In the close to 900 years of its existence, the administration of the ancient cluster of temples, including the Lord Venkateswara Temple at Tirumala, has passed through several empires such as the Pallavas, the Cholas, and the Vijayanagara empire. However, several ancient customs and traditions followed at the Tirumala temple and at others linked to it, have never been altered and are still adhered.
Tirupati turns 893 today
Some of the chants and prayers that echo in the ancient precincts of the Lord Balaji temple in Tirumala date back more than 1,000 years.
Though firmly rooted in tradition, the city has everything to cater to its 30 million visitors annually. Top-class medical, educational and transport facilities have come up in the past many decades. To name one, the TTD-run Sri Padmavathi Children’s Heart Centre, has since its inception seven months ago, conducted 1,100 heart surgeries free of cost. Even a child from Bangladesh with a rare heart disease was successfully operated upon at the hospital free of cost, establishing Tirupati’s credentials as a medical tourism destination.
Nine centuries ago, Srivaishnavaite saint philosopher Sri Ramanujacharya, after visiting the Tirumala temple of Lord Venkateswara, believed it was essential to establish a town at the foot of Tirumala hills for the safety and convenience of devotees. The newly established settlement was named “Govindapatnam” on February 24, 1130.
Today, TTD is the richest Hindu temple trust in the world with an estimated net worth of 2.26 lakh crore. The temple trust has fixed deposits to the tune of 16,000 crore, and gold deposits of more than 10 tonnes. The temple trust has a land bank of 7,123 acres across the country, the market value of which is about 2 lakh crore.
“Sri Ramanujacharya, who established the code of worship at Tirumala, laid established this city. It later came to be known as Ramanujapuram. From the 13th century onwards, this city has been referred to as Tirupati,” Tirupati MLA and former TTD chairman Bhumana Karunakar Reddy said.
The TTD runs 33 educational institutions for underprivileged children. It has set up top health institutions such as Sri Venkateswara Institute of Medical Sciences, Balaji Institute of Research & Rehabilitation of disabled, Central hospital, Ayurvedic hospital and Aswini Hospital.