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Tirupati is one of the most ancient and sacred pilgrimage sites in India. Tirumala, the home of Lord Venkateswara is at a distance of 22 km from Tirupati. However, Tirupati is the town and transport hub to Tirumala at the bottom of the hill. The initial temple at Tirumala was built by the Tamil king Thondaimaan. The Pallavas of Kanchipuram (9th century), Cholas of Tanjore (10th century), Pandyas of Mathura and Vijayanagara Kings (14th & 15th centuries) regularly visited the temple and contributed largely to the temple. Especially, Sri Krishna Devaraya of Vijayanagara Empire contributed a lot to the temple. Now the temple is under the maintenance of TTD.
Spread over an area of 450 sq. km, Tirupati offers a magnificent religious and natural delight to devotees as well as tourists. Apart from Lord Venkateswara Temple in Tirumala, Varahaswami temple, Tiruchanur temple of Goddess Padmavati, Govindaraja temple, Srinivasa Mangapuram, Avanakshamma temple, ISKCON Lord Krishna Temple etc. are the important temples in Tirupati. Kapila Theertham, Parasurameswara Temple in Gudimallam, Kodanda Rama Swamy Temple, Chandragiri Fort, Kanipakam, Srikalahasti and Talakona Falls are the famous Tirupati tourist places.
Tirupati is also known for its fairs and festivals. The biggest festival though is Tirumala temple Brahmotsavam, the Vijayanagara Festival held at Chandragiri Fort and the Rayalaseema Food and Dance Festival are some other attractions of the temple town. The Gangamma Jatra held for a week in May is another important festival here. It is held at the Tataiah Gunta Gangamma temple in Tirupati and is known for its unusual rituals.
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