Tirumala Tirupati, the abode of Shri Balaji Venkateshwara is known as the Kalyug Vaikunth. The seven hills on top of which the temple of Tirumala stands are none other than the seven heads of Seshnaag, who to serve his master took shape of the divine hills. These seven hills together are called the Saptagiri (Sapta- seven, Giri- Mountain). The hills end with a name Adri which also mean a hill.
1. Seshadri – The most important of all the seven hills, is named after Seshnaag. Once, Vayudev had come to visit Bhagwan Vishnu, but was refused entry by Seshnaag. A fight of words ensued as to who was greater than whom. Bhagwan Vishnu put up a challenge for both of them. He asked Sesh Naag to coil up the peak of Meru Mountain and asked Vayu Dev to blow Seshnaag off. Whoever wins would be declared the strongest. Seshnaag goes up and coils up to the peak of the great mountain. Vayudev sends strong winds to blow him off, but of no avail. Vayudev stands still for a moment not understanding what to do. After sometime, out of curiosity as to what Vayudev was doing, Seshnaag lifted one of his head up loosening his grip. Immediately Vayudev blows Seshnaag along with the peak and Seshnaag fell at Tirumala with the mountain peak coiled up with him. Bhagwan Vishnu then appears and asks Seshnaag to remain there in the form of the seven hills where he would in future reside.
2. Neeladri – Offering of hair is one of the most important rituals what devotees follow in Tirumala. The second hill is named after the Gandharva princess Neeladevi who was the first devotee who offered her hair to Shri Venkateshwara. When Bhagwan Vishnu got hit by a shepherd, a portion of his head became bald and no hair grew. As hair was considered a mark of beauty, Neeladevi offered her hair to Balaji. Hair is considered as a representation of beauty and ego, and hence it is surrendered here making us pure.
3. Garudadri – When Bhagwan Vishnu came down to Tirumala leaving Vaikunth, Garud could not bear the separation of his master and he formed the shape of the hill named Garudadri, thus carrying his swami as his bearer.
4. Anjanadri – This is the very hill where Mata Anjana had performed penance for a child, hence named after her.
5. Vrushabhadri – This hill is named after a demon Vrushabhusur, who was an ardent devotee of Bhagwan Shiv performing penance on this hill. Pleased with his penance, when Bhagwan Shiv asked him a boon, Vrishabhasur asked for a fight with Bhagwan Shiv. Accepting his devotee’s wish, Bhagwan Shiv fought with him on this hill and defeated the demon. Then on the request of Vrushabhasur, Bhagwan Shiv named the hill as Vrushabhadri.
6. Narayandari – This hill is named after Rishi Narayan, who was a great devotee of Bhagwan Vishnu and performed penance on this hill. Bhagwan Vishnu appeared in front of him and granted him salvation and named the hill as Narayanadri
7. Venkatadri – This hill was the very place where Bhagwan Vishnu first set his foot upon on earth in his divine incarnation as Shri Venkateshwara and where the Tirumala temple stands. The seven hills are sights of breath taking greenery where millions of devotees visit all the time, while the name of Bhagwan Vishnu vibrates all over filling the mind with a heavenly feeling of devotion.