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 http://www.travelwithmukul.wordpress.com.
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.
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.
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?
Symbolically each and every bird, animal tree and plant finds a place in the Puranic stories ensuring their existence over time.
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.