Venkateswara Temple, Tirumala
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 Lord Sri Venkateswara, an incarnation 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. Lord Venkateswara is known by many other names: Balaji, Govinda, and Srinivasa.
- Early Indian visitors to the Taj, who came either as pilgrims or sightseers, were far outnumbered by those going elsewhere. And this continues. Today it is seen by two million Indians per year. The Tirupati temple in southern India, meanwhile welcomes nearly twelve million pilgrims per year. Yet it is the Taj that is recognized as the symbol of India.
- A religious minority is a law unto itself. The institutions run by it enjoy protection both from their staff as well as from the Government. Their properties are safe and their management secure from Government intervention, very unlike institutions run by Hindus which enjoy no such protection and which are subject to all kinds of interference from a Government which takes pride in being ‘secular’, and which has developed aversion of secularity informed by anti-Hindu animus. The Indian Express reports ( 28/29 January, ’86 ) that the famous temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh has been ordered to pay rupees twenty crores as tax on the “sales” of prasadam since 1975! The Aurangzebi spirit is very much alive. Favoured treatment and discriminatory taxes have been used by Governments in the past to promote particular culture-groups and destroy others.
- Ram Swarup, Ramakrishna Mission. (1986). Ramakrishna Mission: In search of a new identity.