Sri Govindaraja Swami Temple was constructed in the year 1130 AD by Sri. Ramanujacharyar. It is located in Tirupati, Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. Tourists from all over the world come to Tirupati to visit the magnificence and grandeur of this age-old temple dedicated to Lord Maha Vishnu. The temple is walk able distance from Tirupati Railway station. The sanctum of the temple is said to have been in existence since the 9th century.
This temple is the biggest temple in Tirupati and also attracts lakhs of pilgrims. The earliest of the records belong to the year 1235 A.D when Chola King, Raja Raja III was ruling this place. In the year 1239 A.D the queen of Viranarasinga of Yadavaraya made a gift for decoration of the chariot and necessary repairs. The temple became greater important in 1506 A.D, during the rule of Saluva dynasty of Vijayanagar and from then onward different rulers in a different way developed this temple. It is also built by Nayakas, the successors of Vijayanagar empire.
Sri Govindaraja Swami Temple has a remarkable outer gopuram and an inner gopuram. The temple has an impressive outer gopuram. The inner most gopuram is the earliest one, dating from the 14th-15th centuries and has carvings that depict scenes from Ramayana and Lord Krishn’s life.
Few parts of the inner shrine date back to the 9th and 10th centuries. The original temple had Sri Parthasarathi on the main altar. ‘Sri Ramanuja’ added the Sri Govindaraja deity around 1130.
Very interesting fact is that the celestial bath (Abishekam) is not conducted to the presiding deity perhaps this is the first of its kind in Bharat,. It is one of the 108 Divyadesam dedicated to Vishnu, who is worshipped as Govindaraja and his consort Lakshmi as Pundarikavalli.
It has an imposing seven-storey ‘Gopuram’ built in the year 1628, which can be seen from a distance also. To the left side of the entrance first Gopuram (gate) of the temple dedicated to Lakshmi is found. She is seated on a lotus in her four-armed form, holding a lotus in each of her upper hands, while her other two hands are in poses of ‘Abhaya’, fearlessness, and ‘Varada’, benediction.
Another nearby shrine is dedicated to Sri Ramanuja and on the left of the second entrance is a ‘Kurma’ Deity, Lord Vishnu as a tortoise. There are carvings depicting the pastimes of the Ramayana and Lord Krishna’s pastimes on the second gopuram.
Stalapuranam (Story of the Temple)
Sri Govindaraja Swamy is the elder brother of Sri Venkateswara Swamy, who accomplished to perform the magnificent marriage between Sri Venkateswara Swamy and Padmavathi Ammavaru. Sri Govindaraja Swamy was the caretaker of massive wealth being obtained from Kubera (God of wealth) for conducting the wedding. He efficiently utilized this wealth to conduct one of the most glorious weddings of the history. Hence Sri Govindaraja Swami is considered to be the God who helps you to elevate your wealth and manage the wealth acquired efficiently. Sri Govindaraja Swami is also bestowed with the ability to remove obstacles for the accumulation of wealth. Here the Lord occupies a resting position, after counting the volume of money he has received from Kubera.
The king Yadavaraja, a royal disciple of Sri Ramanujacharya who was ready to carry out the instructions of his acharya was very much devoted to Sri Govindaraja Swami that was established by Sri Ramanujacharya. He raised magnificent gopurams, protective walls and mantapams for the temple. He had broad streets laid around the temple and had the various festivals to Sri Govindaraja Swami celebrated in a fitting manner.
Sri Govindaraja Swamy temple is a huge complex with many other sub shrines in it. Parthasarathy temple, Kalyana Venkateswara Temple are of more importance among the sub-shrines. There are also shrines dedicated to Pundarikavalli, Andal, Chakratalwar, Alwars, Lakshmi Narayana Swamy, Anjaneya, Tirumala Nambi, Bhashyakar.
When you visit Tirupati, do visit Govindaharaja Swamy temple in the foot hills of Thirumala right next to the railway station and be blessed with all the health, wealth, prosperity and peace. Jai Govinda !!