The Temples of Tirupati – The Govindarajasvami Temple -History of the temple

A large number of inscriptions found in this temple and in the Sri Venkatesvara temple at Tirumala help us to trace the history of
this temple. The earliest record, dated in the 19th year of the reign of the Chola king, Rajaraja HI, corresponding to 1235 AD., is incised on the outer side of the front wall of the Mukhamaniapa. It indicates that by this time the Garbhagriha, Antarala, the pillared verandah on their three sides and the Mukhamantapa existed (1 – 40). The next record (1-61), dated in 1264 A.D., refers to the provision made for offerings to die deity during the Vaikhasi festival. An inscription dated in 1239A.D., corresponding to the 30th year of the reign of the Yadavaraya chief, Viranarasmga, states that his queen made a gift for the Celebration of the Ani festival, for the; decoration of the car presented by her to Govindaraja and fo effecting repairs to the temple. (1-86) Another inscription of 1308 A.D., makes provision for conducting Tirumanjanam on the Kaisika- dvadasi, Margali-dvadasi, Makara-samkramanam and Citra-visu days (1-98).
The Govindaraja temple received wider attention with .the advent of Vijayanagara rule over Tondamandalam.
A record of 1445A.D., refers to special offerings made to the god on the day of the star Uttara (1-212). The two Tirukkodi- tirunals celebrated in the temple are referred to in a record of the same year (1-213). An epigraph of the-next year mentions th Dhvajarohana during the Vaikasi and Ani festivals (1-215). Th Kaiyar-chakram day is -referred to in, another record of the sam year (1-222).
Interesting information about this temple is also available fror the inscriptions of the Saluva dynasty. An inscription of 1456AD., states that the Padiya-vettai or Hunting festival was celebrated on the second day of the month of Thai (II-3). Another record of 1467A.D., states that Govindaraja, Sridevi and Bhudevi were given a holy bath with water obtained from a tank as arranged by Ramanuj; (H-29). We learn from an epigraph of 1475 A.D. that oil and betel
leaves offered to Sri Venkatesvara were being brought down Tirumala to be offered to Govindaraja at the time of his Tirumanjanam on the day of the Krittika star in the month of Kartika (1 -62). A certain teacher, named Van-Sathakopa- Jiyar, constructed the verandah of the Vasantamantapam at the entrance of the Govindaraja shrine, but the roof was left unfinished. Acertain ’ Nallar-Angan dai finished the roofing during the twelve days of the Vaikhasi festival (11-83). A festival namedihe Kodar- tirunal was * being celebrated in the temple for twenty daysduring die Summer festival (11-83). We learn from an inscription of 1490 A.D., that 1 Govindaraja was taken in procession through the streets oh the day 1 of Sarnkratmnam and during the Kanuppadi festival (11-91). One record of die Succeeding year refers, to the practice of decorating the deity on the Kigali Mid Deepavali days with two garlands . resembling the Sim and the Moon (11-94). Another; dated two years later, refers to the Car festival during the Vaikhasi and Am festivals and die Citra-vishu celebrations held in the Chitrakuta-mantapam (II-105). Other inscriptions of this time mention the practice of the god being taken to the temple of Rama and given Tirumanjanam there during the Vaikhasifes&vzi and of his mMgiheSeshavahanam during the Ani festival (11-111). One record of 1492A.D., mentions the Tiruppallieluchchi or Dhanurmasam festival (11-100). Mention is made in a record of thenext year of the practice of Govindaraja hearing the accounts on a day in the Adi-ayanam of opening new accounts and of the Uri-adi and the Uri-katti festivals (11-115). Another record refers to the practice of the god riding the horse vehicle on the Tai-amavasya day (H-l 18). The custom of Sri , Vaishnavas reciting the Tiruvaymoli on the occasion of Govindaraja’s going to the shrine of Tirumangai-alvar on the seventh festive days seems to have come into vogue in 1494A.D., (11-122). One more record of this time mentions that as offerings made to Sri Venkatesvara
are brought down Tirumala to Tirupati, Govindaraja and Sudikudutanachchiyar go out to welcome them (II-140).
The Govindaraja temple came in for greater patronage during1 the rule of the Saluva dynasty of Vijayanagara. A certain Appa-, pillai built a mantapa in front of the kitchen in 1506A.D., (Hl-9). The practice of making offerings to Tiruvali Alvar or Sudarasana ; in the big gopuram of the temple was in vogue in 1507 A.D., (HI-; 10). The Arma-unjal-tirunal or Swing festival was instituted in this temple in 1508A.D., for the merit of Narasimha Maharaya (III-B). An inscription of 1513 A.D., refers to the practice of Govindaraja going out to the tank at Timchanur on the day of the Masi-makham festival (HI-31). Mention is made in aiecord of the same year of the Tirukkoneri or Govindapuskarani (IV-12). From 1533 A.D., there ■ came into vogue the custom of Govindaraja witnessing iheMakuppu dance in the north-east comer of the North Mada street on the twenty eight days of the Vaikhasi and Ani Brahmotsavams and of the . celebration of the Margali-nirattotsava for Sudikudutanachchiyar (IV-27). An inscription of the same year mentions the practice of Govindaraja going to the Alvar-tirtham and mixing tirtham in it on the ninth festival days of the Vaikhasi and Ani Brahmotsavams (IV-49). In the same year, a certain Ramabhattarayyan constructed a mantapam at the entrance to the Govindaraja temple (IV-76). According to another record the Rathasaptami festival was being conducted while the god was seated in the Chitrakutamantapam (IV-118). A Saluva Govindayya instituted the floating festival for the god in 1539A.D., (TV-133). A record of the same year mentions the Gajendramoksam festival and die recitation of the Gajendramoksam slokas on the occasion (IV-135). In 1544 A.D., during the rule of Aliya Ramaraya, the Tiruvenkatamahatmyam was read in the Lakshmidevi mantapam (V-92). One record of this time refers to the reading of the
Kaisikapuranam in the temple (V-40). Another inscription of 1545 A.D., supplies the interesting information that 365 pairs of Yajnopavitams were given to the temple to he used at the rate of one on each day (V-47).  Tallapakam China Tirumalayyangar instituted in 1547 A.D., a Kalyanotsavam for Govindaraja to be celebrated for five days in the month of Chittirai (V-153). Two years later, a Nandyala Narappayya installed two dvarapalakas on either side of the entrance to the Mukhamantapam of the temple (V122).  Aninscriptionof 1554AD. mentions the practice of having the Kaiyarchakram slokas recited in the temple composed by Tippur Pillaiayyangar.
Some more festivals were instituted in the temple during the days of the rule of the Aravidu dynasty. A record of 1584 A.D., mentions theAvi’/a/i garden festival (VI-6). Another record of 1592 A.D., refers to die Tiruppuvula festival and the Tulasimahatmyam festival celebrated on the Mukkoti-dvadasi day (VI-9). Matia Ananta, a powerful feaudatory of this period, gifted a Gajavahana and a Turagavahana. He also built the biggest and outermost gopura of the temple (VI-25,26).

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