Story of The Construction Of Tirumala Tirupati Temple And The Launching Of Brahmotsavams
Thondaiman, brother of King Akasa Raja, had clearly noticed at the time of his brother’s daughter Princess Padmavathi’s (Goddess Padmavathi) marriage with Srinivasa (Lord Srinivasa), how all the Gods and Goddesses have specially come from the Deva Loka to witness the marriage.
He had also seen how so many great Sages like Agastya, Suka and Vasishta Maha Muni have come from far off places to bless the divine couple.
After that, Thondaiman was thoroughly convinced that his brother Akasa Raja’s son in law Srinivasa is none other than Lord Sri Maha Vishnu Himself who had come to this world to save His devotees from the sins and evils of the Kaliyuga.
After that great realization Thondaiman became a big devotee of Lord Srinivasa and took many favors from Him, including His Conch and Sudarsana Chakra which he later used during a war..
(It is for this reason alone Lord Sri Venkateswara’s Moola Virat in Tirumala Temple today doesn’t have the Sankha Chakras except only two decoration pieces that are hanging around His arms)
A few months after performing his daughter Padmavathi’s marriage with Srinivasa, King Akasa Raja passed away.. Then there was big battle between Akasa Raja’s brother Thondaiman and son Vasudasa to capture the departed king’s throne.
On Padmavathi’s request,Lord Srinivasa intervened and divided the kingdom into two regions finally leaving thirty two villages to Padmavathi who as she rightfully deserves a claim in her father’s property.
Later, Lord Srinivasa along with Padmavathi left for Sage Agastya Maha Muni’s Asram (Hermitage) and settled there..
After a few months,King Thondaiman, who had by then established a name for himself as a great king, a greater administrator and the greatest devotee of Lord Srinivasa started feeling terribly restless for not being able to see Lord Srinivasa as frequently as he would earlier see Him when He was staying close to his kingdom There was also a feeling of guilt in Thondaiman’s mind that he is solely responsible for the death of a few members of a noble Brahmin family who were great devotees of Lord Srinivasa.
Although Lord Srinivasa brought all those Brahmin family members back to life, He too was upset with King Thondaiman’s irresponsible behavior towards His devotees.
And one fine morning, King Thondaiman went to Sage Agastya’s Asram and sought the personal audience of Lord Srinivasa. On being granted permission for the same, he prostrated before the Holy Lotus feet of Lord Srinivasa and said:
“..O’ my beloved Lord Srinivasa.. You are the creator of this universe and You are the only one who is controlling the life of every living being existing in this Universe..Out of my ignorance I could not all these days honor You the way a divine Lord like You is meant to be honored..”
“.May be because I considered You more as my relative than as the supreme commander of the Cosmic forces ruling this world..My Lord, I have now realized all my mistakes.. Please forgive me for my ignorance and also for all the mistakes I have so far committed – either knowingly or unknowingly – in my life ”
“.. Am fed up with this life I have so far lived and am also fed up with all the politics that I have so far conducted..Am tired My Lord and do not wish to lead this life this way anymore.. ”
“My Lord..This glory is miserable.. This wealth is miserable.. These pleasures are miserable.. These luxuries are miserable.. These battles for supremacy are miserable and this way of leading a royal life with fake diplomacy is furthermore miserable.. ”
“..O’ my Lord.. I beg you to please understand my agony and grant me permission to lead the rest of my life as a servant at your Holy Lotus Feet.. Only this noble service at your Feet can offer some solace to this sin filled pilgrim’s mind.. You have given me enough for this life and I don’t need anything more.. Please bless me My Lord.. Please bless me..”
Saying so the powerful King Thondaiman broke down at the Lotus feet of Lord Srinivasa. Holding him by his shoulders, Lord Srinivasa lifted him up and said:
“..O King. You have pleased me with your devotion.. Am convinced.. Now listen to me carefully.. I have come into this world with a purpose and it’s now complete after my marriage with Padmavathi”.
“Hereafter my duty and responsibility towards the mankind begins..Time has now come for me to leave this human form and shift into the form of a stone Deiity.”
“..However, to all the holy Sages,Gods and true devotees I would still be visible in a human form if not in this form but certainly in some other human form.. But in whatever form he may see me a true devotee would certainly identify me..”
“.. I shall now go up the Seshadri hill along with Padmavathi and would reside there to offer My blessings to the devotees who would come to see Me.. It is also my responsibility to protect all my devotees from the evils of this sin filled Kaliyuga.”
“..Am now granting you the opportunity to construct a temple for me on the Seshachala hill at the place offered to Me by Sri Varaha Swamy on the Southern side of Pushkarini..”
Saying so Lord Srinivasa personally took King Thondaiman on to the Seshachala hill and showing him a particular place near the Pushkarini said..
“..Atraiva Kaaryam, Rajendra Chaityam, Poorva Mukham Subham, Gopura Dwaya Samyuktham, Praakara Traya Mavyayam, Saptha Dwaara Varopetham, Dehalee Torananvitham, Dhwaja Sthambha Varopetha Sarva Lakshana Samyutham..” (Bhavishyathoththara Purana)
“O Raja in the Temple you are going to construct for me I want the entire Temple to have seven entrances, three baileys and two domes with the main entrance facing the Eastward direction..I also want all the facilities in the Temple like Asthana Mandapam, Yaaga Mandapam, Snapana Mandapam, Vastrala Gadhi (Room for silk robes),Bali Peetham (Altar Of Sacrifice) and Dhwaja Sthanbham (Flag Staff).. ”
Later Lord Srinivasa took him to a nearby place and showing a tree said “Look at this Tamarind tree.. This tree offered me great service and hence is so beloved to me.”
Preserve it carefully and leave ample space for this tree in the Temple..”
Later King Thondaiman had built the Temple exactly the way he was instructed by Lord Srinivasa to build it.. In fact Thondaiman much to the pleasure of Lord Srinivasa had recreated the entire Vaikunta (Lord Vishnu’s celestial abode) on the Seshachala hill..
Consecrated with Vedic hymns by the Sages and Gods, the Temple tower was named Ananda Nilayam, the abode of happiness.
During the celebrations Lord Brahma took a promise from Lord Srinivasa that He would reside on the Seshachala Hills till the end of the 28th Kaliyuga and redeem the sins of all the devotees who would visit the Tirumala Temple.
Lord Srinivasa smiled and agreed.
Later Lord Brahma lighted two oil lamps inside the Garbha Griha of the temple and said
“These oil lamps will burn eternally until the end of this Kaliyuga and in the end these lamps would go off on their own thus signalling the end of Kaliyuga. Later Lord Srinivasa would go back to Vaikunta and this Ananda Nilayam collapses..”
Saying so, Lord Brahma turned to Lord Srinivasa and said..”..My Lord what else You want me to do for the welfare of Your mankind..”
Lord Srinivasa smiled again and said. “.. My son..now arrange for a separate festival for Me wherein right from Dhwajarohanam to Rathotsavam am taken out in a procession on one celestial vehicle each day..”
“This festival enables My devotees to have a close look at Me and also to offer their services to Me. You must personally stay and conduct this festival every year as long as am residing on these Seshachala hills..”
Lord Brahma obliged and immediately called for King Thondaiman and told him:
“O Raja.. Make quick arrangements for the construction of rich and colorful chariots that are decorated with Golden umbrellas.. Our celestial architect Viswakarma will assist you during the making of these Chariots and you may take his support in accomplishing this task at the earliest..”
Lord Brahma then called for Viswakarma and introduced him to King Thondaiman and ordered him to offer whatever support Thondaiman may require.
Later, personally supervising every aspect of the festival, Lord Brahma, as per the instructions of Lord Srinivasa, invited all Gods and Goddesses to the festival, He had also sent invitations to the Kings of Anga, Vanga, Kalinga, Kashi, Kambhoji, Kerala, Virata, Jaangala, Pegandula, Barbhara, Pandyam, Chedhi, Matsya and Sindhu kingdoms among others.
Finally on an auspicious day (Vidiya) when the Sun God entered Kanya Rasi, and amid chanting of Vedic hymns by Lord Brahma and all other Gods and holy Sages, the first grand festival of Sri Vari Brahmotsavams began on a never before seen grand scale, with the first event of Dhwajarohanam on the holy Tirumala hill.
Initially, these Utsavams were called Srinivasotsavams but much later became popular as Tirumala Brahmotsavams.