The Temples of Tirupati – Description of the shrine

The main entrance to the shrine, which faces the east, is surmounted by a big gopura built by MadaAnantaraja in 1624A D. The walls of this gopura are decorated with the series-pilaster, Kuta, pilaster, Kumbhapanjara, pilaster, Salakoshtha, pilaster, Kumbhapanjara, pilaster Salakoshtha, pilaster, kumbhapanjara pilaster, Kuta and pilaster. There are numerous Vaishnava sculptures all over the walls and the figures of the donor and his wife andparents.
To the west of the gopura entrance is the first or outermost courtyard. In this are to be found the Vedanta Desika shrine and the Lakshmidevimantapam in the southern part and the shrines of Manavala-mahamuni and four Alvars in the northern part.
The Vedanta Desika shrine consists of a front verandah, a hall, the Garbhagriha and the Antarala. The verandah contains two
rows of four pillars each, all in the Vijayanagara style. The hall beyond contains eight rows of seven pillars each, all in the Chola style. The walls of the Garbhagriha are decorated with six pilasters, each with a Chola capital with the bracket highly decorated. The walls of the Antarala are plain. There is a narrow compartment before the Antarala. Inside the Garbhagriha is the stone image of Vedanta Desika.
Very near this shrine is a narrow high mantapa on four tall columns known as the Kumbhaharati mantapa. Beyond this mantapa is another similar mantapa known as the unjal-mantapa or Buggamantapa near a small pond formed by a bugga or water spring.
A big mantapa known as the Lakshmidevirnantapam is situated adjacent to the second Gopura. It contains two mantapas, oik at a lower level and the other at a higher level. The front part contains four rows of five pillars each. All these are fluted pillars of the Vijayanagara style. The elevated part contains five rows of four pillars each, each pillar consisting of three rectangular blocks with two octagonal shafts between them in Vijayanagara capital.
There is a shrine of three alvars parallel to the Lakshmidevi- manlapam in the northern part of the courtyard. It consists of a hall with two rows of six Vijayanagara pillars each having at the base the varaha and an inverted sword before it. The Garbhagriha, situated at the western end of the hall, contains the stone images of Poigai- alvar, Pudattalvar and Periyalvar. Next to this shrine is an empty mantapa with tall pillars.
The Manavalamahamuni shrine is parallel to the shrine of Vedanta Desika.

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