Birla Mandir is a Hindu temple, built on a 280 feet (85 m) high hillock called Naubath Pahad on a 13 acres (53,000 m2) plot. The construction took 10 years and was constructed in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission. The temple was constructed by Birla Foundation, which has also constructed several similar temples across India, all of which are known as Birla Mandir
The temple manifests a blend of Dravidian, Rajasthani and Utkala architectures. It is constructed of 2000 tons of pure white marble. The granite idol of presiding deity Lord Venkateswara is about 11 ft (3.4 m) tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella on the top. There is a brass flagstaff in the temple premises which rises to a height of 42 ft (13 m). The temple does not have traditional bells, as Swami Ranganathananda wished that the temple atmosphere should be conducive for meditation.
The enchanting modern Birla Mandir is located at the south end of Hussain Sagar in Hyderabad. It stands atop the Kala Pahad, the twin hillock of the Naubat Pahad. The Birlas (industrialists who have built several temples in India) built this temple in 1976. The temple has been built with white marbles from Rajasthan.
Kausalya supraja Rama poorva sandhya pravartate... the mantra chanted to arouse Lord Venkateswara (Vishnu), to whom the temple is dedicated, can be heard at dawn. And as for the evenings, they are a treat to the ears in this hilltop temple. Sweet melodies of cuckoos and the kirtanas of Annamayya, Tyagaraja and Ramadas against the backdrop of an orange-red sky pleasantly soothe the soul.
Birla Mandir combines the architectural styles of Orissan and South Indian temples. A Rajagopuram built in the South Indian style greets the visitors. The tower over the main shrine of Lord Venkateswara called the 'Jagadananda Vimanam' is built in the Orissan style, while the towers over the shrines of the consorts are built in the South Indian style. Exotic scenes from the great epics of Ramayana and Mahabharata are finely sculpted in marble. In the inner shrine of the temple is a replica of the Venkateswara temple at Tirupati. The brass flagstaff rises to a height of 42 feet.
The granite image of the presiding deity is about 11ft tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella for this image. There are several carvings in marble, in the adjoining 'Mukha Mandapam' - depicting scenes from Indian mythology.
Other Shrines in the Temple
The consorts of Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal, are housed in separate shrines. There is also a temple dedicated to Buddha in this complex, with fresco paintings describing his life and work.
Birla Mandir offers a spectacular sight when illuminated at night. A tour to Hyderabad is considered incomplete without a visit to the enchanting Birla Mandir.