Dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara, an incarnation of Vishnu, the temple situated in the hill town of Tirumala at Tirupati is perhaps the most famous—and the richest—temple in the world. It is believed that Lord Vishnu appeared here to save mankind from the trials of the Kali Yuga. Lakhs of people visit it every day, with the kitchen serving free food to 65-70,000 people daily, while about 45-50,000 get their heads shaved at the temple’s sixteen tonsuring halls as a gift to the God. The Tirupati laddoo received a geographical indication (GI) tag in 2009 to denote its exclusivity to the temple—not so long ago, the temple’s estimated revenue was Rs 1750 million from laddoo sales alone!
This book is a photographic tribute to the Venkateshwara temple by the renowned photographer Raghu Rai, with a short introduction to its history by poet and writer Lekshmy Rajeev.