Tirupati City is located in the southeastern part of Andhra Pradesh State. It lies about 152-km northwest of Chennai in the Venkatadri Hills. The abode of the Kaliyuga deity Lord Venkateswara, popularly known as Balaji, Tirupati has for centuries remained a destination divine and this is quite evident as one goes round the various temples and spots of natural beauty surrounding this major town. In fact, the government has proposed to give special status to the town on the lines of the Vatican of the East. Lying at the southern tip of the Eastern Ghats in Andhra Pradesh, the district has a number of perennial waterfalls and vast forest cover. About 10-km northwest of Tirupati, at an elevation of 750m, is the sacred hill of Tirumala, which was considered so holy that before 1870 non-Hindus were not permitted to ascend it.
Tirupati was developed mainly by the contributions made by kings during their rule. Almost all the kings from great dynasties of the southern peninsula have paid homage to Lord Sri Venkateswara in this ancient shrine of Tirupati. 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. During the rule of the Vijayanagar dynasty contributions made to the temple increased enormously. Krishnadevaraya had statues of himself and his consorts installed at the portals of the Tirupati temple, and these statues can be seen to this day. There is also a statue of Venkatapati Raya in the main temple at Tirupati.
After the fall of Hindu kingdoms, came the Muslim rulers of Karnataka and after their downfall the British 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.