ibnlive » India

Nov 02, 2006 at 10:34pm IST

Tirumala, the epicentre of faith

Tirupati: The chant of the Venkatesa Suprabhatam, a hymn recited to awake the lord of Tirupati can be heard in the abode of Lord Balaji, which nestles among the seven sacred Tirumala hills.

Lakhs of pilgrims walk the hallowed halls of one of the world's richest temple, seeking that all-potent glimpse of the Lord.

Many like R Sreedharan have been making their way to the temple every year for over a decade, often participating in voluntary work.

"Its not only a spiritual experience that we come here for. We get the utmost satisfaction in serving people here," says Sreedharan.

It's unflinching faith that brings pilgrims to Tirupati - 60,000 of them every day.

Queues for the Lord's darshan (a glimpse of the Lord) start early and the wait can be as long as 30 hours.

The inflow of pilgrims is non-stop. From celebrities to politicians and industrialists to unnamed thousands, making this temple town the most visited religious shrine in the country.

Says a devotee Padma Jain, "God has always granted my wishes.Whenever I think of God all my problems disappear."

It's this deep-rooted faith of thousands of devotees who come to Tirumala that is the driving force that makes many devotees wait in endless queues for a glimpse of Lord Venkateshwara.

But the temple doesn't depend on faith to handle its pilgrim flow. Instead it depends on modern technology in managing the faith of the people.

From e-hundi or voluntary donations to fixing accommodation online from e-darshan of the Lord to digitally coded wrist bands for devotees to check-in, Tirupati has it all.

Says Principal Secretary Andhra Pradesh government, I V Subbarao, "People here have faith, whicn obliterates all distinctions. Everyone here is equal and that is the main thing."

Although this 1900-year-old temple sometimes considered, the 'Vatican of the East' has been in the limelight for being one of the richest temples in the world, what makes Lord Venkateshwara truly wealthy is the magnitude of generosity of devout pilgrims.

What's more, darshan at Tirupati is revered for the unsurpassed religious and spiritual experience that it offers.

(With inputs from Manasi Tewari)