The Temples of Tirupati – The main shrine

As stated before, the two shrines of Krishna or Parthasarathi and Govindaraja are enclosed by four walls and appear like a single shrine. This enclosure contains, in the case of each shrine, a pillared varandah running on the south, west and north and a Mukhamantapa in the east. Within this verandah are the Garbhagriha and the Antarala. Outside this enclosure there is an open pillared mantapa. Before this and at a lower level is another open pillared mantapa. Before this second mantapa there is another square mantapa with a small shrine of Garuda in its centre.
The two shrines stand on an adhishtana which consists of udpana, patta, a moulding, gala cut into compartments by short pilasters, patta, another patta, and alingapattika.
The walls above are plain and built of large blocks of stone rivetted into each other. The Prastara at the top is plain and so is the kapota above it. The Achchadana or roof is also plain. The edges of the open pillared mantapas in the front have chunchu on the edges.
The Vimana which rises above the Garbhagriha of the Govindaraja shrine is a dvitala-vimana of the Vesara order. The first tala or storey contains a hara or row of Kuta, Panjara, Sala,
panjara, and kuta. The second tala contains in the comers a nasika or gable surmounted by simhalalata with a seated Vishnu image below. The Sikhara is oblong or Ayatasra because of the Sayana- murtiiaaidc the Garbhagriha. It has five gilded kalasas at the top. The entire Vimana seems to have been renovated recently.
The foremost open pillared mantapa of the shrine is described as the Chitrakutamantapa in inscriptions of the fifteenth century. It has three rows of eleven pillars which are of three types (a) simple pillars with Vijayanagara capitals (b)pillars with one pillaret projecting and (c) curved pillars with one pillaret projecting. A small shrine housing Garuda is located in this mantapa between the second and third pillars of the first row in the front. The second mantapa which is slightly elevated contains three rows of nine pillars each. The pillars in the front row are in the Vijayanagara style while those in the two back rows are Chola pillars.
There is an entrance in the back wall of the mantapa guarded by two dvarapalas which leads into the enclosure beyond and to the Mukhamantapa direct. There are two fluted Chola pillars before this entrance. The front wall of the mukhamantapa is plain and built of large blocks of stone rivetted into each other. There are two rows of five pillars each in the centre of the Mukhamantapa on either side of the entrance of the Antarala. There are corresponding pilasters in the walls in the north and south. All these are Chola pillars.
The pillared verandah runs to the south, west and north. There are five pillars in the northern and southern sections and six in the western section. All these are Chola pillars. The roof of the verandah joins that of the Garbhagriha while there is a narrow space between it and the roof of the Antarala.
The Garbhagriha and the Antarala are similar in design. The Antarala is narrower and forms an angle at the place where it joins
the Garbhagriha. Both the structures Stand Oil an adhishtana which contains uapana, three pattas, kumuda, another patta, gala, another patta, tripatta, gala and alingapatta. There are Circular projections on the uapana. The walls are decorated with a sala- koshta in the centre with three pilasters on either side. All these stand on a patta about a foot above the adhishtana. These pilasters have a rectangular base whose comers are rounded into shape with rows of pearl hangings, a kumuda a. kalasa, a dvipatta, another patta, two half lotuses and the phalaka or abacus. Above is the capital whose brackets are broken into angles and whose top projects to the sides in the shape of an elephant’s trunk and ends in a low potika. The central salakoshtha is made of two pilasters supporting a kapota or cornice decorated with two nasikas or gables surmounted by simhalalatas, one above each of the two pilasters below. There is a circular projection inside each of the nasikas. The space between the nasikas contains a smaller nasika. Above the kapota is the sala or waggon-top shaped roof which has in the centre a big nasika with a miniature nasika inside it The space on either side of the big nasika is cut into vertical and curved ribbons. Th roof ofthe salakoshta has a row of kalasas. The koshtha is empty. Below the phalaka at the top of each of the two pilasters below x projecting brackets containing the figure of a Yali with a lion’s face and with its trunk hanging between its raised knees. Above the Salakoshta the wall is plain. The roof is adorned with six nasik on each edge. The front wall of the Antarald has two pilasters o either side of its entrance.
The following sculptures are to be found on the outerside o the walls of the Garbhagriha and Antarala.
1. On the sala above the koshtha in the west wall of the Garbha- griha-Two figures standing in the katihasta pose supporting die sala on their shoulders.
2. On the base of die pilasters of the north wall of the Garbhagriha-A dancing deity inside a sala; Rama shooting an arrow; deity with an axe and shield; Vishnu seatedin thepralambapada pose holding samkha and chakra in the upper hands and keeping the lower hands in abhaya and vqrada; Krishna as Kaliyamardana; Vamana and Varaha with Bhu seated on his left thigh.
3. At the base of the pilasters of the koshtha in the west wall of the Garbhagriha-A man holding an axe and with his right foot raised and dancing; two-handed Narasimha fighting Hiranya- kasipu and Rama shooting an arrow.
4. On the north wall of the Antarala- Yoganarasimha ; Narasimha killing Hiranyakasipu; Vishnu seated cross-legged with the lower right hand in abhaya and the lower left resting on the left knee; Trivikrama with tite left leg uplifted and two standing deities.
5. North side of the front wall of the Antarala-Man standing with hands in anjali and Venugopala with a gopi on either side.

Leave a Reply