One astrologer at Kakinada told us that Lord Venkateswara is actually the Goddess Bala Tripurasundari, with long hair at the back. Hence the name Balaji!

Here's the experience of Swami Brahmananda at Tirumala: (God Lived With Them, page 106, bottom)

In Tirupati Maharaj [Swami Brahmananda] saw the Divine Mother in the image of Lord Venkateswara. His body shivered in ecstasy. Later he said to Sharvananda: "I have distinctly seen the form of the Divine Mother. Please inquire about it." After inquiry and close examination of the image and sanctuary, it was found to have been originally a Shakti temple, later converted into a Vishnu temple, probably under the influence of Ramanuja.

enter image description here

Another claim is found here.

The idol in Tirupati temple :

Legend has it that Ramanujacharya took over the temple from jains and driven away jains from south India. To win over the Jains, he presented the deity with golen sankh and chakra, which were not there originally (for which he added a story that these were given away by lord Balaji to warring Tondaman Chakravarthy).

However, it is not the Jain Thirthankara's idol but Devi Bala Tripura Sundari's. Earlier to jains, it was worshipped as Kumara Swamy for ages. prior to that may be many others too might have worshipped it considering it as their dieties.

In support of claiming it as Devi's idol, there are many evidences. Few among being:

  • the deity has lot of long hair, like for Stree Murthy.

  • the sculpture norms has it that for stree (woman) sculpture, the upper portion is longer than the legs portion and the idol has short legs.

  • The Anandanilaya sikhara has lions, which is evident that it is Bala Tripura Sundari.

  • that's how the name Balaji derived.

Is the temple at Tirumala really the abode of the Goddess Bala Tripurasundari?

What do scriptures say?

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    How can you expect answer from reference. People also say its veerabhadra swami but nothing until proven. So they have venkatesha mahatmaya you can go through it. Do not go based on individual opinions Jul 30, 2020 at 17:53
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    Every friday the you can see the the idol without any jewels. I request you to go and once check yourself if idol is feminine like heavy chest or masculine like broad and flat chest. To know the counterarguments from vaishnavas kindly check this google.com/url?sa=t&source=web&rct=j&url=https://…
    – Satya
    Jul 31, 2020 at 7:00
  • @Satya:You are welcome to post your answer with references, please Jul 31, 2020 at 7:11
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    From scriptures it is very clear who the deity is on venkatachala. The claims you quoted in question are personal experiences and observations of idol not from scriptures....above link gives some references from scriptures. To verify claims like in the answer given below..the only way is to have a look at idol for yourself. I have no interest to answer every absurd claims.
    – Satya
    Jul 31, 2020 at 7:21
  • @Satya: Thanks for sparing your valuable time on my question Jul 31, 2020 at 7:23

2 Answers 2


A Srimperambudur manuscript also admits that the deity was worshiped as Shiva until the time of Rāmānuja and that ‘he established the forms of worship, of offering food, of bathing the deity and other ceremonies which are still going on’. A reference also shows that among the special utsavas performed at the temple, there is one which is called Shivarātri chatra pālaka utsava (possibly Kṣetrapālaka) - ceremonies performed to the guardians of the holy place. We have no information whether this utsava is now performed openly as before, but the observance of the festival clearly proves that the earlier Vaiṣṇavas had not only no objection to acknowledge that the place belonged to Shiva but were liberal enough to respect Shaivite sentiment by continuing the special utsava in honor of Shiva. Similarly Varalakṣmī grata and Vināyaka caturthī were also preserved. Reference: Tirumala Tirupati Venkateshwara - Shiva-Vishnu Controversy

  1. Early Azhwars [Vaishnavaite saints] praised Venkateshwara as a blend of Hari and Hara. In some of the older pasurams of Azhwars, the lord is said to have worn Chakra and Parashu, signifying Hari-Hara-Samaikya Murti But after the advent of Ramanujacharya, this practice was severely discouraged. By this time, Shaivaites called him Shiva and Vaishnavaites called him Vishnu. This becomes clear after one reads several shAsanas in the name of a local king called Thalalu Gosina Yadava Rayalu. He was a staunch devotee of Ramanuja who beheaded 101 Shaivas who claimed Venkatesha to be Shiva. For his staunch adherence to Sri Vaishnava philosophy, he was honored by Ramanuja with the title Sri Bhashya, to be named after him. We find the mention of this king with the epithet Sribhashya Yadava Rayulu. It is said that the original deity at Venkatachala did not sport Shamkha or Chakra or even the Srivaishnava Tilaka we see today. After a series of conflicts between Shaivaite and Vaishnavaite assemblies in Kalahasti and Tirupati, Ramanuja fitted Shankha and Chakra to the hind wrists of the original deity.

  2. The Mula mantra of Venkatesha is of nine and eight letters [ashtakshari and navakshari], both of which refer to Venkatesha and not Srinivasa. Traditional Vaishnavaites have always preferred to use Srinivasa and not Venkateshwara as the word 'Isha', though meaning 'Lord' in general terms, was always seen with suspicion as only referring to Lord Shiva. Also, the Dhyana Shlokas for these mantras [given in Brahmanda and Brahmavaivarta Puranas] refer to nAgabhUshana and Srivatsa chinha which suggest a Hari-Hara murti.

  3. It is a practice to worship Srinivasa with Bilwa during Dhanurmasa. Bilwa is very sacred for Shivarchana and traditional Vaishnanas stay away from Bilwa, though it is recorded as sacred for the worship of Mahalakshmi as well.

  4. The idol of Srinivasa has a jaTA - matted hair, which is a lakshana of Shaiva Murtis.

  5. On Shivaratri day, all archakas of the temple visit Kshetrapalas and Abhisheka is performed according to Shaivagama. Though Srivaishnavaite scholars claim this to be non-traditional, this practice is still in vogue. This is suggestive of a greater celebration on this day in the main shrine itself in the bygone days, which has now seemingly got reduced to a customary visit of the Kshetrapalaka. In fact, this is similar to the worship offered to the Shiva Linga behind Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam in the cave, neglected on all days other than on Shivaratri.

  6. On Vinayaka Chaturthi, Modakas or Kadubu is offered to Lord Venkatadrisha, suggesting his swarUpa as Lord Mahaganapati.

  7. Shiva Rahasya, an Itihasa, describes Venkatadri as the abode of Lord Subrahmanya in his form as a VaTu, without a consort. It is described that the famous tIrtha - swAmi puShkariNi - is named after swAminAtha or kumAra swAmi. This is also indicated by the Sahasranama of Venkateshwara which has the nama: swamidhyeyaya namaH, one who is meditated upon by Kumaraswami. According to some legends, Vishnu and Subrahmanya worshipped Dakshinamurti in the hill of Venkatam and attained oneness with each other and the Lord. Another name, kartikeyavapushe namaH is suggestive of the same.

  8. Also, from the story of Venkateshwara, one can see an episode where he emerges from an anthill, suggesting his oneness with Subrahmanya. It is very common to find names such as Venkatasubbayya or Venkatasubrahmanyam in Karnataka and Tamil Nadu, indicating this forgotten aspect. Also, one should carefully understand the Muttuswami Dikshitar Krti - subrahmaNyena rakShitoham - in Suddha Dhanyasi: venkateshwara namarUpeNa, vichitra vishAkhA mahotsavena. This was later modified as venkateshwara vibhavitena, probably by Semmangudi mama, but pAtti's (DKP) version has the former pATha.

  9. The Venkatesha Sahasranama goes like this: venatesho virUpAkSho vishwesho vishwabhavanaH, the very second name indicating his shiva swarUpa. Every hymn, in the first verse, conveys the gist of the entire hymn by indicating the central focus of the hymn, the path or the philosophy adopted to elaborate on the chosen subject etc. The first verse has no mention of any of the popular epithets of Vishnu at all. Exactly 500 names apply to Shiva in this Sahasranama and 500 to Vishnu.

  10. The feet of the idol is underground, which is a necessity for all Shiva murtis according to kAmikAgama

Association of Sri Venkateshwara to Sridevi:

  1. Lord has Simha Niketanam [emblem is a couchant lion] which is peculiar to forms of Sridevi everywhere.

  2. The special annual festival of the Lord is performed during Sharannavaratri, special to Sri Lalita.

  3. Swami is bathed in Manjal or turmeric every friday, which is generally a prescribed practice for Amba [Durvasa Samhita, 29-6].

  4. To this day, auttareyas worship Lord as Balaji - non-different from Sri Bala Tripurasundari, and it is believed that the prosperity of this shrine is due to a Srichakra established by Adi Shankara somewhere on this hill.

  5. Lord's waist is very slender which, according to sAmudrikA shAstra, is characteristic of Ambika.

  6. Lord's hair is very long, reaching the knee, again characteristic of Ambika.

The Gayatri associated with Venkateshwara Ashtakshari is:

OM vekateshAya vidmahe tripatinAthAya dhiimahi tanno sriinivAsaH prachodayAt ||

Reference: Sri Venkateshwara

  • Good inputs. Up voted. Will await others to respond before accepting the reply. Jul 31, 2020 at 0:12
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    Though quoting the text from source if fine, however the answer should not be just a complete copy-paste. You should explain the things in your own words. Visit this Meta discussion for more information.
    – Pandya
    Aug 17, 2020 at 7:39

No, the murti in Tirumala is that of Lord Vishnu. I quote from the book of Dr. N. Ramesan, who was the Chairman of TTD, see Chapter V of this book.

Mother Lakshmi is carved out on the right chest of the mula murthi and is an integral part of the idol. The yajnopavtiam and a set of four necklaces or ornaments can also be seen clearly made out on the idol.The arms have armlets. The figure is depicted as wearing dhoti from the waist downwards while the upper portion is not covered by any dress... The Lord's image has on the shoulders marks resembling scars made by constant wearing of bows and arrows.

The presence of yajnopavitam and Lakshmi on the right chest clearly establishes that the deity is none other than Lord Vishnu. As far as the presence of lions on the Vimana is concerned, both Vaikhanasa and Pancharatra agamas permit the presence of either lion or garuda on the vimana. Again, I quote from Dr. Ramesan's book.

Both Vaikhanasa and Pancharatra agamas which govern a Vaishnava temple, clearly lay down that either a lion or garuda may be placed on the corners (of the Vimana). The Agamic rules require that not only on the top of the vimana but also on the mantapas either a lion or a garuda should be placed. Normally, a lion is selected to overcome the enemies of the area, when the location of the temple is such where recurrent invasions are expected. If a temple is situated in a remote and secluded corner, garuda is chosen mainly for spiritual and cultural ends.

Moreover, the vimana was built by Vira Narasinga Yadavaraya of 13th century. The shilpis chose to carve out lion on the vimana in honour of the patron. In light of these evidences, it is crystal clear that the Lord Venkateshwara is none other than Lakshmipati Lord Shriman Narayana.

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