Location: 67-km From Chittoor, Chittoor District, Andhra Pradesh
Famous For Having: World’s Richest Temple
Famous As: A Pilgrimage Centre
Sri Kalyana Venkateswaraswami Temple, Sri Venugopalaswami Temple, Srikalahasti.
Tirupati City is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh State. It lies about 152-km northwest of Chennai in the Palkonda Hills. Tirupati is known as the abode of the Hindu god Venkateshvara (also spelt as ‘Venkatesvara’), “Lord of Seven Hills”. About 10-km northwest of Tirupati, at an elevation of 750m, is the sacred hill of Tirumala, which was considered so holy that before 1870 non-Hindus were not permitted to ascend it.
Back to History - The Ruling Dynasties
Tirupati was developed mainly by the contributions made by kings during their rule. Almost all the kings from great dynasties of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine of Tirupati. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th – 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions.
During the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty contributions made to the temple increased enormously. Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the Tirupati temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple at Tirupati.
The decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty did not affect the contributions to this place as many nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. Raghoji Bhonsle, the Maratha general, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald, which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal.
After the fall of Hindu kingdoms, came the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and after their downfall the British took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control.
In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions.