TIRUPATI UNEXPLORED – Ancient Ruins of Tatikona

March 26, 2018
Tirumala Tirupati is a place that doesn’t need any introduction. It’s Kaliyuga Vaikuntam for devotees, one of the richest temples in the world, and the temple which draws huge crowds everyday. Apart from all these, Tirumala Seshachalam forest range has many unknown treasures, like Bio diversity, which are yet to be discovered. As a history lover, it’s always surprising to know the kind of historical treasure this place is..

Pic Credits : Sasi sasidhar

Tirumala and Tirupati are very prominent places from the pre historic age itself. Many rock art shelters and
pre historic dolmens in Seshachalam forest range are standing evidences for this. And it is a well known fact how Lord Venkateswara Temple made this place even more prominent in ancient and medieval periods for many dynasties. Every dynasty has left their own mark in this place, which is evident through many grand temples and forts around its vicinity.

Pic credits : sasi sasidhar

Tirupati and Tirumala collectively are known as temple city, all temples function with all its grandeur. But how many are aware that there are so many wonderful ancient temples that were abandoned and left for ruins .Though neglected from centuries, these ancient marvels are still standing with all their past glory, waiting for some visitor to tell its story.One such place is Tatikona. Today I will tell you the story of this place, and how it fell from glory to gloomy.

Tatikona was once a grand temple complex with many temples, a pushkarini, and a mud fort on the hill (which is not present now). This place might be very, very important from the ancient days. It would have witnessed the ancient man and many powerful endangered animal species. It would have witnessed kings and their grandeur. It would have witnessed dedicated sculptors working and brave soldiers protecting. It would have witnessed grand temples with nithya puja & many devotees daily, for regular utsavams etc But now this place is crumbled into ruins, completely camouflaged in the jungle, hard to find and harder to reach, and fully surrounded by thorny plants. Once ravaged by invaders, whatever has survived, it is reduced to wreck by present day hooligans (who dug all over for treasure) and conveniently forgotten by residents and authorities.

Picture credits : Sasi Sasidhar

 I seriously wish I could see this place 50 years back, it would have been in much better shape. With present remains we can infer there are 3 temples: 2 temples are big and the other is a small shrine. The two big temples are dedicated to Shiva. We can confirm by sculptures on the pillars, the sculpture of Nandi, sculpture of Kannappa, and Shiva linga. As for the small shrine, we can’t confirm the deity (probably for Ganesh or Karthikeya).
 The beautiful Pushkarini (Temple tank) which now looks like lake, but as per locals it was very much in shape till very recent years. It is said there was a mud-fort on the hill for Vijayanagara Emperors (though it disappeared without a trace), and another interesting feature we can find a pre historic Megalith dolmen here. There is a small Shiva shrine on the hill, and as per locals  deep in the woods, another 2 temples. They are dedicated to lord Narasimha and local deity Yellamma, and are in better condition (we couldn’t visit due to the time crunch). One more unique feature of Tatikona is the style of building temple. The Shiva temple built by cutting the rock boulder, and the rock boulder is still visible around the gopuram. The only other temples of this type can be found in Hampi (Malyavanta Raghunatha Temple).

Lord Shiva Guarding the Entrance of Tatikona

Even after facing so much destruction,this beautiful treasure can teach so many lessons. Beautiful temple walls, intricate carvings on the pillars and beautiful megaliths, all located in a very serene location, which in short reminds us of Hampi. Doesn’t this place deserves renovation, clean up, a sign board,and inclusion in tourist brochure of Tirupati?
Tirupati doesn’t need any theme parks. If  that money is spent on places like Tatikona they can be turned into beautiful learning centers, spiritual centers, and wonderful weekend spots 
Spandana Harish ( Author )
Picture Credits : Sasi Sasidhar
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