Dwaraka Tirumala is an ancient holy place and a popular pilgrim center in Andhra Pradesh of South India. Dwaraka Tirumala is close to Eluru, the head quarters of West Godavari District. It is close to the Bhimadolu junction, an important junction on the Chennai – Kolkata railway line and road way.
Devotees who wish to go and offer their devotion to Sri Venkateswara, Lord of Tirumala Tirupati, but are unable to make the journey may make the same offerings at Dwaraka Tirumala. The deity is the kula devata of the Zamindars of Mylavaram (krishna district). The current form of the temple has been built by the Zamindars of Mylavaram, a very old aristrocratic family of the region with a history going back to the imperial period of the Kakatiyas.
This pilgrimage centre is called Dwaraka Tirumala after the great saint, Dwaraka, who located the self manifested idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara after severe penance in a Valmikam (ant hill). The devotees call Sri Venkateswara as Kaliyuga Vaikunta Vasa. This place is also called Chinna Tirupati.
The sastras assert that the rivers of Aryavarta, like Ganga and Yamuna, are more sacred closer to their origins in the Himalayas, whereas those in the Dakshinavarta, like Krishna and Godavari are more sacred closer to the sea. This is why there are numerous shrines and holy bathing ghats, at close intervals, on both sides of the great rivers Krishna and Godavari in their coastal regions.
The region where Dwaraka Tirumala is located is garlanded by these two great and sacred rivers Krishna and Godavari, as pointed out by Brahma Purana.
The Puranas reveal that the temple was popular in the Kruta yuga and still attracts devotees to this day. The Brahma Purana recounts the instance of, Aja Maharaja, the Grand father of Sri Rama. Aja Chakravarti was a devotee of Sri Venkateswara. But on a certain day he was set on seeking the hand of Indumati in marriage. On his way to the Swayamvaram of Indumati, he passed by the temple but missed the halt for the moment of devotion that was his usual habit at the temple.
The bride Indumati garlanded him, but he had to face a battle with the remaining kings who came to the swayamvaram. He realized that the battle was thrust on him for ignoring the temple on the way. Aja Maharaja took a moment of silence and prayed to the Sri Venkateswara. As suddenly as the trouble had started, the assembly of kings who were intent on battle, desisted and dropped their claim on the bride.
It is a great wonder to see two main idols under one Vimana Sikharam. One idol is a full and complete statue. The other is a half statue of the upper portion of the form of the Lord. The upper potion of the form is a self-manifested idol located by Sage “Dwaraka”. The saints of yore felt that prayers to Sri Venkataswara are not complete without worshipping his holy feet. So, the saints joined together and installed a full statue behind the self-manifested idol, to worship the feet of the Lord according to Vaikhanasa Agamam. Ramanuja is said to have presided over the installation of this second murti.
The swayambhu murti is the path to Moksha, and the pratisthita murti is the bestower of, Dharma, Artha and Kama. The Tiru kalyanotsavam is celebrated twice a year. One for the self manifested idol in the month of “Vaisakha” and the other for the installed idol in the month of “Aswayuja”.
MAGNIFICIENCE OF THE SANCTUM SANCTORUM
On entering the sanctum sanctorum, one is immediately transported to a state of elation. The presence of the deity is intense and tangible. The presiding deity, Sri Venkateswara is visible upto the bust, the form in which the purana purusha gave darsana to maharishi Dwaraka. The lower portion of the form is the earth itself. His feet remain as a permanent presence in Patala for the daily worship by Bali Chakravarthi. The full size murti of Sri Venkateswara standing at the back of the main idol is said to have been installed by Srimad Ramanujacharya of the 11th century. Padmavathi and Nanchari are in the Arthamandapa facing east. This is a full equipped shrine to be a Divyasthala.
COMBINATION OF SIVA AND VISHNU ON ADISESHA:
The most peculiar aspect here is that the hill appearing to be a serpant in form, even to the naked eye, confirms the mythological version that Anantha, the serpant king has taken up this terrestial form of serpant hill and is carrying God Mallikarjuna on the hood and Lord Venkateswara on the tail, thus creating a happy and harmonious compromise of Vaishnavism and Saivism at a single place.
RENOVATION AND ORIGIN OF THE PRESENT STRUCTURE:
The magnificent monuments like, Vimana, Mantapa, Gopura, Prakara etc., stand to the credit of Dharma Appa Rao recent ruler (1762 – 1827) and the golden ornaments and silver vahanas were offered by the queen, Rani Chinnamma Rao of Mylavaram, Krishna Dist. (1877 – 1902). These offerings remain as permanent reminders of the dedication of the family to the service of the shrine.
The main temple is a masterpiece of South Indian 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 extended substantially to suit the present needs. There are several temples of Alwars attached to the Prakara on all sides. The whole spacious compound has been paved with stone and tastefully decorated with flower bearing trees to please the eye of pilgrims.