If you are in pilgrim city of Tirupati in Andhra Pradesh then you should not miss visiting the TTD gardens , landscapes and nurseries, which are part of Seshachala hill ranges.A day or two is not just enough to explore all the places in Tirupati. The TTD forest and gardens are well maintained, trees look fresh and one can spend lot of time over there. An extent of 2900 hectares of Seshachala hill ranges are being maintained by TTD. The TTD has both Forest and Gardens departments. A DFO and four range officers both at Tirumala and Tirupathi will look after Plantations and Landscapping including on two ghat roads. The Gardens department will maintain flower gardens to meet flower requirement of all TTD temples .
The TTD had decided to develop the landscapes and greenery at all the viewpoints, visibility areas and important places in Tirumala to enhance the aesthetic look of the Hill Shrine.TTD Gardens and Nurseries spread across 460 acres of land. The garden fulfills the demands of flowers used for decorating the deities and for the Pujas at the various temples. The garden houses about 200 varieties of flowers that are being hybridized and mutated in the four chambers at the garden. Over 10 lakh plants are planted in TTD garden. You will find a wide variety of plants like roses, davana, lotuses, tulasi, Chrysanthemus, Kangambaram, Exora, etc. There are four nurseries at Tirumala with mist chambers – in the Travelers Bungalow area, Gogarbham Dam area, Sri Padmavathi Guest House area and Divyaramam area wherein ten lakh plants are propagated annually. Hybrid varieties of croutons, hibiscus,bougainvilleas have been released through hybridisation and mutation and named after great personalities.
There are about 200 varieties of plants in the gardens.The Garden Department has a large germplasm collection of various ornamental varieties collected from various places in India and abroad.The great Vaishnava Acharya Sri Ramanuja and his disciple, Sri Anandalwar are believed to have been responsible for starting these gardens in the fourteenth century. Inscriptions in the temple refer to numerous flower gardens during the latter period of the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries. In Tirumala many places are named after Nandanavanams – Andalwar Garden, Tharigonda Venkamamba Garden, Hathiramjee Garden and Tallapaka Garden.There are tanks and ponds such as Alwar Tank Mangalabhavi and Ananthapalligunta which are useful not only as perennial water sources for the temple gardens but also for growing red lotus flowers and supplying fresh water to the pilgrims and natives.The main flowers used for Srivari Kainkaryam (puja) are the scented ones like roses, lotuses, chrysanthemums, davana, tulasi, Nerium, Tabornamontana, Kanakambaram (Tagetes) and Exora.The Gardens Department of TTD meets the demand for flowers of all the temples in Tirumala.
The Department supplies nearly 500 kg of flowers every day to all temples in Tirumala and Tiripati. It supplies garlands for adorning the deities and for decorating the mandapam, pandals and vahanas on festive occasions.The Department also accepts flowers in the form of donations from the devotees wherein flowers can be supplied under the name ‘Sri Vari Pushpa Kainkaryam’. The Department organises Pushpa Yagam and horticultural flower shows every year during Brahmotsavam.The Darshan International Limited, the leading incense sticks manufacturer from Karnataka has come forward to make these sacred incense sticks out of the used flower gardens on a cost to cost basis and the TTD officials have been instructed to commence the distribution and sales from August 15th onwards. Tirumala will be made a plastic-free zone shortly which will help in maintaining eco-balance.
- Ramachandra Reddy Palavali