Cascading gracefully in the temple town of Tirupati in Chittor district, Andhra Pradesh, the celestial range of Tirumala hills (known as Saptagiri), the earthly abode of Lord Venkateshwara is perched at 3200 ft above the sea level. Observe carefully and you shall notice that it is in fact a set of seven adris (hills) and represent the seven hoods of Adishesha, the Serpent of Lord Vishnu.
Read on to soak in this auspicious magnitude of Tirumala:
It was almost the end of Satya Yuga (Satyug or Age of Truth) and the dawn of Kali Yuga (Kalyug or Age of Downfall) when Lord Vishnu requested Sage Narada to aid him in finding a suitable location on earth where he could dwell during Kalyug, for, he was sure that the people of Kalyug would forget the Gods as well as their invaluable spiritual significance.
With due respect to the Supreme One, Sage Narada suggested Lord Venkateshwara, this place in South India, where a piece of Heaven could be brought to earth, which would be an apt place for Him to incarnate for the betterment of man during Kalyug. Adishesha, the Serpent, too, decided to follow Lord Vishnu to earth and took the form of the seven hills, now known as Tirumala.
Each hood of Adisesha is named below as, per the spiritual inclinations it carries:
Seshadri means the hill of snakes and it also resembles Adisesha, the Serpent on which Lord Vishnu reclines in Heaven.
The Story: According to holy Hindu texts, before the incarnation of Lord Vishnu as Venkateshwara on earth, an ego tiff between Adisesha and Vayu Dev to prove their supremacy disturbed the calm heavens. Vayu Dev believed that like Lord Vishnu, he too was omnipresent and that the world could not sustain without him. This angered Adisesha who raised one of his hoods to retaliate, but Vayu Dev’s incredible force was so intense that it blew Adisesha off his grounds and plunge him into planet Earth. Vayu Dev regretted this later and approached Adisesha on Earth to apologize for his action and asked for his forgiveness. Adisesha, being a humble servant of the Lord replied that it was only the wish of the Lord that he would reside on earth as Seshadri hills to serve Lord Vishnu who was about to incarnate in the southern part of India.
Seshadri also represents the Mooladhar chakra where the divine power of the Serpent, the Kundalini, resides.
‘Garuda’ means eagle, which is Lord Vishnu’s vahana (carrier). Garudadri means the Hill of the Eagle. It is located near Venkata Hill, which is the residence of Lord Vishnu.
The Story: When earth was captivated by the terrifying demon ‘Hiranyaaksha’, Lord Vishnu incarnated as White Boar to save the planet. By releasing her from the mighty clutches of the demon, Mother Earth was pleased to be free and requested Lord Vishnu that he stayed with her. Hence, the Lord asked Garuda to bring a part from the Heavens to earth, which is now known as Garudadri Hills.
Garudadri represents the Anahat Chakra or the Heart Chakra.
Neela Devi was a Gandharva princess who sacrificed her hair for the sake of Shree Balaji when he was injured on his scalp. Neeladri is one of the hills named after her, for her 'egoless' sacrifice.
The Story: Lord Balaji was hit by a Shepherd on the head and a part of his scalp turned bald. Neela Devi noticed this and sensed that such a charming face of the Lord should always remain flawless. She immediately cut a portion of her hair and implanted it on the Lords scalp with her magical powers. Her sacrifice did not go waste. Since hair is a beautiful asset of women, Lord Balaji promised Neela Devi that His devotees would offer their hair to Him when they come to his abode to seek blessings and she would be the recipient of all the hair donated by them. Offering of hair is considered as dropping one's ego.
Neeladri represents the Ajna Chakra or the Third Eye.
Anjandri is the Hill of Hanuman as he is known to have taken birth here.
The Story: Kesari and his wife Anjani, prayed intensely to Lord Shiva to be blessed with a son. Anjani was an Apsara (nymph) who was born on earth as a vanara (ape) and would be redeemed from the curse only on giving birth to a son. Lord Shiva blessed them with a son whom we worship as Lord Hanuman.
Anjanadri represents the Vishuddha Chakra or the Throat Chakra.
Vrushabadri is the Hill of Nandi (the bull), the vahana (carrier) of Lord Shiva.
The Story: A devil by the name of Vrushabasura was a devotee of Lord Shiva. He had a very strange way of worshipping his Lord. He would cut off his head each day and offer it to Lord Shiva and by the grace of the Lord, the severed head would unite immediately with the body of Vrushabasura. Finally, Vrushabasura was killed in a fight with Lord Shiva as per his own request to the Lord. Ultimately, Vrushabasura was defeated and before he died, he made a request to Lord Shiva that the hill on which would die, be named after him.
Vrushabadri represents the Svadhishthana Chakra, which governs the sexual health/function of our body.
One of the Saptagiri hills is named Narayanadri in honor of Narayanarishi or Narad Muni.
The Story: It is said that Narad Muni did penance on this hill to see Lord Vishnu. On Narada’s request, Lord Brahma guided him to a place appropriate to carry out his penance without disturbance. Lord Vishnu was pleased with Narada Muni’s prayers and granted him a boon and that the hill on which he did his penance would be known by his name.
Narayanadri represents the Manipura Chakra whose presiding deity is Lord Vishnu Himself.
The seventh peak of the Saptagiri is Venkatadri, the residence of Lord Venkateshwara. The sacred temple of Shree Balaji is located here. It is the place of incarnation of the Lord Himself. Venkata means the destroyer of sins and hence the name, Venkatadri, the hill which destroys all sins.
Venkatadri represents the Sahasrara Chakra or the Crown Chakra located above the top of one’s head.
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