Situated on the 7th peak of the Venkata Tirupati Hills that lie south to the banks of Sri Swami Puskharini River, the Sri Venkateswara temple covers a total area of 2.2 acres. One of the finest examples of the Dravidian style of temple architecture, the Venkateswara temple has stood witness to the rise and fall of many dynasties.
The Sanctum Sanctorum is adorned by the Venkateswera idol, which stands at a height of eight feet under the gold gilded dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divay Vimana. The idol is believed to be Swayambhoo and looks exquisite wrought in a jet-black stone structure. The deity bears a clear impression of Goddess Lakshmi on the right side of his chest. The two upper arms hold a (conch-shell) shankha and (disk) chakra. The lower left hand is turned inward, while the palm of the lower right hand is turned outward for offering blessings. The lord’s eyes are adorned with a tilak of camphor and it is believed that the eyeballs are enclosed because the Lord’s sight could singe the whole planet. The deity in the shrine is further decorated with precious stones.
It is a firm belief amongst the devotees that the deity is very benevolent and that he grants the wishes of all those who offer him their devotion.
Though there are bus services covering the 16-kilometer distance up the hill, most devotees prefer the two to four hours of steady climbing. Non-Hindus are not permitted inside the inner most temples and foreigners are allowed to visit this temple only if they put in writing their belief in Hinduism.
A noteworthy fact is that Sri Venkateswara Temple is the wealthiest temple in the entire Indian subcontinent, with almost 25,000 pilgrims coming here every day.