Akasa Ganga is one of the sacred and auspicious waterfalls in India. Located at the foothills of the Venkatadri Tirumala, in Tamil Nadu, it allures thousands of tourists and devotees from all over India. They arrive at the waterfalls for a dip into the holy waters to attain purity and peace.
The Vedas mention about the waterfalls symbolizing its ancient history and religious belief. Its origin is believed to have been from the feet of Lord Venkateswara. Lord Venkateswara is the incarnation of Lord Vishnu with lotus feet. In the ancient days, the priests of the holy Tirupati Temple used to carry water from Akasa Ganga to offer at the feet of Lord Sri Venkateswara in the early morning hours. They walked across dense forests and rough terrains to reach the Falls to collect the water for the abhishekam or early morning hours. The water was considered sacred and pure by the priests and devotees, who followed the ritual diligently.
The priests perform all the rituals of the temple with water, which illustrates the significance of the holy waters of Akasa Ganga. Only the members of the Tirumala Nambi family are permitted to bathe and dip into the waters.
It is customary and a ritual to dip into the cool refreshing waters of Akasa Ganga to wash off any sins or mistakes. The devotees belief that the holy waters bring in purity within the inner self and transform the soul into a world of eternity and honesty. They descend down many steps from the temple to the waterfalls to wash their hand and feet. Till today people carry water from the Teertham to the Temple to wash the feet of the Lord and seek his blessings. A platform is constructed by the temple authorities at the foothills of the Falls for the devotees to dip their hands into the waters.
Many families perform their marriage ceremonies at the temple and the Akasa Ganga Teertham premises to shower good fortune on the newly wed couples. Some believe in donating gold as a special offering to the Lord. A common belief is couples who are childless are said to be gifted by a child if they tie a cradle at the branches of the tree near the Teertham.
Natural Beauty of Akasa Ganga
Apart from the religious beliefs, rituals and customs, the Akasa Ganga waterfalls possess an inherent natural beauty. Emerging in between the hillocks with a gushing sound and splashing across the rough surfaces is a treat to the eyes. The stunning views of the Falls enhances during the monsoons as the volume of water increases to descend down into the big pool at the bottom. The waters sparkle and glitter as the sun rays reflect on the flowing crystal clear falls. It is natural and beautiful providing a serene and tranquil experience to the tourists visiting the place.
The other important aspect of the Teertham is its stunning flora and fauna. The lush greenery adjacent to the Falls entertain the nature admirers with its dense vegetation. The air is purified with the refreshing breeze of the plantations around. You will also be amazed by the different species of animals and birds residing in the area. If you are a bird watcher or a wild life photographer then you can click some good pictures of the pristine beauty and the fauna.
The best time to visit Akasa Ganga
The best time to visit Akasa Ganga is during the monsoons when the Falls is at its peak, the waters creating a mystic environment in the surrounding atmosphere. The greenery around the Falls is enhanced further drenched by the rain waters. The landscape provides mesmerizing views, encapsulating the human mind and soul with purity and charm.
How to reach Akasa Ganga?
If you are travelling on road then the nearest bus station is Tirumala bus station. The Tirumala temple is located at a distance of 5 km from the Falls. There is a 5 to 10 minutes trekking trail to reach the bottom of the Falls. You can hire a cab from anywhere in the city to reach the place.
Interesting Facts about Akasa Ganga
- The priests of the Tirumala temple and the members of the Tirumala Nambhi family still traditionally follow the custom of carrying the holy waters from the Falls to the temple during special occasions
- A water line has not been created by the Government of Tamil Nadu to supply water from the Falls to the temple
- You will find different kinds of tourists visiting the Falls, some are devotees or pilgrims with the sole purpose of attaining purity and seek the blessings of the Lord. Others visit the Falls for its captivating natural beauty, to immerse into the panoramic view of the landscape.
- The Falls are open to the general public from 9 AM to 6 PM every day
- If you have a strong religious inclination then do not forget to dip your hands and feet into the holy waters of the Falls. The waters are believed to bring in prosperity and wellness to all refreshing themselves into the tranquility and serenity of the Falls.