Visit to Birmingham Venkateswara temple

the hindu temple of shri venkateswara (balaji) in tividal, birmingham.

the hindu temple of shri venkateswara (balaji) in tividal, birmingham.

I have been rather lax about posting recently, and it is several weeks since we visited the Venkateswara mandir in Birmingham, UK. This is a very impressive temple, as can be seen in the picture (courtesy of San Sharma, released on the creative commons license). The main temple is fronted by two smaller temples, one dedicated to Shri Ganesha and one to Shri Murugan (Kartikaya). The The main temple has Venkateswara at the centre, and also had other deities including Lakshmi and Hanuman.

Like all the other Mandirs I have visited, we were all made welcome. I mention this again, because I think it important that westerners know that  they will be welcomed, many are worried as I was before my first visit to a Hindu temple.  We received a blessing and Jal (holy water). Unlike the gulab jal (sweet rose-flavoured water) that I have received in other temples, this jal was spiced with what I thought was a hint of ginger. A commenter has since told me that it was not ginger,but thulasi (tulsi) leaves, cardamom and saffron.

Though Venkateswara is associated with Vishnu as the destroyer of sins, the layout, ambiance and association made me think of Lord Shiva.I have since discovered that I am not alone in this. I have found many articles indicating that the Tirumala Venkateswara Temple (the richest temple in India) is a pilgrimage for many Shaivites, who know him as  Tirupati Thimmappa. One site says:

This idol is unique in the structure it depicts both Vaishnavites (followers of Lord Vishnu) and Saivites (followers of Lord Siva). The idol has jata, the mated locks and this is associated with Durga Devi. According to Vamana Purana, Skanda (the Lord Subramanya) performed tapas at Venakatachalam and that the sacred tank at Thirumala is known as Swami Pushkarani. This suggests that the idol could have been that of Subramanya. There are other marks on the idol, which suggests that He is a symbol of Hari-Hara, which means Vishnu and Siva symbolised in one form. This could be the reason that many families of Saivites origin worship Lord Venkateswara as their Kula Deiyvam, which means their family God.

The Birmingham Venkateswara mandir has a peaceful spiritual ambience, which will be appreciated by any visiting Hindus, whatever lineage they follow. If you are in the UK it makes a good pilgrimage destination.

Aum Namah Shivaya


7 responses to “Visit to Birmingham Venkateswara temple

  1. Not ginger,but Thulasi leaves,cardamom and saffron{in all Perumal[vishnu ]temples of South Indian Traditions}

  2. Any time.

  3. Any time Friend.You are welcome to ask .If I know I would share.

    Posted on December 29, 2009 by waterfriend | Edit
    There are several temples in and around the town.

    Vatakunnathan Shiva temple, in the centre of the town dominates the whole landscape, with a gentle sope towards all directions. Inside its massive walls, you feel as if in a different world. There is Sankaranarayana idol (unique, as Shaiva and Vaishnava cult co- exist in Keralam), in addition to Shivalingam.

    To the east, is Paramekavu Devi temple and at the north, is Krishna temple. These two temples compete with one another, to make the Pooram festival a grand success, made much of by the Tourism Department.

    Some 14 kms. along the Triprayar (Ram temple) road, is the grand Peruvanam temple (see my blog), with the Thiruvullakav Sastha temple, Subrahmanya temple at Thayamkulangara, Bhagavathy temple at Cherpu, Oorakath Ammathiruvady (the only temple of Mahalakshmy in this area), all within walking distance. While in Keralam, I used to cover all these in my morning walk.

    Autorickshaws are available for short distances, if you do not have a car.

    By noon, you can return to the town and see an excellent view from Velangan kunnu near Amala hospital.

    The Kodungallur Kali temple is locally famous, as is the Triprayar Ram temple; but these are on different routes.

    Temples of Ram at Triprayar, Bharat at Irinjalakuda, Lakshman at Mozhikunnu, and Shathrughna, all can be visited in one day. Tour operators are providing arrangements during the holy month of Karkidakam (July) second half.

  5. Pingback: Visiting the Amman temple Ealing | Western Hindu

  6. This is one of the most beautiful temples that me and my wife visited 2 years ago. I especially loved the Shree Balaji (Lord Murugan) and Hanuman idols within the main temple building. Reminded me of my visits to Tirupati Balaji temple in India when I was younger.

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