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Tirupati (/ˈtɪrʊpɒtɪ/ (About this soundlisten)) is a city in Chittoor district of the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh. Located 750 km southwest of state's executive capital Visakhapatnam, the city is home to the important Hindu shrine of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple and other historic temples and is referred to as the "Spiritual Capital of Andhra Pradesh". It is one of the eight Swayam vyaktha kshetras dedicated to Vishnu. Tirupati is a municipal corporation and the headquarters of Tirupati (urban) mandal and Tirupati (rural) mandal and of the Tirupati revenue division.


Sri Venkatachala Vihara Satakamu (17th century CE)[edit]

  • [The] poem, Sri Venkatachala Vihara Satakamu, was addressed to the Lord of the Seven Hills. It was a centum of Telugu verses, of which 98 were available. It described the desecration of temples and destruction of images in Tirupati. The poet stated,
    ---When the Turks penetrated the temples and broke the idols into pieces, and annoyed the great religious teachers and licked the namams (upright caste-marks) and pulled the small tuft of hair of their heads, is it not possible for you to slay them? In my weakness I implore you... (Verse 5)....
    The Kamkhana-ganamu (the men under the commanders) and the superior force under the Vajirs of Golkonda dash the shaven heads of sanyasis against each other like the dashing of rams ina fight; split the Brahma-sutramulu (sacred threads) of Somayajis (persons who performed Yajna or sacrifice) and tie them as strings to their bows; mount the artificial horsevehicles of the temple and goad them with huge cries; molest woman of the Komati (merchant) class, demanding money, ransom, in such a sad plight of the townsmen of Lower Tirupati, Your elder brother Tilla-Govindaraja is sleeping, and is unable to bestir Himself (Verse 15);...
    Tilla-Govindaraja is much aged and is an ancient Being and lacks strength of arm to wield the Disc; and on account of poverty of food, he pledged it; His sargna (bow) became rusty by non-usance; His sword was bored by beetles; His Kaumodaki (club) and Pancajanya (sankha) assumed depressions and hollows; and his servants became selfseekers and left Him, declaring that they did not want His unsalaried service. When He is thus enfeebled, is He capable of leading a campaign against the powerful Yavana provincial chiefs? (Verse 21).
    The rusted brass and copper articles have been made into cannon balls, the Salagramams procurable from the Gandaki river for worship are used as bullets, the granite stone sculptured by the stone-mason has become a stepping stone; whether You noted these acts or not, such are the misdeeds of the Turks (Verse 16).
    Can You not destroy the cavalry without feeling aversion to the destruction of the hill-side and save the ‘Jirna-Karnata- Laksmi’ (the prosperity of the crumbled Karnata or Vijayanagara Kingdom) (Verse 29) and cut off the heads with Your Disc of the Vajirs who are committing atrocities by piercing and stabbing men whereby blood gushes from the victims and flows in streams, and drive them up to the tank of Peruru village (about 3 miles to the west of Tirupati on the roadside) (Verse 30).
    The western horsemen spurred their horses up the Hill and are firing volleys from their cannon and destroying men, appearing like the Yavana-Kalantaka (the Muslim Death- God) executing His work before the destined time; why do You not slay them, drive them down the Hill, vanquish them and wed the goddess of Victory (Verse 32).
    They are stripping the gold plate off the entrance door under the tower in Your temple. Why do You not likewise peel their skin? The pleasant groves are filled with tombs, and no carriers of water for temple worship are present in the streets; only pots of arrack are seen, but no kamandalams (water-holder like a kettle) are to be found in the Mathas (monasteries), only vile language is heard, but not the holy scripture-reading in the houses; no daily worship and festivals are performed in temples, but only the neighing of the horses occurs; why do You forbear, without slaughtering the Pathan cavalry, while flesh is exposed in sandalwood groves in lines to dry, while all dirt is washed in the Varaha- Puskarini, and while Namaju feasts performed at the doorways of the Vaikhanasas (Verses 38 and 39).
    How can I utter the ‘Kartaru-mantra’ of the Muslim, giving up the ‘Gayatri-mantra’ and remain sinfully with bare face devoid of the namam... How can I adore the Penugonda- Baba (the Nawab), discontinuing my prayers to You, the World-Father (Verse 66).
    When the Turks assaulted Siddhavatam and massacred people and defaced Goddess Kamaksi, God Siddhalinga evacuated His body, and Cenna Kesavasvami of the same place drowned Himself in the Penna river, and other gods fled; and only Raghudvaha (Sri Rama) of Ontimitta stood in the place (Verse 69).
    When previously the violent army consisting of manujaraksasas (men in appearance but raksasas, hideous in action) of Vijayapuri (Bijapur) invaded the southern kingdoms, subjugated them and appropriated them, Rajagopalamurti fled, showing His back to the base Yavana (Muslim); Kanci Varadappa (Varadaraja) began to tremble in fear of losing the diamond in His stomach-pit, the puisne Cengalvaraya (Narasimhasvami) God of Ghatikacala (Solingar) does not get down the hill; God of Srimusnam went underground, and the Deity of Tirukovaluru was shattered to pieces (Verse 70).
    Our Mangalagirisami (Panakala-Narasimhasvami of Mangalagiri) is incessantly engaged in drinking potfulls of Panakam (jaggery-dissolved water) without interval; Ahobaladhyaksa Hari (Ahobala Narasimhasvami) is constantly sporting with Lacci (Laksmidevi) and cannot be diverted; Purusottama is ever inclined to consume prasadams (holy food) and lacks thought. Dharmapuri-guhasthanapati (Lord of Dharmapuri cave) revels in self-contemplation and these Deities already adopted Islamism, but You, being a solitary Southerner in the Muslim country, how can You put up with it (Verse 74).
    Do the peaks of Your Hill intercept if the Turkish-army encircle Your Hill and thrash You? Is there any protector to You, if they fall on You and wrest the sabre from Your hand? Are there any guards to ward You, if they violently attempt to rob You of Your jewels? Will Your cry for help avail if they forcibly enter Your temple, reach Your bilamu (hole, cellar) and crush it? Alas! How can the sufferers of the south thrive without Your grace (Verse 79).
    If you do not destroy the Turks, I shall not keep quiet; I will expose acts of secrecy of your earlier life. I have not forgotten them: your misdeeds of having stolen and swallowed butter, of having outraged the modesty of the married cowherdesses in Repalle, of the sin of having killed Putana who came to suckle you like a mother, and of your haughtiness in having incited your brother Balarama to strike with the Yamuna river without regard to Her old age (Verse 80).
    If You, who assumed the various Avataras of the Fish, Boar, Lion; the Three Ramas and so on, do not strike, pierce, cut, split and drive away the violent Vajirs, they will vanquish You (Verse 83).
    Do not call Yourself ‘Srihari,’ but designate yourself ‘Mrityujahalli;’ not ‘Perumallu,’ but ‘Khoda;’ not ‘Vishnu,’ but ‘Kartaru;’ not ‘Krishna’, but ‘Babayya;’ because the ‘Dakkinul’ (Dakkanis), Turks, ‘Parasilu’ (Persians), ‘Tanakil’ (men of tana or thana, military posts), will insult, abuse, stripe and cudgel you. I have pre-warned you out of gratitude, since I ate your food and enjoyed other benefits fully; and I have no other thought. Without being frightened by these horrible sights, try to escape early in good time (Verse 85).
    Only the old fame of your valour continues as the holder of the disc, but you are incapable of assailing the Turks; only the glamour of Lachchi (Lakshmi, the Goddess of wealth) being your better half stays, but you are disinclined to forego even one pie of interest on money promised to you; only it is the word (People’s idea) of your being the Supreme God, but you cannot bestow thousand and sixes on Your supplicants (Rs. 1116 is generally considered as a high gift; and the 1006 mentioned by the poet here is probably meant to indicate 1116 only); only the celebrity of your being goldgarmented stands, but your food is of unpounded rice alone; you do not allow your plates to be cleaned; so stingily you have accumulated money. If you intend paying this money to the Turks as ransom, will your bhaktas (devotees) trust you? I entreat you, as your well-wisher, not to pay money to the mean-minded... (Verse 90).
    All formal restraints on the behaviour of men have vanished, and the Turks have violently surrounded Tirupati and are looting it (verse 94). Should you not strike the Turks who spoiled Your food-offerings, converted the thousandpillared mantapa space into stables, made a gori (tomb, sepulchre) of your temple, for Babayya (a high Muslim officer); filled the garbhagrihamulu (sanctums) with filth, broke the idols, stole the sacred jewels, threw kitchen articles into disorder, struck the Nambis, hewed the bodies of the Jiyyangars, desecrated the surrounding tirumalighalu (mansions of the archakas and big men), and are robbing the people (Verse 95).
    Arrogantly I called you a coward; you a supreme warrior; merciless; the ever-solicitous protector of bhaktas; appearing powerless but really the all-pervasive universal power of different forms inhering even in the smallest atom and the pores of hair; seemingly inactive, but really the illumine with self-effulgent and self-resplendent light. In my distressed mood, I blamed you with intent to exhort you for the good of the world to destroy the assailing Turks; I repentantly implore you to bear with my thousand offences (Verse 98)
    • Sri Venkatachala Vihara Satakamu, 17th century poem, (Descriptive catalogue — Telugu — item 1710) in Jain, M. (2019). Flight of deities and rebirth of temples: Episodes from Indian history. quoting (Ramesan 2009: 421-424; Sastry 2014: 291-297).

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