Tirupati Balaji, Venkateswara is one of the most venerated Gods of Hinduism and the temple, in Chittoor District is visited by thousands of people everyday.
The Hindu Puranas speak of this temple as being quite old.
This Temple in the Tirupati/Tirumala Hills is and surrounded by Hills which are prehistoric and the Hills have the world’s most ancient natural rock Archway.
Geologists have dated this and the information tallies with what Hindu Puranas say about the age of the Hills.
It is about 21oo Million years old.
Eparchaean Unconformity (Tirupati hills) is a major discontinuity of stratigraphic significance that represents a period of remarkable serenity in the geological history of the earth. It is seen at the steep natural slopes, road scars and ravines in the Tirupati – Tirumala Ghatroad in Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh, India.
Plaque gives brief details of Eparchaen Unconformity Image Credit.”Plaque at Tirumal hills on Eparchean Unconformity” by Nvvchar – Own work. Licensed under CC BY-SA 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Plaque_at_Tirumal_hills_on_Eparchean_Unconformity.jpg#/media/File:Plaque_at_Tirumal_hills_on_Eparchean_Unconformity.jpg
In 2001, the Geological Survey of India (GSI) declared the unconformity to be one of the 26 “Geological Monuments of India”. GSI’s commemoration document, published on the occasion of the 150 years anniversary celebration, provides an insight into the formation of the subcontinent, the orogeny, the paleoenvironment and the exotic collection of paleo-flora and fauna. The details provided for the Eparchaean Unconformity monument indicate that this feature forms the boundary surface between Proterozoic Nagari Quartzites andArchaean granite. The time gap between the formation of the two units is at least 500 Ma.
Natural Archway Tirupati, The assessed geological age of the rock arch is 2.5 billion years. Formation of the arch is attributed to intensified weathering and erosion of stream action that has withstood the torque of nature Image Credit.”Natural stone arch in tirumala” by Tatiraju.rishabh at English Wikipedia. Licensed under CC BY 3.0 via Wikimedia Commons – https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Natural_stone_arch_in_tirumala.JPG#/media/File:Natural_stone_arch_in_tirumala.JPG
At this location, the boundary is between sedimentary rocks of the Cudappah Supergroup, 1600 million years in age, and Archaean rocks comprising granites, gneisses and dolerite dykes that are more than 2100 million years old. This unconformity gives an indication of the enormous time gap in the creation of the earth’s crust.
The Tirupati hills are situated at the foot of a range of hills known by several names, including ‘Seshachala’, ‘Venkatachala’ and ‘Balaji’. There are four geological units:
- (1) Archaean rocks of the eastern Dharwar Craton (the granites and gneisses)
- (2) the Eparchean unconformity (Quartzose sandstones overlying the granite with a distinct unconformity)
- (3) Puranas (a general name for Proterozoic sedimentary sequences found in a series of basins deposited on the Indian Shield; including the Cuddapah Basin)
- (4) Quaternary deposits
The Tirumala hills essentially of precambrian period are composed of sedimentary rocks – quartzites and intercalated shales, which are referred to as the Nagari quartzites, which forms part of the Cuddapah Supergroup. It is a subset of the Purana rock succession that rests above the archaean rocks.
The hill ranges of the Tirumala rise to a height of 900 metres (3,000 ft) (at Tirumala) from the average height of 150 metres (490 ft) in the plains at Tirupati. The steep scarp of the ranges shows the Eparchian Unconformity’s topographic, structural and denudational features. The sedimentary thickness of the Cudappah basin is of the order of 12 kilometres (7.5 mi), and includes volcanic sequences in the form of sills and dykes. A prominent Eparchaean Unconformity of the formation resting on the archaean peninsular gneissic complex is noted. Rocks of the Cuddapah Supergroup, and the overlying Kurnool Group, comprise the stratigraphic sequence of the basin. This feature is contiguous all along the defined Archaean-Cuddapah contact zone even though its age may vary along its traced path.
The location of the Geological Monument is well connected by road, rail and air routes. The nearest railhead to Tirumala hills is Tirupati. The geological monument is located 10 kilometres (6.2 mi) northwest of Tirupati town, at the 12 kilometres (7.5 mi) point on the Tirupati – Tirumala Ghat road. From Tirupati railway station the approach to the Tirumal temple is only by road, a distance of 10 kilometres (6.2 mi). The nearest airport is located at Renigunta, about 15 kilometres (9.3 mi) away from the Tirupati city, which connects to Chennai, Hyderabad and Bangalore airports. Regular bus services (both private and government) are operated by all the states bordering Andhra Pradesh.
Known History of the temple as per records.
All the great dynasties of rulers of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine. The Pallavas of Kancheepuram (9th century AD), the Cholas of Thanjavur (a century later), the Pandyas of Madurai, and the kings and chieftains of Vijayanagar (14th - 15th century AD) were devotees of the Lord and they competed with one another in endowing the temple with rich offerings and contributions. It was during the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty that the contributions to the temple increased. Sri Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple. After the decline of the Vijayanagar dynasty, nobles and chieftains from all parts of the country continued to pay their homage and offer gifts to the temple. The Maratha general, Raghoji Bhonsle, visited the temple and set up a permanent endowment for the conduct of worship in the temple. He also presented valuable jewels to the Lord, including a large emerald which is still preserved in a box named after the General. Among the later rulers who have endowed large amounts are the rulers of Mysore and Gadwal. After the fall of the Hindu kingdoms, the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and then the Britishers took over, and many of the temples came under their supervisory and protective control. In 1843 AD, the East India Company divested itself of the direct management of non-Christian places of worship and native religious institutions. The administration of the shrine of Sri Venkateswara and a number of estates were then entrusted to Sri Seva Dossji of the Hatiramji Mutt at Tirumala, and the temple remained under the administration of the Mahants for nearly a century, till 1933 AD. In 1933, the Madras Legislature passed a special act, which empowered the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams(TTD) Committee to control and administer a fixed group of temples in the Tirumala-Tirupati area, through a Commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. In 1951, the Act of 1933 was replaced by an enactment whereby the administration of TTD was entrusted to a Board of Trustees, and an Executive Officer was appointed by the Government . The provisions of the Act of 1951 were retained by Charitable and Religious Endowments Act, 1966. From The Puranas.
Sri Venkatachala Mahatmya is referred to in several Puranas, of which the most important are the Varaha Purana and the Bhavishyottara Purana. The printed work contains extracts from the Varaha Purana, Padma Purana, Garuda Purana, Brahmanda Purana, Markandeya Purana, Harivamsa, Vamana Purana, Brahma Purana, Brahmottara Purana, Aditya Purana, Skanda Purana and Bhavishyottara Purana. Most of these extracts describe the sanctity and antiquity of the hills around Tirumala and the numerous teerthams situated on them. The legends taken from the Venkatachala Mahatmya and the Varaha Purana, pertaining to the manifestation of the Lord at Tirumala, are of particular interest. According to the Varaha Purana, Adi Varaha manifested Himself on the western bank of the Swami Pushkarini, while Vishnu in the form of Venkateswara came to reside on the southern bank of the Swami Pushkarini. One day, Rangadasa, a staunch devotee of Vishnu, in the course of his pilgrimage, joined Vaikhanasa Gopinatha, who was going up the Tirumala Hill for the daily worship of Lord Venkateswara. After bathing in the Swami Pushkarini, he beheld the lotus-eyed and blue-bodied Vishnu beneath a tamarind tree. Vishnu was exposed to the sun, wind and rain and was only protected by the extended wings of Garuda. Rangadasa was astounded by the wonderful sight. He raised a rough wall of stones around the deity, and started supplying flowers faithfully to Gopinatha everyday for Vishnu's worship. One day, Rangadasa was distracted by a Gandharva king and his ladies. Consequently, he forgot to supply flowers to Gopinatha for Vishnu's worship. The Lord then revealed Himself and told Rangadasa that He had been testing the latter's continence, but Rangadasa had not been steadfast and had succumbed to temptation. However, the Lord accepted and appreciated Rangadasa's devoted service to Him till then, and blessed Rangadasa that he would be reborn as an affluent ruler of a province and would enjoy the earthly pleasures. He would continue to serve the Lord, construct a beautiful temple with a vimana and high surrounding walls, and thereby earn eternal glory. Rangadasa was reborn as Tondaman, the son of the royal couple, Suvira and Nandini. Tondaman enjoyed a pleasurable life as a young man. One day, he set out on a hunting expedition on the Tirumala Hill, and with the help of a forester, saw Vishnu under the tamarind tree. Tondaman returned home, deeply affected by the vision of Vishnu. Tondaman later inherited his father's kingdom, Tondamandalam. In accordance with the directions given by Adi Varaha to a forester, Tondaman constructed a prakaram and dvara gopura, and arranged for regular worship of the Lord (according to Vaikhanasa Agama). In the Kali Yuga, Akasaraja came to rule over Tondamandalam. His daughter Padmavathi was married to Venkateswara. The marriage, officiated by Brahma, was celebrated with great pomp and splendour.
The town of Tirupati is one of the most ancient and spectacular places of pilgrimage in India. It is situated in the Chittoor district in southern Andhra Pradesh. The town owes its existence to the sacred temple of Lord Sri Venkateswara situated on the Tirumala Hill adjoining it. With a history that dates back to over twelve centuries, the temple is the jewel in the crown of ancient places of worship in southern India.
The Tirumala Hill is 3200 ft above sea level, and is about 10.33 sq miles in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Adisesha, thus earning the name, Seshachalam. The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Neeladri, Garudadri, Anjanadri, Vrishabhadri, Narayanadri and Venkatadri.
The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak, Venkatadri (Venkata Hill), and lies on the southern banks of Sri Swami Pushkarini. There are several legends associated with the manifestation of the Lord in Tirumala. Citations. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/User:Kamble16 https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eparchaean_Unconformity