Sacred Forests

Garudaji and gateway to Heaven
Garudaji and gateway to Heaven
evergreen sacred forest
evergreen sacred forest

I was fortunate to be summoned by Lord Venkateswara ( Vishnuji)  to his abode on Earth  located on the Tirumala Hills  near Tirupathi in Andhra Pradesh.

The Tirupathi Tirumala Temple dedicated to Lord Venkateswara on Venkatchala hill ( one of the seven hills comprising Tirumala Hills) is well known as the ultimate pilgrimage centre for Hindus.

For the trip to Tirupathi see my blog

Hindu mythology bonds man and  nature with the Supreme Being  in an enchanting way.

The Tirumala Hills themselves become the abode of the Creator( Lord Vishnu in the form of Lord Venkateswara) after he rescues the Earth ( Bhumi) from the the underworld.

Many temples in this region  have depicted Bhumi with Sri ( Lakshmiji) alongwith Lord Venkateswara.

The Venkatchala Hills are home to a beautiful sacred forest.Protected for hundreds of years by the temple  The mountain itself is a demi god (devta)  and revered and prayed to ensuring that all ( flora and fauna) that  reside on it  are protected by the Lord himself.

This bond strikes you between the eyes at  this world famous temple site.The hills  are lush green and home to sandalwood trees and red sanders besides many endemic trees.

The Tirumala Hills protected by evergreen  trees
The Tirumala Hills protected by evergreen trees

It is a model for environmentalists across the world as to how a forest can be preserved.

As you drive up from Tirupathi the magic of the sacred forest envelops you , calming your senses as you approach the abode of the Creator.

The air becomes cooler and  various sacred forests ( Vanams) are demarcated and named after various rishis ( sages) like Durvasha vanam etc.

vanam means forest
vanam means forest

Two trees the “tamarind”  and “champak”  trees are supposed to be the abodes of Lord Vishnu and Goddess Lakshmi  respectively.This is mentioned in the ancient texts the “Puranas” in particular the Skanda Purana where the story of King Tondaman is unveiled.

Cutting of trees is forbidden to construct the temple also.

The vehicle of Lord Vishnu is none other than Garuda ( the king of eagles) . Can anyone kill a bird on the hills with this belief?

Hills in the form of of Garudaji, vehicle of Lord Vishnu
Hills in the form of of Garudaji, vehicle of Lord Vishnu

Symbolically each and every bird, animal tree and plant finds a place in the Puranic stories ensuring their existence over time.

Narsimha avatar of Lord Vishnu
Narsimha avatar of Lord Vishnu

The temple todate has its own flower and medicinal herb gardens  from where fragrant flowers are picked and offered to the ruling diety.

The smell of sandalwood and tulsi( basil)  enlighten your senses as you bow before the Lord in the garba griha ( sanctum sanctorum of the temple) and experience Ananta( never ending)   bliss in his sacred forest.



Published by

mukul chand

51 year old entrepreneur who has traveled extensively around the world for work and pleasure , is based in New Delhi, India. A passionate traveler born with a love for flora and fauna, is an active naturalist and amateur photographer. Here he shares his unique insight into Incredible India revealing its mysterious and exotic treasures. Writing from his heart he shares his experiences as he crisscrosses this vast and amazing land.

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