Tirupati and Tirumala are places well known all over India. Sri Venkateshwara, the presiding deity of Tirumalaor engadam, is revered by lakhs of people all over the country who visit His famous temple throughout the year, traveling long distances. The chief centers of pilgrimage are Sri Venkateshwara’s temple on the Tirumala hill, the shrine of Govindaraja in the town of Tirupati and the shrine of Padmavati, situated in Tiruchanur, three miles to the south of Tirupati. Of minor temples, mention may be made of the Kapileshwara temple at Kapilatirtham, the Rama temple in the town of Tirupati and the Parasareshvara temple at Jogi- allavaram, situated a furlong to the west of Tiruchanur. The Hill on which the temple of Sri Venkateshwara stands popularly known as Venkatachalam is low and surrounded by many hills of an altitude, as is the case with the hill on which is located the Mallikarjuna temple Of Srisailam, The hill to the north is 3426′ high, the height to the east is 2750′ high, the hill to the south is 2920′ high and the hill to the southeast is 3620′ high. There are five well-known paths leading to the Temple. Of them, two routes start from the town of Tirupati, the stepped pathway, seven miles long and the motor road, twelve miles long. The third route is from Chandragiri. The fourth starts from the Mamandur Railway station and the fifth pass by Nagapatla.
The Temple of Tirupati:
The town of Tirupati came into existence only about the middle of the twelfth century, with the foundation of the Govindarajaswami temple. Before this time there was a small village, named Kottur, to the north-east of Kapilatirtham, situated about two miles to the north of the modern town. On the spot where the Govindarajaswami temple stands there was a small shrine dedicated to Krishna. The famous Vaishnava teacher, Ramanuja founded the Govindaraja temple and started a small settlement round it named Ramanujapuram, confined to the four Mada streets round the temple. This small colony was expanded later on, particularly in Vijayanagara Times. An Achyutarayapuram came into existence to the northeast. An Srinivasapuram came to be formed to the west. The main bazaar was formed and a fairly big township grew up. Several other shrines were also founded like the Rama or aghunatha temple, the Periya-alvar shrine, the Achyutaraya temple, the Mammalwar shrine, the Kapileshwara shrine and the Narasimha shrine. Near the foot of the hills a Lakshminarasimha temple and an Alvar shrine came to be built.
The Govindarajaswami Temple:
This temple is the main attraction for the pilgrims at Tirupati and the biggest temple in town.