It was during 1783-84 , a time when the atrocities of the foreigners were unbearable .
Their hatred for idol worship made the locals tremble, not in fear for their lives, but in fear of the possible damages that the age old holy idols in their ancient temples would suffer. Drastic measures were made to save the deities from disrespect. However the demons used to destroy them and if that was not possible, deface them. The smaller utsavar idols made of the expensive Panchaloha were carried off in large heaps to Delhi, to be melted into new ornaments.
The priests did their very best to cover the sanctum with bricks and send the smaller idols for safekeeping with trusted families. The forces however, kept driving further in conquest. People mourned the deaths of their near and dear in the struggle .
The invaders were ruthlessly attacking the temples and looting the jewellery .It was a dark period for the Hindus .
Hyder Ali thus invaded the Chandragiri Fort and marched in the surrounding areas to loot the temples . The ones who opposed were punished and were exiled.
It was a bright sunny day . The green meadows and the hilly terrain was a treat to the eyes .Galloping on the horses they reached the foot of the Tirumala hills .
The magnificent Hills were a feast to watch . The aroma from the trees the water falls around tempted the general to march ahead . All of them looked closely around .
The magnificent mountains and the seven peaks were looking stunningly beautiful with the glowing sun .
The news about the ruthless invaders reached the temple priests at Tirumala .
They were very scared to face the enemy .
The news that they were looting other temples was already known to them,but they never imagined that they would reach Tirupaty.
The Annual Brahmotsavam festival was in all glitters …
All of them assembled at the temple premises and chalked out a plan . The Senior Priest announced , My dear Swamin ! There is no escape now . We will be finished in no time the moment the evil forces reach here .Let us attempt to save our Lordships by carrying him along with us .
A old devotee replied , How are we going to leave the Hills ? Why not face the enemy bravely and sacrifice our lives than being cowards running away .
This is VarahaKshetra and Lord Venkateshwara has his own plans . Let us seek his lotus feet and then decide . The suggestion was well taken …
All the devotees rushed to the temple sanctorum , offered a mangala haarathi and pleaded LORD for his mercy . Oh Lord !Our Savior ….
We are in utter confusion ..
We will sacrifice our lives but will not allow the enemy to enter the temple .
Please save us from this agony. Its your DIVINE WILL that’s final .
The Elder Priest announced , Look children ! Its our turn .Let us face them bravely .
When HE is there why worry ? LORD will never leave us …
All of them decided to sacrifice their lives than remaining as a mute spectator . This was the last darshan .
With copious tears each went up near the LORD had the last darshan feast fully and left the temple . They descended the Hills with anguish imagining that was their last darshan . The sun was radiating severe heat .
Passing the terrains and the hillocks the priests along with the devotees marched fearing sudden attack . They managed to reach some where near to the foot of the Hills .The commotion was pathetic as the families also joined them fearing death and few escaping into the jungles calmly .
They reached the last hillock and to their shock they saw a battalion of armed forces on their horses looking all around .They had weapons and looked ferocious . It seemed they had travelled from Chandragiri Fort . The courage and enthusiasm to face the army suddenly vanished .
All of them were trembling with fear .
There was a shout from the battalion . A stout man looked like the General screamed …Hey !!! All of you come here ….He was looking dreadful ..
. He was speaking in Urdu . He screamed again …
UUPAR KAUN HAIN ? ( WHAT IS THERE OVER THERE ?)
Once again he yelled ….
Hey Bomman ……………… Uupar kyaa hain ?
( What is there over there )
The Priests were calm . All of a sudden they heard a sweet voice among them .
All turned around . They saw a small boy glowing with divine aura smiling and bravely walking before the army chief .
The voice was clear and gracious and in the same language . For a minute the Army Chief Hyder Ali was bewildered . The Priests were shocked to see the new entrant .
Who is this boy ? He was not seen when we descended .Did he join us enroute ? Many questions were being whispered among them .
The boy bravely walked before Hyder Ali and replied .
Haan …. Iss jagah pavitra hain …………Varah kshetra hai …
( This place is holy and is resting place of Varaha )
Aadhi Varaha Kshetra kahatey hain
Hyder Ali is stuck with the boys beauty .
Naturally even a stone hearted person also will get intoxicated with HIS looks ….
He said …….. Yeh bolo . …… Varaha matlab kyaa hain ?
( What do you mean by Varaha ? )
The moment he asked this question ,suddenly there was a loud noise from the hillocks . To the surprise of the devotees , Hundreds of wild boars in herds rushed in lightening speed making the army tremble and run for their lives .The whole battalion vanished in no time looking at the huge boars chasing them .
The place this divine leela happened was Adi Padi ( foot path in tamil ) and over a period of time got corrupted as Alipiri came from Ali-Phiri (Ali- returned). …( May be as Ali ..Hyder Ali left ).
The Priests understood the divine boy was LORD himself who appeared to save them …
They chanted the holy names of LORD and ascended the HILLS with vigour and joy …
Pilgrims take a vow to go on foot from this place Alipiri the gateway to to Tirumala to have darshan of LORD .
There are two footways. 1) Alipiri footway and 2) Srivari mettu foot way from the other side of the Hillocks near to Sri Kalyana Venkateshwara swamy Temple at Tirupathi.
Alipiri , most used footway by piligrims is 9 km trek . Enroute a pilgrim finds solace in the holy hills trekking watching hundreds of devotees chanting the HOLY NAME .
The pathway is laid with comfortable steps and shelters. There are around 3500 steps and it takes approximately 3 – 4 hrs to climb as per once health and age Pilgrims can keep their luggage at Alipiri luggage center and can proceed to Tirumala. TTD runs two free buses from the Tirupati Railway station to Alipiri, with a frequency of 30 minutes. Pilgrims who intend to walk up the hills to Tirumala can use these buses.
Apart from buses there are many auto rickshaws to Alipiri from Bus stand, Railway station. Elders advise one to have a holy dip at Azhwar Theertham
( DETAILS OF AZHWAR THEERTHAM IS APPENDED IN THE BELOW POST
( Presently called as Kapila Theertham ) and proceed to trek the Hills.
Adapted from a discourse shared by Elders
Adiyen Ramanuja dasan
Pictures : credits Google Images uploaded by several Hari Bhaktas
Videos: Thanks to Go Tirupaty web site , SaiGV and Sri Hare Srinivas ( Tirumala Tirupati )