Built in: Between 1877 and 1902
Dedicated to: Lord Venkateshwara
Significance: an ancient shrine of Lord Venkateshwara
Sri Venkateswara Swami Vari Devasthanam is a religious shrine that is located in a small village, by the name Dwaraka Tirumala in Andhra Pradesh. Dwaraka Tirumala falls under the West Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh, India. The village is exceptionally famous for its holy shrine dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara. Dwaraka Tirumala is near to Eluru (the head quarters of West Godavari District) that lies at a distance of 40 kms. However, one can easily reach Dwaraka Tirumala by taking tourist buses or by hiring taxis throughout Andhra Pradesh.
This highly revered shrine is regarded as the miniature form of ‘Tirupati’ or ‘Chinna Tirupathi’. Actually, the temple was named after the great saint ‘Dwaraka’, who took the initiative to place the idol of Lord Venkateshwara. Dwaraka (Saint) did strict penance on ‘Valmikam’ (ant hill) to bring the self-manifested idol of Lord Venkateswara to this place. In fact, the village derived its name from the same temple. Sri Venkateshwara is regarded as ‘Kaliyuga Vaikuntha Vasa’, who is the dispeller of all worldly charms and attractions.
The main shrine encompasses the sanctum sanctorum where the self-manifested deity of Lord Venkateshwara is placed. This idol is visible till the bust and the lower part is regarded as to be immersed in the Earth. The sacred feet of the Lord, are known to be worshipped in ‘Patala’. The full-scale idol of Lord Venkateshwara stands at the back of the main image. It is believed to have been placed by Srimad Ramanuja, a great social reformer of the 11th century.
The main idol is the smaller one, which is said to be the benefactor of ‘Moksha’ (salvation). The full-scale idol represents Dharma (Religion), Artha (Meaning) and Kama (Worldly affairs). The ‘Tiru kalyanotsavam’ is the major festival that is observed in Dwaraka Tirumala Temple. The festival for the self-manifested idol (small idol) is celebrated in the month of “Vaisakha”, while for the installed idol is celebrated in the month of “Aswayuja”.
In the temple complex, there are many shrines that are dedicated to different forms of the God. Amongst all of them, Sri Swamy Vari Temple, Anjaneya Swamy Vari, Sri Garuda Swamy Vari Temples, Deeparadhana Temple and Alwar Temples are truly worth-visiting. Statues of Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya and Sage ‘Dwaraka’ inspire the awe of the onlooker with their mastery of sculpture.
Dwaraka Tirumala Temple is supposed to be an ancient shrine that traces its origin in Kruta Yuga. As per the Brahma Purana, Aja Maharaja (Grandfather of Lord Rama) worshipped Lord Venkateshwara intended for his marriage. On his way to the ‘Swayamvaram’ of Indumati, he crossed the temple of Dwarka. However, he didn’t stop to pay homage to the Lord. Indumati (Grandmother of Lord Rama) garlanded him, yet he had to face a combat with the Kings. He apprehended that the combat was plunged on him, since he overlooked the temple on the way. On realizing, Aja Maharaja pleaded to Lord Venkateshwara to forgive him and the combat was stopped.
The temple has been renovated several times. The splendid structures like Vimana, Mantapa, Gopura and Prakara are accredited to be made by Dharma Appa Raoa (1762-1827). Various golden ornaments and silver vahanas were gifted by Rani Chinnamma Rao (1877-1902) of Mylavaram. The structure of the temple is a magnum opus of South Indian architecture.
The main Rajagopuram (spire) comprises five storeys and faces the southern direction. The other three ‘gopurams’ are embracing the three other sides of the temple. The Vimana is made out in the Nagara style. The old Mukha Mantapa is renovated and extended to go well with the contemporary requirements. The entire spacious complex has been tiled with sandstone. A variety of trees adores the site with their soothing appearance.