To view many of the Tirumala Theerthams, people have to walk through into the Sheshachala forest and so cannot be covered by roads. As mentioned about the Tirumala Theerthams Classification in Venkatachala Mahathyam Sacred epics, all the stones, trees, sand particles, air, birds and animals in the Sheshachala forest housing the world legendary shrine of Lord Venkateswara is blessed with sanctity. There are about 66 crores of holy theerthams in the green Sheshachala forest as per Brahma Purana and Skanda Purana. Even today, the holy theerthams of Tirumala are considered to be as holy and heavenly as they were in ancient times. There are many fables and interesting tales of salvation about all the water bodies present here. These stories are the magnets that are attracting tourists to this temple town from ages even to this day.
These sacred theerthams are divided as Dharmaratiprada theerthams, Gnanaprada theerthams, Bhaktivairagyaprada theerthams and Muktiprada theerthams.
It is believed that dipping in this theerthams fills the life of a person with spirituality and honesty which is very important to attain salvation. The Puranas say that there are approximately 1008 divine fast-moving waters in the first category of theerthams.
Man is always on the hunt for the best things in life. Gnana is the trail of knowledge, intelligence, self-analysis and scrutiny. It helps in exploring our inner self profoundly and methodically, letting go of our wrong characteristics. Pilgrims believe that a dip in this Gnanaprada theertham aids them in leading to the road of knowledge. They are 108 theerthams, namely, Manu, Indra, Vasu, Rudra (11 in number) Aditya (12 in number), Prajapati (9 in number), Aswini, Sukra, Varuna, Jahnavi, Kapeya, Kanwa, Agneya, Narada, Soma, Bhargava, Dharma, Yagna, Pasu, Ganeshwara, Bhaumaswa, Paribhadra, Jagajadyahara, Viswakallola, Yama, Baraspatya, Kamaharsha, Ajamoda, Janeshwara, Instasiddhi, Karmasiddhi, Vata, Jedumbara, Karthikeya, Kubja, Prachetasa (10 in number), Garuda, Sesha, Vasuki, Vishnuvardhana, Karmakanda, Punyavriddhi, Runavimochana, Parjanya, Megha, Sankarshana, Vasudeva, Narayana, Deva, Yaksha, Kala, Gomukha, Pradymna, Aniruddha, Pitru, Arsheya, Vaishwadeva, Swadha, Swaha, Asti, Anjaneya, Suddhodaka and Astha Bhairava (8 in number).
Bhakti Vairagya Pradha Theerthams:
As per the Puranas, these theerthams are holier than the Gnanaprada theerthams. Legend has it that a dip in these theerthams relieves one from the worldly pleasure and attracts them to bhakti yoga. There are 68 theerthams, namely, Chaklra, Vajra, Vishwaksena, Panchayudha, Halayudha, Narasimha, Kasyapa, Manmadha, Brahma, Agni, Gautami, Daiva, Devam, Viswamitra, Bhargava, Astavakra, Durarohana, Bhairava, Meha, Pandava, Vayu, Asti, Markandeya, Jabali, Valabhilya, Jwarahara, Vishahara, Lakshmi, Rushi, Shatananda, Suteekshaka, Vaibhandaka, Bilwa, Vishnu, Salva, Sarabha, Brahma, Indra, Bharadwaja, Akasaganga, Prachetana, Papavinasana, Saraswatha, Kumaradhara, Gaja, Rushyasringa, Tumburu Dasavatara (10 in the name of the ten avataras of Lord Vishnu), Halayudi, Saptarshi (7 named after the Sapta rishis), Gajakona, Viswaksena, Yudhasarasti.
Mukthi means releasing the senses from the controls of the mind. Through Bhakti, one can get enlightened or reach a state of self-realization of the soul. Salvation is said to be attained by having a dip in the mukthiprada theerthams. They are seven mukthiprada theerthams and are believed to be the divinest among all the 66 crore theerthams. They are
Swamy Puhkarini Tirumala:
The Swami Pushkarini, belonging to Sri Maha Vishnu was originally in Vaikuntam as per legend. Garuda brought this on Earth for Sri Venkateswara’s amusement and is placed adjacent to the Sri Venkateswara temple. As the 66 crore theerthams are not known, people believe that one holy dip in this Swamy Pushkarini theertham adjacent to hill shrine of Tirumala temple is equivalent to bathing in all these theerthams.
Yearly festivals take place in these theerthams on the auspicious days mentioned in the shastras.
The twelfth fortnight of Dhanurmasa, the Mukkoti Dwadasi is said to be auspicious for the Swamy Pushkarini theertham.
Gogarbham Theertham or Pandava Theertham:
Auspicious day for this theertham is Suddha Dwadasi Sunday in Vrishabha month or Bahula Dwadasi day falling on Tuesday.
Sunday with Sapthami thithi in Aswayuja month or Dwadasi day in union with the star Uttarabhadra.
Full moon day in the Mesha month in union with the star Chitta.
Auspicious day for this theertham is the fullmoon day in the Meena month (Pisces) with the star Uttara Phalguni.
Kumara Dhara Theertham:
Auspicious day to bathe in this theertham is Magha Pornami in the month of Kumbha.
Full moon day in the month of Makara (Capricorn) is said to be auspicious for holy dip. Tourists visiting Tirumala ensure that they have a dip in the holy theerthams believing that it would wash away all their evils.