Tirumala, 8 October 2016: To every devotee of Lord Venkateswara, the gold plated gopuram above the sanctum of the temple of Lord Venkateswara is symbolic of Tirumala and reverence to the deity. Ananda Nilayam gopuram which has been embellished with protraits of gods and other mythological profiles It is both iconic brand of the Vaishnavite hill shrine.

The gold plated 7-8 feet tower like gopuram above the sanctum is revered by devotees across the universe as the epitome of Lord Venkateswara himself. Legends and rock inscriptions at the Temple depict that the top end of the sanctum was brought to earth by Garuda on directions of Maha Vishnu and in later days his ardent follower Thondaman constructed the sanctum and the installed the Vimana Venkateswara ido.

In early 839 AD the gold plating of the Ananda Nilayam was done by Pallava king Vijayadanti Varman and there after several emperors like Jatavarma Sundara Pandya (1262) Saluva Mangideva installed the kalasham on the gopuram in 1359. The ghanta mandapam before the Bangaru Vakili was built by the Chandragiri minister Mallana and also revamped the Ananda Nilayam.

The iconic gopuram also got refurbished by the popular Vijayanagara emperor during his seven visits to Tirumala from 1513-21 and records show that during 1518 he got it again gold plated. His successor Saluva Narasinga Raya donated weight in gold to Srivari temple for complete gold casting up to the Bangaru Vakili. In the same manner in 1630 Tatacharya of Kanchipuram and in 1908 one of the Mahan Ramalakshmana Das of tirumala renovated the gopuram with gold plating.

Since the TTD became custodian of the hoary temple in 1952 the temple board decided to renovate the gopuram and completed the exercise by 1958 at a cost of Rs.18 lakhs with 12 tones of copper plates and 12000 tulas of gold including the old gold worth Rs.8 lakhs from the old gopuram.

In the later days the interiors of the bangaru bavi was also gold plated and with the gold plates supplied by the Pune based Ramanath Sindhe while the Stapathi Chokkalingachari of Madurai provided the copper plates and the gold smith from Thiruchirapalli R Gopalaswami Raju performed the gold coating.

The main shrine stands on a platform of 415×263 feet area and the entire temple complexas designed by the legendry mythological architect Vishwakarma is spread over 16.2 acres. Standing on a quadrangular base the Srivari Temple has an exotic Dravidian architecture that cascades through centuries–from Chola to Vijayanagara period, a representation of cultural fusion in granite. It is renowned for its exotic Dravidian Architecture famous for pyramid shaped towers constructed with sandstone, soapstone and granite.

A dedicated team of 55 personnel headed by a Dy Engineer and two assistant engineers take up regular works in the Srivari Temple including all electrical, air conditioning and structural repairs. A team of nearly 300 including cleaning, medical staff, pushers inside sanctum, prasadam distributors, cooks, temple security , coin and note counters (Parakamani, Priests (about 30 of them ) all of whom work on a shift basis, form the core team of TTD workers inside the Srivari Temple. The temple opens at early morning 2.30 AM and is open for nearly 22 hours, 12 at night after the swami is symbolically put to rest.

The floors are swept on a regular basis for at least six to eight times a day. Inside the sanctum sanctorum it is cleaned with soft cloth and a broom made of green leaves and grass. Outside also only leaves from shrubs and grass is used to clean the temple.“Cleaning inside the temple is being done since ages as per Agama practices to retain the divine charm and the Unparalled mystic powers of the deity and the temple”, says Dr D Sambasiva Rao, Executive Officer of the TTD.

Yet another unique feature of Srivari Temple was it hanging gardens (vertical gardens) on the prakarams of the Srivari temple which have enhanced the green environment inside the temple and soothe sentiments of the devotees through the day.