Discription of the temples of Tirumala – Main shrine

 The main shrine which contains the image of Sri Venkateswara is a complex of structures. It starts with the Garbhagriha at the western  end and ends with the Tirumamani- mantapa at the eastern  end. Part of this area, ending with the northern and southern wings  of the Mukkoti-pradakshinam inside, is enclosed by a thick stone wall  which is plain and rests on a low adhishtana consisting of upana , patta, patta, padma and alinga- pattika. The northern wall of the Mukkoti-pradakshinam is longer and covers a longer distance. Two mantapas, the Tiru- mamani-mantapam and the  snapana -mantapam, project to the east from the front wall between  the  two side wings of the pradakshinam. Thus the main shrine appears to be  in three sections, if looked at from the north.
The Vimana which rises above the Garbhagriha is of the  Dvitala  type and belongs to the Vesara order. Each tala has the cues kuta, panjara, sala, panjara and kuta. There is a plain narrow step above the two talas containing lions in the cardinal directions. Above it is the gala or neck adorned with a Sala-  oshtha  surmounted by simhalalata in the centre with a panjara similarly  surmounted on each side. Above this is the round domical sikhara adorne  with lotus design all over and on the top is the kalasa.  There arc many Vaishnava sculptures on the Vimana which is encased by  gilded plates. The  Tirumamani-mantapa is an open pillared hall. Behind this  is the Snapana-mantapa, whose northern and southern walls  are in three sections, the central section, being wider than the other to  The front and back sections stand on an adhishtana which contains upana, a broad patta, a narrow patta, padma, a broad  patta , gala, Tripatta, fluted horizontally all over, another, gala cut Into compartments by short pilasters and kapota decorated with

nasikas surmounted by simhalalatas. The central section is almost similar  excepting for the tripatta which is plain and an alingapattika  and  a row of makaras found above the kapota. The walls of the western section are decorated with the series-two pilasters and Koshtha surmounted by a simhalalata-torana. The walls of the central  section are adorned with a sala-koshtha between two pilasters. The  walls of the eastern section are deco- rated with a koshta surmounted  by a simhalalata-torana and two pilasters.
The Mukkoti-pradakshinam encloses the Sayanamantapa, Antarala and Garbhagriha. The architectural features found on the outer side of the walls of these structures are different. The walls In the north and south are in four sections from west to east. The two central sections are wider. Sections 1,2 and 4 stand on a high adhishtana which contains upana, patta, Adhahpadma, two pattas , gala, patta, tripatta, urdhvapadma, patta, gala, kapota hIi ii nod with nasikas surmounted by simhalalatas and a patta
containing a row of makaras. The decoration of the walls of these three sections is also different. The walls of section 1, contain the
series- sala-koshtha, two pilasters and kuta-panjara. The walls section 2 contain the series-pilaster, Kumbhapanjara between two pilasters , kutapanjara, pilaster and kumbhapanjara. The walls of  section 3 are adorned with a sala-koshta between two pilasters. the  walls of section 4 are decorated with the series-kumbha-panjara , pilaster, kutapanjara, pilaster, kumbhapanjara, pilaster and pilaster. The back wall of the Garbhagriha is in three sections,  the central one projecting a little to the west. The southern section
contains  the series-pilaster, pilaster, kumbhapanjara, pilaster, kutapanjara, pilaster and kumbhapanjara. The central section
contains  a sala-koshtha between two pilasters. The northern section
contains  the series-pilaster, kumbhopanjara, pilaster, Kutapanjara,  pilaster , kumbhapanjara, pilaster and pilaster.
The circum ambulatory passage known as the Mukkotipradak- shinam is a pillared verandah in three sections. The southern section has a row of six pillars, the western section has a row of four pillars and the northern section has two rows of seven pillars each. All the pillars are round and have Chola capitals with the broad face fluted and with a circle in the centre.
There is no kapota above the walls but a plain patta is to be found in its place.
The Tirumamani-mantapa is 43 feet x 40 feet and contains sixteen pillars and an overhanging kapota, projecting from the roof above. To the west of it is the front wall of the Snapana- mantapa. There is a fmely carved doorway in its centre, known as the Bangaru- Vakili, flanked by a Dvarapalaka on either side. The jambs of the doorway are decorated with lotus petals. The lintel contains the figure of Gajalakshmi and the architrave above has in the centre a sala surmounted by simhalalata.
Passing through the Bangaru-vakili one enters the Snapana- mantapa which contains four central pillars. The front part of this mantapa has been converted into two rooms, one on either side.
Beyond this mantapa is a narrow compartment, about 12 feet x 10 feet with a raised pial on each side of the pathway. A number of metallic images are kept on these pials. Obviously, this was originally another mantapa, and rooms must have been built on the sides leaving a narrow path way in the centre.
Farther west is another mantapa, now known as the Sayana- mantapa. This must have been originally the Antarala.
Next is the Garbhagriha containing the image of Sri Venkatesvara.

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