Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Srinivasa, Balaji, and Veṅkaṭachalapati, made Tirumala his abode five thousand years ago.
Even before him, it was Lord Varahaswami who had made Tirumala his abode. Since then, many devotees have continued to construct grand
entrances on the ramparts of the temple over generations. The temple complex is spread over 16.2 acres of land.
In Tirumala, the East facing Sri Varahaswami temple is located in the North West corner of the temple tank - Swami Pushkarini.
As per the temple legend, Lord Srinivasa sought a gift of land from Sri Varahaswami, which he readily granted.
In return, Srinivasa provided him with an agreement deed assuring that he would be paid the first darshan,
worship and offerings by all the devotees visiting the temple. This tradition is in practise to this day at Tirumala
and Lord Varahaswami continues to receive the age old traditional worship. Even today, all offerings are first made to
Lord Varahaswami and then to Lord Sri Venkateswara.
The height of the main entrance has been increased periodically since 13th century. Its present height is fifty feet.
This entrance has other names such as ‘Padivaakili’ and ‘Simhadwaram’.In Tamil it is called ‘Periya Thiruvasal’.
On either side of this main entrance there are two feet high statues made of alloy metal (Pancha loha).
They are Sankanidhi and Padmanidhi who are the guardians of ‘Navanidhi’, the treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
The Maha Dwaram comprises three consecutive entrances – the first is a brass one,
while the second is a silver one. The third entrance is a golden one.
These are the two angels guarding the wealth and treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
As per the tradition these are installed at the third entrance of the temple.
One enters the holy shrine after saluting the first protection threshold - Sankha Nidhi and Padma Nidhi.
According to history, these statues were consecrated by Vijayanagara emperor Achyutha Rayalu, the younger brother of Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu.
Abutting the Mahadwara and to its right, there is a high-rise mandapam (Porch).
This is called Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam or Pratima Mandapam.
This mandapam has been constructed in Vijayanagara architectural style. To the right side of this porch, one can find tall
copper statues of the emperor of Vijayanagara kingdom, Sri Krishnadevarayalu and his two consorts, Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi.
These three statues placed in front of Lord Sri Venkateswara express their devotion to him.
It is said that Sri Krishnadevarayalu himself installed these statues on 2nd January 1517 A.D.
and then onwards this mandapam has become famous as the Krishnadevarayalu mandapam.
Their names are inscribed on the shoulder badges of these statues.
By the left side of the main entrance or Mahadwaram there is a tall copper statue with folded hands.
This is the statue of Venkatapatirayalu, the king of Chandragiri. He was a generous king who ruled Chandragiri during 1570s and donated
many valuable gifts to the deity.
Twelve feet to the north of Sri Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam, there is a glass porch.
Every day at 2 p.m., a service called”Dolotsavam” is performed for the Lord in this glass porch.
Historical evidence proves that this seva programme began to be performed in 1831.
Just opposite to the glass porch, there is another high rise mandapam called Ranganayakula Mandapam.
Due to the Muslim invasions between 1320 and 1369 A.D., the idols of Lord Ranganadha of Srirangapatnam were shifted
to Tirumala for safe keeping. Daily prayers and poojas were offered to him in this Mandapam.
After the cessation of the Muslim invasions, these statues were once again shifted back to Srirangam.
Yet this place has retained the name of Ranganayakula Mandapam to this day.
This mandapam is said to have been built by the king of Tirupathi, named Ranganadha Yadava Rayalu.
It is in this mandapam that Kalyanothsavams were performed for the Lord.
However, due to the increase in pilgrim rush, currently daily Kalyanothsavams are performed in Sampangi Pradakshinam.
Ten feet to the south of the flagstaff, there is another stone pillared pavilion called Tirumalaraya Mandapam.
This was built by Saluvanarasimharayalu, the emperor of Vijayanagara, to express his gratitude to the Lord for the help extended towards his victories.
All couples begetting children with the blessings of the Lord, offer money in the form of coins, silver, candy and camphor equivalent to the weight of their children, as avowed by them.
Even the patients, who are cured of their diseases, express their gratitude similarly. This Tulabharam is arranged in front of the Ranganayakalu Mandapam.
At about hundred feet from the flagstaff, there are three copper statues of devotees, facing the Lord and saluting him with folded hands.
One is that of Lala khemaramu, the other is that of his mother Mata Mohana Devi and the third one is that of his wife Pita Bibi.
Lala Khemarumu is a kshatriya known as Raja Todaramallu. He courageously protected Tirumala both from the invasions of Muslims and the British during the seventeenth century.
The Lord blessed this family and bestowed them with a place in His temple.
Dwajasthambham, -the golden flagstaff is located in the middle of a twenty-pillared square pavilion.
To the east of the flagstaff there is an altar and to the northeast, there is granite stone called ‘Kshetrapalakasila’.
This pavilion is said to have been constructed in the fifteenth century.
During Brahmotsavams, a flag with Garuda’s imprint is hoisted on this flagstaff for extending an invitation to gods and goddesses (Yaksha, Kinnera and Gandharva), to attend this festival.
Those wishing to take pooja material or other things into the sanctum, have to perform circumambulation along dwajasthamba including the Lord whenever he is taken outside or returned to the main temple.
Adjoining the flagstaff is the Bali Peetam or altar. After offering Naivedyam to the Lord and other deities and after exiting through the silver gate, the Prasadam is kept on this altar.
It is believed that this food offering is accepted by deities, the angles and the elemental forces.
To the north east corner of the altar, under the flagstaff porch, there is a one and half feet high stone slab. This is called ‘Kshetrapalaka Sila’.
It is said that this stone slab marched around the temple for providing security to the Shrine at night.
Priests used to keep the keys of the temple on this stone slab every night after closing the temple and collect them to open the temple in the morning, after saluting it.
On entering the precincts of the temple, one first encounters the circumambulation passage called ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’. The grand circumambulation passage outside the temple is not considered for this purpose. Therefore ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ is considered to be the primary one.
Earlier Sampangi flower plants (gold flowers, Michelia Champaka) were grown in this pathway for decorating the Lord and hence, the name.
Four pavilions in the four corners of ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’ were built by Saluva Narasimha Raya in 1470 A.D. in the names of himself, his wife and his two sons.
Earlier all wedding festivities of the Lord were celebrated at the pavilion in the ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’.
With the increase in the number of the devotees attending the events, these festivities started being held for some time in Ranganayaka Mandapam.
Now, the celestial wedding is performed in this Kalyanotsava Mandapam.
‘Ugranam’ means Godown. All the pavilions on western side are now being used as store houses.
The material used for the Lord’s ‘Puja’ and other rituals is now stored in the North-West corner of the ‘Sampangi Pradakshina’.
As per the legend, Viraja, a sacred river of Vaikuntam flows below the lotus feet of the Lord. The well of water in the temple complex is believed to be a part of that holy river. This well is located in front of the Ugranam or store house.
Idols are sculpted on the stones used for the inner walls of this well. Hence this well is called ‘toy well’ or ‘Bommala Baavi’.
The temple kitchen is located in the route of Sampangi Pradakshinam. This kitchen is referred to as ‘Padi potu’. Sweets and savouries like laddoo, vada, appam, dosa, poli, sukhiya, jilebi, and so on, which are offered to the Lord are prepared here in large quantities.
To the East of this kitchen is the ‘Flower Chamber’.
The flower chamber was earlier located in the ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’.
All the flowers used for the service of the Lord and other deities are supplied from this flower chamber, which is called ‘Yamunottarai’.
This ‘flower chamber’ now stands shifted to ‘Vimana Pradakshinam’. Every morning and evening the Jiyyangars collect the flower garlands prepared in the flower chamber and carry them over their heads to the Lord, after circumambulating the flagstaff amidst blowing trumpets and umbrellas for shading.
These flower garlands are presented to the Sanctum for performing the various rituals and poojas to the Lord.
Just opposite and to the north of the flowers chamber is the ‘Pula Bavi-flower well’.
All the flowers used for the worship of the Lord are deposited in this well.
The long porch on the eastern side and adjacent to the ‘flower chamber’ is Vagapadi chamber. Offerings to the deity are prepared here thrice a day.
The threshold opposite to the flagstaff is called the ‘silver entrance’.
This is also known as ‘Nadimipadi Kavali’.
This is the second entrance leading to the Sanctum Sanctorum.
Inscriptions say that the construction of the fortifications of this second entrance was started in the 12th century and completed in the 13th century.
The doors of this entrance were silver plated on October 1st 1929 A.D. by Sriram Dwarakadas Pharabhani, belonging to Nizam estate. Inscriptions in Hindi and English are found on this entrance.
Beyond the silver door, the path which circumambulates the main gopura of Ananda Nilaya is known as ‘Vimana Pradakshina’.
Early, at the pre-dawn hour, while Suprabhata seva is performed to the Lord, devotees make Anga Pradakshina (rolling one’s body in humility all round
the temple as a religious vow). Hence, it is also called Angapradakshina marg. In this pathway one can witness Sri Ranganadha just opposite to the
silver entrance, Sri Varadaraja Swami temple, main kitchen, golden well, Ankurarpana Mandapam, Yagasala, Nanala (coins) Parakamani, Notla (Paper notes)
Parkamani, Almyrah of Sandal Sreeranganathudu Vendi Vakili paste (Chandanapu ara) darshan of Vimana Venkateswara, cell of records, Sannidhi Bhashyakarulu
- the seat of Sri Ramanuja, the temple of Yoganarasimhaswami, Lords’s hundi and the seat of Vishvaksena.
All the small temples in this path way are called ‘Chutttu Gullu’(Sub-shrines encircling the main shrine).
As soon as we enter the temple through the silver door, we can witness Sri Ranganadha kneeling on Adisesha (serpent).
There are small gold plated idols of Sri Varadaraja Swami and Lord Sri Venkateswara Swami on the upper and lower sides of Sri Ranganadha.
The angapradakshina commences from here, moves round the Vimana Pradakshinam and comes to an end here.
It is said that the Lord loves the devotees doing ‘Porlu dandalu’ and grants them their wishes.
In the Vimana Pradakshina pathway and at a distance of nine feet to the south of the silver door, is the Varadarajaswami temple.
The idol is five feet high with a single pagoda over the shrine.
Devotes have to go round this temple on their way to the Lord’s Darshan. The period in which this idol was installed is not known.
It symbolises the glory of Varadaraja who is ever merciful and grants boons to the devotees!
Lord Brahma, the Deva Ganas and Maharshis like SanakaSanandanaSanatkumara wait for the darshan of Lord Sri Venkateswara at the golden gate.
Opposite to the golden gate, there is Garuda Mandapam.
The pavilion that links the golden gate and the Garuda Mandapam is called ‘Ghanta Mandapam’ or ‘Mahamani Mandapam’.
It was constructed in 1461 A.D. by Mallanna, a native of Chandragiri and minister in the Vijayanagara empire. ‘Garudalwar Mandir’ is also located just opposite to the golden gate in this Mandapam.
To the south of the golden gate in this mandap, two big bells are suspended from a wooden log using iron chains.
The Brahmin who rings this bell is called ‘Ghantapani’. The ringing of this bell denotes that it is time for the Lord to have his meal.
Historical evidences say that whenever the emperor of Vijayanagara Empire camps at Chandragiri, the bell sounds are relayed to Chandragiri through intermediary bell porches for enabling the emperor to have his food thereafter.
Because of these bells, this porch has become famous as ‘GhantaMandapam’. Keeping the legacy live, even today in Tirumala, many devotees have their food only after the bell stops ringing.
Just opposite to the golden gate and facing the Lord there is
a six feet high statue of Garuda saluting the Lord with folded hands.
Every day at the pre-dawn hour, Suprabhatham is recited in the place between
the golden gate and the statue of Garuda. The Lord sitting on the golden throne in this mandapam,
listens to the recital of almanac and the submissions of receipt and expenditure account
of the previous day.
On either side of the golden gate, there are Jaya and Vijaya, the chief guards of the Lord, holding a conch, a disc and a mace respectively.
There is a ten feet high wooden grill around these statues.
These two devout servants guard the sanctum sanctorum of the Lord round the clock.
The most important entrance for going into the sanctum sanctorum is this golden gate.
Here, the stone frame of the entrance and the porches of Jaya - Vijaya on either side are gold plated and hence this name.
At night these doors are closed methodically in a pre-conceived fashion. In the same way, they open this bolt from outside, in the morning.
The pristine beauty of the Lord can be witnessed from this point.
The pavilion that you notice after crossing the golden gate is known as ‘Snapana Mandapam’.
Every day after Thomala Seva, the idol of Koluvu Srinivasa Murthy is brought here and placed on the golden throne and his court is held.
During this court, almanac is recited; the affairs of the day, the details of income and the expenditure of the previous day are reverentially presented to the Lord.
The golden throne that is used during this court is stored in the adjacent grilled chamber.
There are two rooms on either side of the golden door. In the right side room, the Hundi collections are kept.
In the left side room, the Lord’s jewels that is, the crown,
the conch, the chakra, necklaces made of diamonds, gems, rubies, emeralds, sapphires, topazes and so on are kept.
Immediately crossing Snapana Mandapam, there is a very narrow passage, which is known as Lord Rama’s mansion.
There are two raised platforms on either side of this passage. Earlier, idols were kept on these platforms.
At present these idols are placed inside the room. Yet the name has remained the same.
In this room, there is a golden cot with silk mattress hung by silver chains
on which the Lord’s idol is seen relaxing, hence the name ‘Sayana Mandapam’.
In this room the offerings are kept in front of the Lord. These offerings are
never taken beyond this threshold of the Sanctum.
The threshold in front of the Lord is called Kulasekhara Padi. Kulasekhara was a Vaishnava devotee. He had made a humble request to the Lord, to transform him
to a stone threshold in front of Lord so that he will have a glimpse of divine beauty every day! Hence, this threshold was named after him.
The spot where Lord Sri Venkateswara’s self-inducted statue is located in the Sanctum Sanctorum is called Ananda Nilayam.
Earlier there used to be a Pradakshina (circumambulation) passage around this Ananda Nilayam.
A wall was built around this sanctum and the Vimanam in between 1244 A.D. – 1250 A.D. Over a period of time,
with the construction of Ananda Nilayam, Sayana Mandapam and Lord Rama’s Mansion, this passage around the Sanctum was closed.
In Ananda Nilayam, the ever beautiful idol is that of Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy.
This silver idol was presented to the temple by a Pallava queen ‘Saama Vaayi’ (Perundevi) in 614 A.D.
She rejoiced in decorating the idol with many ornaments. During the ‘Ekanta Seva’ at the end of the day,
it is the privilege of Bhoga Srinivasa to go to bed on a silk mattress. During ‘Suprabhata Seva’ in the morning,
this idol is removed from the silk mattress and kept at the foot of the main deity.
That means, Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy acts as presiding deity since the main deity is huge and immovable.
Every morning Koluvu Sreenivasa Murthy is seated on the golden throne in Snapana Mandapam and almanac (Panchangam) is read out to him.
All the details of the day like tithi, nakshatra, yoga and the information about different sevas are given to him.
Then the treasury clerk humbly presents to him, the income and expenditure account of the previous day.
This is done is Snapana Mandapam before the dusk and it is done in Ghanta Mandapam after dawn.
In the bygone days, the processional deity of Ugra Sreenivasa Murthywas taken out for procession during festivals.
When this idol was taken in a procession on a particular day, strange,
unusual and alarming incidents took place. After these incidents, procession with this idol was stalled from 1330 A.D.
However, today, the procession with Ugra Sreenivasa Murthy takes place in Tirumala only during Kaisika Dwadasi day before sun rise.
There is a popular anecdote regarding Malayappa Swami being made a processional deity in place of Ugra Sreenivasa Murthy.
During the 13th century when Ugra Srinivasa Murthy was being taken in a procession, strange and disturbing incidents took place.
Then all the devotees prayed to the Lord and sought his protection.
Then the Lord voiced his words through a devotee and advised them not to use these idols for processions in future and told them to use other idols,
which are available at a place called ‘Malayappa-Kona’. The priests searched that place and brought the idol of the Lord.
As the idol was found in Malayappa Kona, the deity was called Malayappa Swami.
While the idol of Lord Sri Venkateswara is agranite Swayambhu, Malayappa Swami’s idol is made of metal alloy - Panchaloha.
After the main deity, Malayappa Swami has a special place of pride as he is considered as the processional diety - Utsava Murthy, of Lord Sri Venkateswara. It is a great feast to the eyes to see Malayappa Swami along with his consorts, Sreedevi and Bhudevi during processions, festivals and all Sevas.
In Tirumala, we witness Sri Sudarshana Bhagwan’s presence in the right hand of the Lord in the varied forms of light and processional deity. The important role played by Sudarshana Bhagavan, in punishing the evil and protecting the devotees of the Lord, is commendable.
He takes the responsibility of protecting the devotees coming to Tirumala as well as their safe passage.
It is said that while Lord Sri Rama was in exile in Threthayuga, he and Lakshmana came to Tirumala in search of Seeta. As a mark of their visit,
their statues are kept in the temple. As they were in exile, their statues reflect their simplicity and are devoid of any ornaments.
Mythology endorses that Lord Sri Venkateswara is none other than Lord Sri Krishna of Dwaparayuga.
In the month of (Dhanurmasa) January while Ekantaseva is performed,
Lord Krishna is made to sleep on the silk mattresses in place of Bhoga Srinivasa Murthy.
During this month, Suprabhatham is not recited. Thiruppavai Pasurams related to Sri Krishna (penned by Andal Sri Goda Devi) alone are sung for
waking up the Lord.
Salagramas are black spherical stones, usually found in the sacred river Gandaki. What makes them so sacred is
that they have lines ingrained on them,
which resemble the shape of Sankhu and Chakra. These are worshipped by Vaishnavites as a form of Vishnu.
In Ananda Nilayam apart from the Lord, four big special Salagramas and several small Salagramas receive abhishekam and archana every day. All these Salagramas are placed in a silver vessel worshipped at the foot of the deity.
This kitchen is a very ancient one.
All prasadams offered to the Lord are prepared here with pure ghee. Nowhere in the world are ‘Prasadams’ of this magnitude prepared.
It is believed that Vakuladevi, the Foster mother of Lord Srinivasa, supervises the preparation of food relished by her son.
To this day, she continues to supervise the preparation of all the prasadams for the Lord.
So a peep hole is made in the wall for her to oversee the preparations in the kitchen.
The well beside the main kitchen is known as ‘Bangaru bavi’. The water from this well is used for Abhishekam, Archana and cooking food for the Lord.
To the south of ‘Bangaru Bavi’ and opposite to the main kitchen is located ‘Ankurpana Mandapam’.
Ankurapanam means the sprouting of nine varieties of grains usually called ‘Navadhanyam’ before every festivity and every celebration.
The idols of Anantha, Garuda, Vishwaksena (Lord’s army chief) and the idols of Lord Sri Rama’s attendant deities Sugreeva, Angada and Anjaneya are kept in
this Mandapam and priests offer Teertham (holy water) to the devotees in this place.
The room adjacent to Ankurarpana mandapam is the Yagasala, where all yagas and homams (sacrificial fire) have been performed since ages. But at present they are performed in the Kalyana mandapam located in Sampangi Pradakshina.
However, during Brahmotsavams these rituals are performed in the Yagasala.
This was gradually constructed over a period of time by the representative of Vijayanagara Empire named Chennappa in 1586 A.D. Actually, this was the place where Kalyanotsavams were performed 50 years ago. Due to pilgrim rush, this has been shifted to ‘Sampangi Pradakshinam’.
The present location where the counting process was carried out was earlier used for several purposes. At present, this mandapam is used for counting currency notes. Transparent glasses are arranged around this place for the pilgrims to witness the process of counting.
The sandal paste required for daily usage of the Lord is prepared here. Large stones are arranged here for making sandal paste from sandal wood.
The sandal paste required for various festivals throughout the year is prepared here.
The golden abode of the Lord of the universe is Ananda Nilaya. It is the sacred place where the Lord Sri Venkateswara receives his ‘Poojas’ and ‘archanas’. The golden gopuram on this Ananda Nilaya is the ‘Ananda Nilaya Vimana’, which is also known as Bangaru Gopura Vimanam. As per mythology, Garuthmantha (Vehicle of Sri Vishnu) brought this Ananda Nilaya Vimanam from Vaikuntam (the celestial abode of Vishnu) and consecrated it in this sacred place as desired by Lord Sri Vishnu. This Golden Gopuram carries 64 images of various deities of Hindu mythology.
Lord Sri Venkateswara ingrained on Ananda Nilaya Vimanam is said to be as powerful and sacred as the main deity in the sanctum. Even if devotees fail to have the darshan of the Lord, they could have a glimpse of Vimana Venkateswara and derive the same benefits usually associated with the darshan of the main deity in the Sanctum.
Close to the place from where Vimana Venkateswara is seen, is the record room with a sign board fixed atop. In this room all records and files pertaining to the ornaments of the main and processional deity are kept. All details of the weight and value of the silverware and gold ornaments are recorded in the ledgers.
Beginning from the record room, Veda pundits seated there, melodiously recite the slokas from the Vedas.
All the articles such as the golden umbrellas, silver torches, camphor plates and silk robes used in Lord’s processions are kept here. The golden cot with silk mattress used for the Ekanta Seva of the Lord is also stored here.
Adjacent to the Sabha Ara, there is the treasury of Sankeertanas. There are two statues on either side of this room. One is of the great Saint Poet Sri Tallapaka Annamacharya, who has penned over 32,000 songs in praise of the Lord Sri Venkateswara, while the other one is of his elder son Tallapaka Peda Tirumalacharyulu, who had also paid literary tribute to Lord Sri Venkateswara. All these songs were inscribed on copper plates and kept in safe custody in this place.
During 1525-30 A.D. the construction of the trove was completed and all the works of Tallapaka family were inscribed on copper plates and safely kept in Tallapaka shelf. It is said that all hymns originally written were on Palmyra leaves and later on transcribed on copper plates by his son Tirumalacharya.
The king of Vijayanagara dynasty, Achyutarayalu, helped in constructing this treasure trove and preserved the great works of Annamayya. The corpus of Tallapaka came to light when great scholar, epigraphist Sri Sadu Subramanya Sastri, who worked in different posts in TTD from 1919 to 1946 A.D., sighted the inscriptions.
Due to his efforts, today nearly eleven thousand Annamacharya Sankeertans have seen the light of day and TTD has been composing the music for these musical notations with eminent musicians and released many CDs and DVDs in the recent times.
Just beside Tallapaka treasure trove there is a pavilion called ‘Sannidhi Bhashyakarulu’. There is a granite statue of Sri Ramanuja in this pavilion. Sri Ramanuja in his long life of 120 years (1017 – 1137 A.D.) visited Tirumala thrice. In those days, very reluctant to trample the holy hills with his feet, he climbed the seven hills on his knees. It is said that he took rest at a point now known as ‘Mokali Mitta’. In his memory, a temple was constructed here. He has rendered Yeoman service to the Lord at Tirumala.
Sri Ramanuja streamlined the rituals of the temple as per Vaikhanasa Agama and handed it over to the posterity.
It is said to have been built between1330 A.D. – 1360 A.D. The abandoned statue of Yoga Narasimha Swami, lying at some place on Tirumala hills was brought by Sri Ramanujacharya to the temple and was consecrated inside the shrine. Lord Narasimha Swami is usually an aggressive Half-Man and Half-Animal form of the Lord. He is seen sitting in meditating posture which is unique to this temple. It is also said that while sitting in front of this statue, Annamayya had written some hymns on the Lord.
King Thondamanu laid the foundation at this place before the commencement of construction of Ananda Nilaya Gopuram and other associated works.
The fragrant shelf is seen on the way from Sankusthapana Stambam. The perfumes and aromatics used for the Lord are sent from this place. Devotees believe that their wish will be fulfilled if they write their wish on this sacred stone.
After having the darshan of the Lord, the devotees deposit their offerings to the Lord in this Hundi. The temple complex was modified many times for creating easy passage to the devotees. But the hundi was never shifted from this place as it is believed that “Sri Chakra Yantra” (the holy instrument which invokes all riches)lies underneath the main hundi.
For the benefit of devotees depositing their offerings in the hundi, a tall statue of Bangaru Varalakshmi (Golden Varalakshmi) is arranged on the left side wall. It is believed that Goddess Varalakshmi grants a lot of wealth to all the devotees who fulfil their vows.
To the left side of the exit of Hundi room and opposite to Annamacharya treasure trove there is ‘Kataha Theertham’, a tub like structure. This is where the Abhisheka theertham (holy water) emanating from the feet of the Lord is collected.
After coming out from hundi enclosure, one can see the small temple of Vishwaksena on the left side. He is the army chief of Lord Sri Venkateswara. The processional statue of Vishwaksena, which plays an important role during festivals, is at present placed in Ankurarpana mandapam.
Mukkoti Pradakshinam begins at Lord Rama’s mansion that is beyond Ghanta Mandapam in the pathway of Vimana Pradakshina. This is kept open every year on the days of Vaikunta Ekadasi and Vaikuntha Dwadasi. On these days, this passage is kept open from midnight to midnight. The doors of this passage are called ‘Vaikunta Dwaram’.
Anantalwar, one of the chief disciples of Sri Ramanujacharya, pioneered “Pushpa Kainkaryam” in Tirumala and became one of the prominent and ardent devotees of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
However, to examine his devotion, the Lord went on to test him. In this interesting story, Sri Ramanujacharya, the great Acharyapurusha who revived the rituals in Tirumala temple, while teaching his disciples about the greatness of Tirumala told them that, the Lord was very fond of adorning himself with flowers as he is “Alankarapriya”. He asked if anyone of them was capable of growing a garden in Tirumala braving the chill climate and insects, to present flowers to the Lord. Anantalwar, said he is prepared to do that and went to Tirumala with his wife.
In a bid to develop a beautiful garden for the Pushpakainkaryam of the Lord, Anantalwar initially wanted to dig a pond to water the plants. He wanted to do this task without taking the help from outsiders. The Lord felt happy about the couple’s dedication and decided to help them. He approached the couple as a 12-year old boy but Anantalwar refuseds to take his help.
On a fine day, the boy helped Anantalwar’s wife who was a full term pregnant and this gesture of the boy enraged Anantalwar. Out of anguish, he threw a crowbar upon the boy. It hit the chin of the boy and blood oozed and dripped off his chin. When Anantalwar went to the temple to worship the Lord, he saw blood oozing out from the chin of the Lord and then he realised, the boy was none other than the Lord himself.
He realised his mistake and immediately applied camphor to the Lord’s chin. Lord was pleased with his devotion and said that the scar will remain forever and camphor will be applied to cover the mark. This ritual is carried out even today.
The crowbar used by Anantalwar is also displayed on the Northern Wall of the main entrance.