Tirumala Namalagavi Theertham:
Namalagavi Theertham, white powder of this Theertham is used for Sri Venkateswara Swamy Namam. Namala Gavi is a Sacred Theertham, it is a cave located in the deep forest of the Tirumala hills. One of the sacred places in the Seshachala hills. The white powder is finely refined and is applied during Swamy Abhishekam.
The “Namam” phrase represents the white clay found in the deepest layers of the Earth, which is used as the powder mixed with or without water to use a flame-shaped mark, starting from the central point between the eyebrows, Going directly near the top edge of the forehead specifically in the Vaishnava tradition it is used on the forehead in the form of ‘U’ and a red vertical line in the middle in three vertical lines. This Thirunamam is also called Thirumani.
The flame shape represents Aatma Jyothi or Atman. Which in turn means that Aatman is considered sacred and the name of God. Thirunamam is applied between the central point of the eyebrows where the Aagnyya chakra is located and believes that it purifies the jeevas and transforms them into the absolute being.
Since prehistoric times, the main deity of Tirumala, Sri Venkateswara has been offered this tirunamam made of a specific rock collected from a cave called Namala Gavi that falls on the other side of the mountain standing in front of the popular “Mokalla Parvatham”.
One has to walk down for about 2 kilometers, from Mokalla Parvatham towards Tirupati and on passing through the Akkarla Gudi, will find a footpath of a pedestrian trail to climb up the hill and on walking uphill, will find a spacious area on the footpath for resting of the upcoming pilgrims from Tirupati to Tirumala. It is from here one has to take a detour into the woods following the yellow and white arrow marks laid by the predecessors, on the stones for about 4 kilometers to the cliff. Till here, the way is fine with only the dry leaves from the trees, But from here onward one has to be extremely careful of the rough, rocky and slippery trek, which may otherwise, prove to be extremely fatal.
By exercising prudence and restraint, for approximately 1500 meters across the bushy terrain of the non-existing path, you will find a huge square rock that fell from above and is held by the mountain. Just by crossing the rock, you will find the first cave of Namala Gavi with a slightly low and moderately wide opening, where you have to enter the folded cave halfway.
The cave gradually opens up to a height of approximately 10-12 feet as you go forwards. You will find different sections as it deepens, which seems to be a mystery since at some points it can be found that the cave is being used by someone. It is because of the darkness and fear of any presence of animals, not many people entered the depths of this cave, although it seems to be long.
This cave is unique and does not resemble any other cave, since the rock material here is of a different nature. This cave has different shades of rock and in the first cave, one can find the reddest shaded stone that is believed to be used as the Namam in the middle. The second cave is about 15-18 feet from the first and this cave has a more white stone that was used as Namam in the form of an external “u”. The second cave is spacious with a slightly narrow entrance and seems to be shorter than the first.
A finger rubbing, in the white rock, gives enough and if it is applied like a Namam, you feel fresh on the forehead. It is surprising that these caves have formed and even a great wonder how people discovered them on the edge of the cliff, before transport. Apparently, until the episode of Annanthalwar’s crowbar, these white and red stones acquired from these caves are used for Sri Swamivru like Tirunamam and from the crowbar incident onwards the use of Camphor has come into practice.
Namala Gavi is a beautiful spiritual step and is close to Ghanta Mandapam located in the wonderful places of Tirumala. To visit Namala Gavi, it is recommended to take the help of guides, otherwise, there is a good chance of getting lost in the thick forest and, of course, it is very adventurous. You have to be very careful with snakes, scorpions, other insects of course and of course any resting or living animals and be defensive. It is strongly recommended to venture into this place only in groups with adequate safety measures, lights and consumables and don’t drop the waste or the leftovers/bottles of empty water and take back all Garbage because this place is considered to be very sacred and popularly known as Namala Gavi Teertham.
Note: A mentor is required to reach this place, as it is a little deep inside the forest.