Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala, Chittoor
Deity: Lord Venkateswara (Vishnu)
Venkateswara Temple is a landmark Vaishnavite temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The Temple is dedicated to Venkateswara, a form of Vishnu, who is believed to have appeared here to save mankind from trials and troubles of Kali Yuga. Hence the place has also got the name Kaliyuga Vaikuntham and the Lord here is referred to as Kaliyuga Prathyaksha Daivam. The temple is also known by other names like Tirumala Temple, Tirupati Temple, Tirupati Balaji Temple. Venkateswara is known by many other names like Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
Tirumala Hills are part of Seshachalam Hills range. The hills are 853 metres (2,799 ft) above sea level. The Hills comprises seven peaks, representing the seven heads of Adisesha. The temple lies on the seventh peak -Venkatadri, on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini, a holy water tank. Hence the temple is also referred to as “Temple of Seven Hills”. Tirumala town covers about 10.33 sq mi (26.75 km2) in area.
The Temple is believed to be constructed over a period of time starting from 300 AD. The Garbagruha (Sanctum Sanctorum) is called AnandaNilayam. The presiding deity, Venkateswara, is in standing posture and faces east in Garbha gruha. The temple follows Vaikhanasa Agama tradition of worship. The temple is one of the eight Vishnu Swayambhu Kshetras and is listed as 106th and the last earthly Divya Desam.
It is the richest temple in the world in terms of donations received and wealth. The temple is visited by about 50,000 to 100,000 pilgrims daily (30 to 40 million people annually on average), while on special occasions and festivals, like the annual Brahmotsavam, the number of pilgrims shoots up to 500,000, making it the most-visited holy place in the world.
It is around 435 km (270.3 mi) from Vijayawada, 571.9 km (355.4 mi) from Hyderabad, 138 km (85.7 mi) from Chennai, 291 km (180.8 mi) from Bangalore, and 781.2 km (485.4 mi) from Visakhapatnam
There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. According to one legend, the temple has a murti (deity) of Venkateswara, which it is believed shall remain here for the entire duration of the present Kali Yuga.
Srisailam Temple / Sri Mallikarjuna Jyotirlinga, Kurnool
Deity: Mallikarjuna (Shiva) and Bhramaramba (Parvati)
Sri Bhramaramba Mallikarjuna Temple or Srisailam Temple is a Hindu temple dedicated to the deities Shiva and Parvati, located at Srisailam in Indian state of Andhra Pradesh.
It is significant to the Hindu sects of both Shaivam and Shaktam as this temple is referred to as one of the twelve Jyothirlingas of Lord Shiva and as one of the eighteen Shakti Peethas of goddess Parvati. Shiva is worshiped as Mallikarjuna, and is represented by the lingam. His consort Parvati is depicted as Bhramaramba. It is the one of the only three temples in India in which both Jyotirlinga and Shaktipeeth is revered.
The legend is that Kumar Kartikeya, the younger son of Lord Shiva once got angry and came to the Kronch Hills from Kailash. Lord Shiva and Maa Parvati came here and stayed on with the name Arjun and Mallika. Thus the place and the temple were called Mallikarjun.
When Shiva and Parvati decided to find suitable brides for their sons, Ganesha and Kartikeya argued as to who is to get married first. Shiva bade that the one who goes around the world in Pradakshinam could get married first. By the time Kartikeya could go round the world on his vahana, Ganesha went round his parents 7 times (for according to Shastras, going in pradakshinam round one’s parents is equivalent to going once around the world (Bhupradakshinam)). Siva got Buddhi(intellect), Siddhi (spiritual power), and Riddhi (prosperity) married to Ganesha. Kartikeya on his return was enraged and went away to stay alone on Mount Kraunja in the name of Kumarabrahmachari. On seeing his father coming over to pacify him, he tried to move to another place, but on the request of the Devas, stayed close by. The place where Siva and Parvati stayed came to be known as Shrishailam.
As per Hindu legend, the presiding deity in the form of Linga (an iconic form of Shiva) was worshipped with jasmine (locally called Mallika), leading to the name of presiding deity as Mallikarjuna.