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Foot Prints Of Lord Venkateswara – Religious Significance And Importance Of Padala Mandapam At Alipiri In Tirupati

The root of the foot path leading to the top of the Tirumala Tirupati hills, Alipiri, is the pedestal of the seven hills in Tirumala. A pilgrim takes the first step of the journey to the holy abode of Balaji from here. It is believed that Lord Venkateswara, in order to climb His holy hills took His first step here and left the imprints of His sacred feet at Alipiri. This spot is immortalized as 'Padala mandapam'. The spot is of great religious significance and importance to all Venkateswara devotees.

In 1628 AD. Matla Kumara Anantharaja of Devachoda family built a mandapam at Alipiri renowned as padala mandapam.

It is under the tamarind tree here that Tirumala Nambi taught the secrets of Ramayana to his disciple the divine Ramanuja.

It is believed that the holy footprints of Lord Venkateswara appeared at this spot as narrated in Sri Venkatachala Itihasa Mala.

Pilgrims coming by foot to Tirumala first worship these sacred foot prints of Lord Venkateswara. Those who cannot climb the hills prostrate to the holy footprints and express all their prayers there itself. All the devout pilgrims thus begin the pilgrimage after first worshipping Sri Venkateswara’s holy footprints.

Story of Patala Mandapam

There is a popular legend connected with this mandapam. During the sacred Sravana Saturdays (special pujas are offered to Balaji on Saturdays in Shravan month (July – August), two Vaishnava Devotees after observing the fast prepared with flour and ghee lamps of worship (Pindi Taligha).

One devotee was living at Sri Kalahasti and the other devotee was living in Kanchipuram.
In the flour sediment of each lamp the footprints of the left and the right feet of the Lord appeared separately.

The devotees, strangers to each other, took the measurement of each imprint of the holy feet and prepared two sandals. They kept them in the Padala Mandapam. Though each sandal was prepared independently without any idea of the other, the sandals formed into a perfect pair.

At this spot in August 2001, the murti of Lord Venkateswara was re-installed along with the Footprints and Dwarapalakas.

Before climbing the hills, every devout pilgrim keeps these sandals on head and go round the mandapam for salvation.