Situated on the foothills of the Eastern Ghats and close to the capital of Tamil Nadu, the ancient city of Tirupati draws millions of devotees every year. Regarded as an important pilgrimage center for the Hindus, Tirupati, with its slew of temples, truly stands out as a haven for the pilgrims. Although there is no concrete evidence on the origin and founders of this ancient town, there are plenty of speculations revolving round its inception. The history of the city presumably dates back to the 2nd century BC during the Chola Kingdom, who were responsible for upkeeping of the shrine. However, it was only around 17th century CE, during the time of Vijayanagara Empire, that the place got its recognition. Early mention of this city can also be traced back to Sangam and Puranic literature, which testify to the early existence of the shrine in Tirupati. Scroll down this article on history of Tirupati and uncover the many unknown facts on Bhakti movement, influence of Muslim invasion and events that took place post-independence.
As mentioned earlier, there is no concrete evidence on how the place came into being. However, a few historians trace back the history of the place to 2nd century BC and affirm early dominance over the land by Dravidian rulers like the Cholas, the Pallavas and the Vijayanagara Empire. Although there were many development activities undertaken by the Cholas and the Pallavas, it was only during the Vijayanagara dynasty that the popularity of the place escalated. Again, a few scholars follow the roots of Tirupati to Sangam literature that states a place called Thrivengadam, which is believed to be modern-day Tirupati. Some of the works of Sangam literature like Ilango Vadigal's 'Silapadikaram' and Satanar's 'Manimeghalai' testify to the existence of the city.
During the 5th century AD, the place established itself as a significant centre of Vaishnavism. In this period, the place witnessed an increase of religious saints that spread the preaching of Lord Vishnu. Known as Alvars, these Vaishnava saints were responsible for Bhakti movement in Tirupati. Apart from actively giving religious discourse to the inhabitants in this region, the saints also used other means to spread spiritual message of Lord Vishnu through poems, devotional songs and literary pieces.
Invasion Of Muslim Rule In Southern India
During the 15th and the 16th century, India saw the invasion of the Islamic rulers in southern part of India. However, unlike the rest of the Indian temples that were plundered for its wealth and destroyed by religiously intolerant leaders, Tirupati escaped the wrath of the Mughal rulers. Some assume that it was due to the hilly terrain of the Eastern Ghats that dissuaded the enemy's armed forces.
Although Tirupati was initially a part of Tamil Nadu under Madras Presidency, it was later made a part of Andhra Pradesh. In the year 1953, the Telugu speaking population in India protested stating that Madras should become the capital of Andhra Pradesh. The reason behind this conflict was that the place had equal Tamil and Telugu population. By then end of 1953, it was decided that Madras would remain a part of Tamil Nadu while Tirupati would go to Andhra Pradesh. The passing of the state-reorganizing act in 1956 officially confirmed the states respective boundaries.