The Temples of Tirupati – The Govindarajasvami Temple

This Temple is the main attraction for the pilgrims at Tirupati and the biggest temple in the town.
Foundation of the shrine- None of the numerous inscriptions found in the temple mention the date of its construction or the name of its founder. The earliest of the records belongs to the year 1235 AD. The Guruparampara accounts of the Vaishnavas ascribe the foundation of the shrine to Ramanuja. This teacher lived at Srirangam, in the heart of the Chola kingdom and carried on his missionary activity. The accession of Kulottunga I (1070-1120 A.D.) had
important consequences as far as Vaishnavism in south India was concerned. This monarch was an ardent Saiva. Vaishnava activity was in the full swing at this time under the lead of Ramanuja. The Saivas and the Vaishnavas came into conflict with each other frequently. On one occasion, it is stated, there was a heated discussion between these rival religionists. A Saiva is said to have proposed that there is nothing greater than Siva (also a measure) and a Vaishnava retaliated by asserting that the Dmna (another measure) was greater than Siva. The king naturally took offence at this. Subsequently, he is said to have gone to the famous Nataraja temple of Chidambaram and found there a small shrine dedicated to Vishnu under the name of Govindaraja. Remembering the arrogance of the Vaishnavas, Kulottunga is said to have remarked that the proper place for Vishnu was not the earth but die sea. The Vaishnavas grew apprehensive of the safety of their god. They walled up the entrance to the sanctum, took hold of the Utsavamurti or processional idol and fled over night from Chidambaram. Travelling by circuitous routes they are said to have reached Kottur and hidden the idol there. Ramanuja himself could not bear the hostility of the Chela ruler and fled to the Hoyasala kingdom, which then flourished in the modem Mysore State. He lived there for some years and returned to Srirangam only after the death of Kulottunga in 1120 A.D. Subsequently, he visited Tirumala and came to know that the idol of Govindaraja of Chidambaram lay hidden below the hill. He raised a small shrine adjacent to the shrine of Krishna, already existing, and installed a temporary mula-beram of Govindaraja in it along with the metallic image brought fromChidambaram. Ibis event is ascribed to about 1130 A.D.

Leave a Reply