Birla Mandir Hyderabad: Almost all the temples in South India have an ancient history behind it. Unlike such temples, there adorns a Hindu Temple of Lord Venkateshwara in Hyderabad. A quarter century old, this temple was built by Birlas, the well-known Industrialists. Yes, we are talking about the familiar and favourite attraction for all the Hyderabadis, the Birla Temple. Though the temple is dedicated to Lord Venkateshwara with His two wives Goddesses Padmavathi and Goddesses Andal, it is named after Birlas as Birla Mandir or Birla temple. The temple resides on a hillock, called as Kala Pahad, one of the twins of Naubat Pahad.
The temple is built entirely with white marbles (about 70 tons) brought from Rajasthan. It took about ten years to build this temple. The temple brings together the architectural style of Rajasthani, Utkal and other South Indian temples. The main temple is built in Utkal temple style while the temple of the Lord s two consorts is built as per the South Indian architectural style. Before you enter the main sanctum sanctorum, there is a four-storied rajagopuram (the main tower) built in garudalaya style of South Indian temples. The intricately carved structure beyond the Gopuram depicts the Dilwara temple style while the Jagadananda Vimanam or the main tower resembles the architecture of the Lingaraj Temple at Bhubaneswar. A 42 feet lofty dhwaja stambham made of brass, stands before the presiding deity, just outside the main temple.
Unlike the idols seen in the temples built by the Birlas, which are made of white marble, this temple has an idol that is carved out of black granite brought from Phirangipuram in Guntur District. The granite used was specially mined and transported to Hyderabad for this purpose. The eleven feet tall idol of Lord Venkateshwara stands graciously in the main sanctum sanctorum.
When you enter this main sanctum sanctorum, just above the main statue of the Lord, you can see a lotus-shaped covering made of marble. This is superbly carved and illuminated during night times. There is a mukha mandapam that is lined with sculptures and scenes showing some of the episodes from the Ramayana and Mahabharata.
The temple opens at the rise of the dawn, as early as 5:30 AM. This is the time when the melodies of Venkateshwara Suprabhatam and other devotional songs from the verses of Annamacharya, Bhakta Ramadas and Tyagaraja, played, spreads with the rising rays and chirping of the birds in the nearby trees, giving you sense of spirituality. This morning raga rejuvenates one s spirit and makes you feel as if you are in the temple that has been standing since ages.
Evenings in this temple are even more wonderful and give you an out-of-the-world experience. Generally, most of the tourists prefer to visit the temple during evening hours as the whole temple appears soaked in the ocean of illumination. Thousands of tourists and the local visitors throng in here after 5:00 PM. The pleasant atmosphere, the fresh breeze and the touch of your feet to the cold marble flooring makes you feel relaxed and lost in the crowd.