Dwaraka Tirumala is an ancient holy place and a popular pilgrim centre in Eluru District in Andhra Pradesh.
This pilgrimage centre is called “Dwaraka Tirumala” after the great saint, “Dwaraka” who located the self-manifested (Swayambhu) murti of Bhagwan “Sri Venkateswara” after severe penance in a ‘Valmikam’ (ant hill). According to Brahma Purana, Aja Maharaja, the grandfather of Sri Rama worshiped Bhagwan Venkateswara for his marriage. On his way to the ‘Swayamvaram’ of Indumati, he passed by the temple but did not offer prayers in the temple.
In the Swayamvaram the bride Indumati garlanded him, but he had to face a battle with the kings who came to the Swayamvaram. He realized that the battle was thrust on him for not worshipping Bhagwan Balaji in the temple on the way. After realizing this, Aja Maharaja prayed to the Bhagwan Balaji and miraculously the kings stopped the battle.
Two main murtis
This temple has a rare and very unique distinction of having two main murtis under one Vimana Sikharam. One murti is a full and complete statue whereas the other is a half statue of the upper portion of the form of the Lord. The upper portion of the form is a self-manifested murti located by Sage “Dwaraka”. The saints of the yore felt the prayers to the Lord are not complete without worshipping His holy feet. So, a full statue behind the self-manifested murti was installed, to worship the feet of the Lord according to Vaikhanasa Agamam. The full-size murti of Bhagwan Sri Venkateswara standing at the back of the main murti is said to have been installed by the great social reformer Srimad Ramanuja of the 11th century.
On entering the sanctum sanctorum, one feels very spiritual and gets enchanting experience. The presiding deity Bhagwan Venkateswara is visible up to the bust size and the lower portion is imagined to be in the earth. The holy feet are said to be offered to Bali Chakravarthi in “Patala” for his daily worship. The mueris of His consorts Padmavathi and Nanchari are installed in the Arthamandapa facing east.
This place is also called “Chinna Tirupati” (meaning mini Tirupati in Telugu). The devotees who wish to go and offer their donations, or tonsures or any other offerings to Bhagwan Venkateswara, of Tirumala Tirupati, (called as “Pedda Tirupati” i.e., main or big Tirupati), if they are unable to go there due to some reason, they go and offer their donations, prayers and worship in Dwaraka Tirumala temple.
It is believed that the prayers in this temple to the smaller statue of the Lord (bust size) will lead to Moksha, and the big form (full size murti) stands for Dharma, Artha and Kama.
Union of Saivism and Vaishnavism
There are two temples in Dwaraka Tirumala, one for Bhagwan Venkateswara and another for Bhagwan Mallikarjuna (Shiva) on the hillock. The most peculiar aspect in Dwaraka Tirumala is that the hill appearing to be in a serpent form, confirms the itihasa version that Anantha, the serpent king has taken up this terrestrial form of serpent hill and is carrying Bhagwan Mallikarjuna on the hood and Bhagwan Venkateswara on the tail, thus creating a harmonious union of Saivism and Vaishnavism at a single place.
The magnificent monuments like, Vimana, Mantapa, Gopura, Prakara etc., are constructed by Dharma Appa Rao a recent ruler (1762 – 1827) and the golden ornaments and silver vahanas are donated by queen Rani Chinnamma Rao of Mylavaram, Krishna Dist. (1877 – 1902).
The main temple is a masterpiece of Dakshin Bhartiya Architecture with its five-storied main Rajagopuram facing the south and three other gopurams on the other three sides. The Vimana is in the Nagara style and old Mukhamantapa is largely extended to suit the present-day needs. There are several temples of Alwars (12 poet saints of South India who espoused devotion to Bhagwan Vishnu in their songs) attached to the Prakara on all sides.
The whole spacious compound has been paved with stone and trees with flowers are grown in an organised manner which is a feast the eye of the pilgrims. In addition to the main temple there are several sub-temples (upalayas) and other mandapams like-
- Hanuman and Sri Garuda Temples
- Sage ‘Dwaraka’ Statue
- Alwar Temples
- Deeparadhana Temple
- Four corner Mandapams
- Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya Statue (the 15th century saint who was said to have composed and sang 32,000 keertanas on the praise of Bhagwan Balaji. Unfortunately, only 12,000 Keertanas are currently available, thanks to the efforts made by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam).
Abhishekam will not be performed to the deity here as half of the murti covered with the anthill. Annual Kalyanotsavam will be performed twice in the months of Vaikasa (for the self-manifested murti) and Aswayuja (installed murti) to mark the installation of two murtis. Annual Teppotsavam will be celebrated on Suddha Karthika Dwadasi.
Other important festivals
|Name of the festival||Hindu calender|
|Mukkoti/ Vykunta Dwara Darsanam||Dhanurmasa Ekadasi|
|Bhagwan Balaji’s Vysakha Masa tiru Kalyanam||Vysakha Suddha Chaturdasi|
|Pavitrotsavams||Sravana Suddha Trayodasi to Padyami|
|Bhagwan Balaji’s Aswayuja Masa tiru Kalyanam||Aswayuja Suddha Chaturdasi|
|Teppostavam (boat festival)||Kartika Suddha Dwadasi|
How to reach Dwaraka Tirumala Temple?
By Air: The nearest domestic airport is at Rajahmundry which is 77 km away.
By Train: The nearest Railway station is at Bheemadole which is 18 km away. Eluru Railway station is 37 km away.
By Road: The direct bus facility is available from Bheemadole, Eluru, Kakinada, Vijayawada and Rajahmundry bus stations at frequent intervals.