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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 8 - Teerthams

Teerthams are holy bodies of water situated in the vicinity of temples. Pilgrims bathe in them before visiting the temple, and it is water from such sources which is usually used to bathe the deity. Tirumala has many such Teerthams, among which the most famous one is certainly the Swami Pushkarini – the lake situated right outside the temple – which is believed to have been brought here all the way from Vaikuntam!

But there are many other such Teerthams located all over the hills. Here are some of them…  

Papavinasam 


This is considered one of the most sacred Teerthams on Tirumala. For years, water for bathing the Lord used to be brought from here. There is now a dam here which controls the flow of water, and allows its use for other purposes. I remember visiting this place many years ago, when there was lots of water, and crowds of pilgrims were bathing. On this trip however, there was water all around from the various waterfalls, but there was just a trickle here, and even then there were crowds thronging for just a few drops of the sacred water….. Rather a pity that nobody had eyes for the beauty all around…….


Akasaganga 



Akasaganga literally means Ganga from the heavens. Here, however, Akasaganga teertham refers to a waterfall on the Tirumala hills. As with most sacred places, this one too has a story behind it – Once, Tirumalai Nambi, one of the most ardent devotees of the Lord, was carrying water from Papavinasam to the temple. He was met along the way by an old hunter, who asked him for water to quench his thirst. Tirumalai Nambi refused, saying that the water was meant for the Lord; and not for an untouchable like the hunter. At this, the hunter pierced the pot with his arrow and drank all the water. When Tirumalai Nambi protested, the hunter drew his bow and directed an arrow at the hillock, from which gushed out water. As Tirumalai Nambi stood, mesmerized by the sight, the hunter asked the sage to use the pure water for the Lord’s bath, and disappeared. Tirumalai Nambi was now convinced that the hunter was none other than the Lord himself, and from then, water from here is used for the Lord. It is believed that this waterfall originates at the feet of the Lord himself!


Chakra Teertham

This one is believed to have been formed by the Sudarshan Chakra of the Lord, and I have already written about it. You can read that post at 

http://anushankarn.blogspot.com/2010/12/tirupati-part-6-chakra-teertham.html

The following Teerthams are also on the hills, and accessible by short treks. I have not yet visited any of them, but have heard lots about them, and these are certainly interesting places to visit.

Jabali Teertham

This is where the sage Jabali performed penance and there’s a pond as well as a temple to Lord Hanuman beside it. It is considered a very sacred spot, but is not much visited because it involves a short walk (about 1 Km) to reach here. I too have not yet visited this, but you can read a wonderful account of this teertham at

Sanaka Sanandana Teertham

These are twin ponds named after the sages Sanaka and Sanandana who performed penance here. Read about a visit to these ponds at

Tumburu Teertham

Situated well inside the forest, the Tumburu teertham is one I have heard about, but know absolutely no details. To know more about this one, go to

Kumaradhara Teertham

Another waterfall in the heart of the jungle, this one is connected to Kumara or Karthikeya… Again, no details about this one which I wonder if I shall ever have the fortune to visit, but read an interesting account of the falls at

There are still more Teerthams all over the hill, all of which involve some amount of trekking. Unfortunately, (or maybe, fortunately…..) many people don’t visit these places, so not much information is available. Some of these are….

Vaikunta Teertham

Sesha Teertham

Pandava Teertham

Sitamma Teertham

Pasupu Teertham

Ramakrishna Teertham

Gogarbham


Gogarbham is another body of water, a source of a stream, which is considered to be a holy place. Today, a dam has been built here too…..



All the Teerthams mentioned so far are located on the hill. Most of them are in the forest range of Papavinasam. The only teertham at the foothills is the

Kapila teertham



This is where the sage Kapila is believed to have meditated, and there is a temple to Lord Shiva here. This is the only Shiva temple which is counted among the Vaishnavite temples of Tirupati. This is because the sage Kapila himself is believed to be an incarnation of Lord Vishnu. Located right next to a waterfall, the temple is a beautiful sight, and unfortunately is thronged by pilgrims at all times of the day!

There are lots of such interesting places on Tirumala, especially waterfalls and plenty of trekking opportunities. Read about one such interesting trip at

This at last concludes my series on Tirumala – not the entire Tirupati tour, but just Tirumala – the hills. We had hired a jeep to visit all the places of interest on the hill, and it cost us about Rs. 500. The bus is an easier and cheaper option, costing just Rs. 10 per person, but the buses are all point to point, and having Samhith with us, we did not relish the prospect of having to get in and out of different buses all the time…..besides, the jeep gave us the option of lingering on at places we liked, and rushing off from places we didn’t want to be in!

There’s lot more coming up, now about places to visit on the foothills and the temples around Tirupati, so look out for the posts coming up!
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Comments

  1. Wow... What beautiful pics!!
    And you have really described all the places very well indeed!!
    I have only visited some of these places during my 3 trips to Tirupati!! Dint even knew such places existed!
    Thanks for this lovely information...

    ReplyDelete
  2. Loved the last pic. as well Samhith in Chakra theertham.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Oh this is so interesting. I have been to Tirupati so many times in my childhood but never knew any of this.

    And btw, the blog's new look is good. It has a nice and clean look and feel. Congrats!

    ReplyDelete
  4. My camera is itching to visit these Theerthams... Very useful set of links as well Anu.. Will add a day to my next Tirupathi trip, for sure. I have only visited Agasa Ganga,Papanaasam and Kapila Theertham.. the others look enticing...!

    ReplyDelete
  5. wow..what a treasure trove of stories and pics..i have always been less interested in tirumala and tirupathi and didnt know there was so much around..one of yr best series anu :)

    ReplyDelete
  6. Hi Anu,
    This is so wonderful to read and learn about...I am loving it. I hope to visit a few of these places...God willing ie...I had not known of these gems before...They are so lovely and peaceful.......Thank you for sharing them here...Will be referring to the post when i plan our trip.....
    Happy Holidays to you and your loving family!
    And thank you so much for dropping by my blog too...
    -Subadra

    ReplyDelete
  7. @Arti: thanks so much! I didnt know about many of these either! even now, i hardly know the location of so many of them.. this was just an attempt to make more people aware of such places... and the hope that i will be able to visit them sometime!

    @Chitra: thanks.... Samhith will be thrilled to hear that!

    @Mridula: I was hardly able to do justice to it... it was dark, and water was pouring away! it was fascinating!

    @Sankara: thanks a lot.... i didnt know about many of these either :)

    @sridharan: you will have to add more than a day to visit all these :) and be prepared. most of them involve some trekking!

    @Lakshmi: thanks so much! and there s a lot more!!

    @Sravani: thanks so much! i have a feeling ur kids would love visiting some of these places... it will take them off the beaten track! wish u happy holidays too!

    ReplyDelete

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