City of temples, Jammu readies for Tirupati shrine’s replica
The only temple of Lord Venkateswara in northern India, the addition is expected to give an impetus to religious tourism in the region.
A near-replica of one of the most revered Hindu shrines in the country, Lord Venkateswara’s temple at Tirumala in Tirupati, Andhra Pradesh, is all set for June 8 inauguration on 62 acres of land in Majeen on the outskirts of Jammu city.
The only temple of Lord Venkateswara in northern India, being constructed by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD), the addition is expected to give an impetus to religious tourism in the region.
TTD chairperson and former member of Parliament (MP) YV Subba Reddy said, “It is not exactly a replica of the original temple, but it remains a common practice that the design remains the same.”
Special temple building teams called “shatpatis” were involved, with Reddy saying, “They design these temples. So, the design remains almost the same but you can’t totally replicate the original structure.”
Jammu’s location at the foothills of Himalayas was key in the city being chosen for the construction.
“In north India, we have historic temples like Rishikesh, Kurukshetra and this part of Jammu and Kashmir is a holy place because the Himalayas are situated here. Earlier, we thought of building a temple, but could not get the land. However, post the revocation of Article 370, we requested the UT and they allotted us the land paving way for the construction of the temple,” the TTD chairperson said.
“We have received land allotment in Mumbai, where the Maharashtra government allotted us 10 acres of land. We will soon have a foundation stone ceremony there,” he said, adding, “TTD presently has temples in Bangalore, Kanyakumari, Chennai, Amravati, Visakhapatnam and Bhubaneswar. We have got proposals to build temples in Raipur of Chhattisgarh. We want to construct more temples as part of promoting Hindu Sanatana Dharma.”
TTD has sanctioned ₹35 crore for the project, of which ₹30 crore were meant for the temple and ₹5 crore for additional facilities like a dispensary, a “ved pathshala” and a “kalyan mandapam”.
A unique design
The temple is going to be first-of-its-kind in north India given its Dravidian style and Chola influence.
The temple’s sanctorum will have an aesthetically-carved 6-feet-4-inch high black granite — being brought from Guntur — statue of Lord Venkateswara Swamy adorned by gold and diamond jewellery.
“TTD borrows stones from the historic hill near Guntur for all its temples. Though heavy in weight, they suit the architectural requirements of the temples and are also considered sacred,” Reddy said.
The average footfall of devotees at the Tirumala shrine hovers around 70,000 to 80,000 people a day and climbs up to a lakh on weekends.
The TTD chairperson said the rituals of the temple at Majeen shall start from June 3, but Jammu and Kashmir lieutenant governor Manoj Sinha will formally inaugurate it on June 8.