Snanam will be held on last day of Annual Padmavathi Brahmotsavams (Panchami Teertham). It will witness lakhs of Devotees taking a dip in the holy waters. Vaikunta Ekadasi, the day on which it is believed that Vaikunta Dwarams will be opened and the most important Vasihnavite festival, is celebrated in Tirumala and Tirupati with grandeur. Rathasapthami is another festival, celebrated during February, when Lord Venkateswara’s processional deity (Malayappa) is taken in a procession around the temple on seven different vahanas from early morning to late night. Sri Krishna janmastami also known as Gokulashtami is celebrated with great fervor at Tirupati. The Lotus Temple belonging to International Society for Krishna Consciousness (ISKCON) will be illuminated with lamps and paintings displaying themes from Srimad Bhagavatham. The celebrations include offering prayers to Sri Krishna, Utlotsavam, Annamayya Kirtana alapana, Geetha Parayanam etc. On this day ‘Gokulashtami Asthanam’ will be held at Tirumala Venkateswara Temple. TTD will also celebrate the janmastami at Sri Venkateswara Gosamrakshana Shala where prayers will be offered to cows, horses and elephants. The Maha Shivaratri and Kartik Poornima are the most auspicious occasions celebrated in Kapila Theertham.
- Cuisine – Tirupati is world-famous for Tirupati Laddu. It is the prasadam at Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala. Tirupati Laddu had got Geographical indication tag which entitles only Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams to make or sell it.
- Arts, crafts and architecture – Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams established Sri Venkateswara Museum, one at Tirumala and the other at Tirupati. It has a wonderful collection of Tirupati temple architecture and historical artefacts, such as ancient weaponry, pooja items and idols. It has a comprehensive photo gallery that gives a unique insight into the Tirupati region’s culture and traditions. It also boasts a meditation centre. In 1988–89 Archaeological Survey of India had established an Archaeological Museum in the Chandragiri fort at Chandragiri. It exhibits rich collection of stone and metal sculptures of Hindu gods and other cultural vestiges retrieved from other historical places like Gudimallam, Gandikota and Yaganti. It also includes galleries for medieval weaponry swords and daggers, coins and paper documents.
The primary and secondary school education is imparted by government, aided and private schools of the School Education Department of the state. Majority of them are named after presiding deity of Tirupati temple, Lord Venkateswara and his consort Goddess Padmavati.
There are several universities and colleges including state government and Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam sponsored such as, Sri Venkateswara University, established in 1954; Sri Padmavati Mahila Visvavidyalayam, a dedicated women’s university; Medical colleges include Sri Venkateswara Medical College and Sri Padmavathi Medical College for Women. Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences (SVIMS) is also a medical institute, Sri Venkateswara Vedic University to preserve, foster and promote oral traditions of Vedic, Agamic and Cognate Literature, with focus on right intonations. Rashtriya Sanskrit Vidyapeetha, a University established for higher learning in Sanskrit studies, Traditional Sastras and Pedagogy. Sri Venkateswara Veterinary University to strengthen education and services in the fields of Veterinary Science, Dairy Technology and Fishery Science in the State of Andhra Pradesh. Sri Venkateswara Institute of Traditional Sculpture and Architecture (SVITSA) run by TTD is one of the two institutions in India offering courses in traditional sculpture and architecture to students. Seven diploma courses are offered in subjects such as temple architecture, stone sculpture, Sudai aculpture, metal sculpture, wood sculpture, traditional painting and traditional Kalamkari art. Indian Institute of Technology Tirupati. Indian Culinary Institute, Tirupati is the first culinary institute in India established by Ministry of Tourism (India).
The city is set to get Indian Institutes of Science Education and Research (IISER) which were allotted by Government of India to the state of Andhra Pradesh. There is a law college named Sri Venkateswara College of Law.
Visit Tirupati for sure if you are in India as the place is famous for its many Hindu shrines; the most revered being Sri Venkateswara Swamy or Tirupati Balaji temple. Devotees from different parts of India and abroad visit this temple town, to seek the blessings of the Almighty. If you are a person who devote time to a religious activities then mark Tirupati on your itinerary.