The Eastern Ghats run close to the coast up to the river Krishna ai id then take an inward bend. They then break off into three ranges, one running along the coast up to Ponneri, another running into the Kumool and Anantapur districts and the third or central range starting m Kurnool and meeting the hills round about Tirupati. These ranges
Form almost a mountain wall stretching from the Mysore plateau in the west to Ponneri in the east. This constituted the ancient border belween the Tamil country in the south and Vadugu, by which name the modem Kannada and Telugu speaking region, to its north, was llien known. Vengadam or the Tiumala hill was a prominent outpost hii i his border. The puranas compare the central range, mentioned .iliovc, to a huge recumbent serpant and locate the Mallikarjuna temple of Srisailam on its tail, the Narasimha temple of Ahobalam on its back, the Sri Venkateswara temple of Tirumala on the back of tin hood and the Kalahastisvara temple of Kalahasti at the opening ill the mouth.
Tirupati and Tiruchanur are located in a big circular plain surrounded by a chain of hills on all sides. The Tirumala hills form the northern part of this chain and the town of Tirupati is about two miles to the south of these hills.
The hill on which the temple of Sri Venkatesvara stands, popularly known as Venkatachalam, is low and surrounded by many hills of a higher altitude, as is the case with the hill on which is located the Mallikaijuna temple of Srisailam. The hill to the north is 3426’ high, the hill to the east is 2750’ high, the hill to the south is 2920’ high and the hill to the south-west 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 passes by Nagapatla.
Of the three important centres of pilgrimage in this region, Tirumala is the oldest and its god finds mention in Tamil literature of the early centuries of the Christian Era. Tiruchanur comes to notice from about the beginning of the ninth century A.D. The Govindaraja shrine of Tirupati was founded about 1130 A.D. and the town grew up round this temple subsequently.