Skip to main content

Featured Post

2023 - The Year That Was

Places impact you for a variety of reasons. And the same place impacts different people in different ways. This is especially true when it comes to spiritual experiences, where every single person’s experience is unique. And personally, every spiritual experience is unique, the same person can have different deeply spiritual experiences at different places, at different times. This thought has emerged because of my own experiences over the years, but especially so this year, with different and unique experiences at various places I have visited recently. I began this year with a visit to Baroda (Vadodara) with friends. It was meant to be a relaxed trip, a touristy trip, with our sons. We enjoyed ourselves to the hilt, but the highlight of that trip was a visit to the Lakulisha temple at Pavagadh. It was the iconography of the temple that I connected with, and I spent a few hours simply lost in the details of the figures carved around the temple. There was an indefinable connect with

Tirupati Part 5 - Sila Thoranam

One would generally not associate Tirupati with anything other than temples, and neither did I, until I happened to read about a rare geological formation on the hills. I was impressed by the photographs I saw on the net, but wondered about how accessible the place would be, and whether it would be possible to visit. This was quite a few years back, and since then, my trips to Tirupati had been so hectic that I couldn’t even try to find out more about it. This year, with all the time I had at my disposal, this was one place I wanted to visit, and set off as soon as we got a brief respite from the rains.

Sila Thoranam literally means ‘garland or festoon of rocks’. It is a natural stone arch which was found by archeologists excavating a geological fault in the area. Located just around 1.5 km from the Venkateswara temple, this arch is naturally compared to the divine serpent Adishesha. Legends have recently sprung up around the place, with comparisons made to the different rocks making up the arch and the Lord’s conch, discus, etc, propagating the belief that this is where the Lord entered Tirumala! Thus are legends born!

However, the arch is much more interesting than the legends make out. The formation is categorized as pre-Cambrian, and dates back to millions of years ago. The age of the rock itself has been estimated to be about 2500 million years, and the age of the arch is computed to be about 1500 million years!

There are various schools of thought about the origin of the arch. Some are of the view that it could be the effect of a wave action from oceanic transgression or intensified climatic settings and corrosion. Others opine that it might have been carved out of quartzite, or simply by the weathering of the rock. However, no matter how the arch came into being, it is certainly unique, for this is the only such formation in asia. There are believed to be only two similar formations in the world – the Rainbow Arch Bridge of Utah in the USA and the arch that cuts through the Dalradian Quartzite in the UK. Here are pics of the two arches for comparison (Pics from the net)

Recently, the Sila Thoranam has garnered a lot of interest, and is now on the tourist map of Tirumala. Busloads of pilgrims throng the area, visiting both, the arch, as well as the Chakra Teertham, which is within walking distance. The crowds have compelled the TTD to make suitable arrangements to occupy the tourists, and today, the natural rocks around the arch have been converted into a rocky garden, full of flowers, with benches placed here and there for weary tourists to rest. There are birds in cages for kids to amuse themselves with, and lots of shops selling wooden articles for moms and dads to haggle with! This place is now known as Sila Thoranam Gardens, and is a major attraction!

More about the Chakra Teertham which is just a few minutes away, in my next post.

Location: The Sila Thoranam is located about 1.5 Km from the temple, and buses are available. The Chakra Teertham is in the same complex, so make it a point to visit it at the same time. It however makes sense to combine it with a visit to the Srivari Paadam, and jeeps make the circuit for Rs. 50 per head or Rs.300 for the full vehicle. 

Enhanced by Zemanta


  1. This is a treasure trove of a blog. I am blogrolling you immediately!

    What wonderful news with research thrown in for good measure. It has been a long time since I went to Tirupathi but next time I go, this garden would be on my itinerary for sure.

  2. Wow , I have heard about this place , but now i have got the full info on this . Thanx for sharing .

  3. I've seen this too long long back. But on seeing this post, I feel I should visit this site next time I visit Tirupathi.

  4. I too loved this place...Its so beautiful

  5. @Zephyr: welcome here ! glad that you liked this... I certainly enjoyed reading yours! and this place is certainly worth a visit... perfect place to make the time fly!

    @Team G Square: I thought you would have visited this already!

    @Sridharan: I wonder what it would have been like then!

    @EC: Its really beautiful! you should go sometime!

  6. Wow a masterpiece. Nature is a master crafter. And thanks for researching and sharing more info on such rocks around the world. Helped to increase the GQ (Geography quotient). Nice post Anu.

  7. I remember seeing it from a distance. There was no path way or approach that lead to the the rock. They have done a good job of taking us to the rock at touching distance. I want to visit this place and touch the million year old rock..!
    Did you visit Kapila theerthan at the foot hill near the entrance of walking path way? It was in a nice locale and with a beautiful backdrop. I also remember seeing a beautiful ISCON temple near it. Again long long back I visited.

  8. @Indrani: Oh yes,it is really a wonder!

    @Subu;ps : thanks a lot... i was totally bowled over by the place..

    @Sridharan: we still cant go and touch the rock.. there is a fence around it.... thank god, otherwise, people would go and scribble on it too!

    yes, i have visited kapilateertham, but not the isckon temple... usually, when theres a choice between old and new temples, i prefer the old and give the new ones a miss.. besides, we have an isckon temple in bbay too, which i have visited a number of times, so theres no particular draw there for me

  9. It is very interesting to read about Sila thoranam.Nice pic. seems you could spend lot of time in Tirumala itself.

  10. Thanks for the post, atlast i have found about this place.


Post a Comment

Thanks so much for stopping by. Please leave a comment for me so that I will know you have been here....

Popular posts from this blog

Gokarna Part II – The Five Lingams

We continued our Gokarna trip by visiting four other Shiva temples in the vicinity, all connected to the same story of Gokarna. The story of Gokarna mentions the Mahabaleshwara Lingam as the one brought from Kailas by Ravana, and kept at this place on the ground by Ganesha. (See my earlier post- Gokarna – Pilgrimage and Pleasure). However, the story does not end here. It is believed that, in his anger, Ravana flung aside the materials which covered the lingam- the casket, its lid, the string around the lingam, and the cloth covering it. All these items became lingams as soon as they touched the ground. These four lingams, along with the main Mahabaleshwara lingam are collectively called the ‘ Panchalingams’ . These are: Mahabaleshwara – the main lingam Sajjeshwar – the casket carrying the lingam. This temple is about 35 Kms from Karwar, and is a 2 hour drive from Gokarna. Dhareshwar – the string covering the lingam. This temple is on NH17, about 45 Kms south of Gokarna. Gunavanteshw

Rama Temple, Gokarna

To my right , the waves rush to the shore, eager to merge with the sand. To my left, the same waves crash against the rocks, their spray diverting my reverie as I ponder over the beauty of nature, and wonder what first brought people here. Was it this beauty that encouraged them to build a temple here, or was it the fresh, sweet spring water flowing from the hill here that made this place special? No matter what the reason, I am glad my auto driver brought me here. We are at the Rama temple in Gokarna, just a few minutes away from the Mahabaleshwara Temple, yet offering so different a perspective.

Review of Executive Lounges at New Delhi Railway Station (NDLS)

During my recent trip to Uttarakhand , I was faced with a problem I had never encountered before. We were passing through Delhi, but we had hardly any time in the city. On earlier visits when I have had to change trains/flights at Delhi, I have always arrived in the morning and left again at night, visiting relatives in between. This time, I was arriving in the city at night, and leaving again early in the morning. There was hardly any time to visit people. I would only have a couple of hours with them before I’d have to leave again. For the first time, we considered booking a hotel, but there again, we were hesitant about the actual hotels, the costs involved, and the logistics of getting from the airport to the railway station and then back again from the station to the airport.  That’s when we remembered reading something about a corporate-managed lounge at Delhi station. We soon figured out that we could book online and pay by the hour. Besides, we also learnt that there wasn’t ju