Lord Sri Venkateswara, also known as Srinivasa, Balaji, and Veṅkaṭachalapati, made Tirumala his abode five thousand years ago. Even before him, it was Lord Varahaswami who had made Tirumala his abode. Since then, many devotees have continued to construct grand entrances on the ramparts of the temple over generations. The temple complex is spread over 16.2 acres of land.
In Tirumala, the East facing Sri Varahaswami temple is located in the North West corner of the temple tank - Swami Pushkarini. As per the temple legend, Lord Srinivasa sought a gift of land from Sri Varahaswami, which he readily granted.
In return, Srinivasa provided him with an agreement deed assuring that he would be paid the first darshan, worship and offerings by all the devotees visiting the temple. This tradition is in practise to this day at Tirumala and Lord Varahaswami continues to receive the age old traditional worship. Even today, all offerings are first made to Lord Varahaswami and then to Lord Sri Venkateswara.
The height of the main entrance has been increased periodically since 13th century. Its present height is fifty feet. This entrance has other names such as ‘Padivaakili’ and ‘Simhadwaram’.In Tamil it is called ‘Periya Thiruvasal’. On either side of this main entrance there are two feet high statues made of alloy metal (Pancha loha). They are Sankanidhi and Padmanidhi who are the guardians of ‘Navanidhi’, the treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara.
These are the two angels guarding the wealth and treasure of Lord Sri Venkateswara. As per the tradition these are installed at the third entrance of the temple. One enters the holy shrine after saluting the first protection threshold - Sankha Nidhi and Padma Nidhi. According to history, these statues were consecrated by Vijayanagara emperor Achyutha Rayalu, the younger brother of Sri Krishna Deva Rayalu.
Abutting the Mahadwara and to its right, there is a high-rise mandapam (Porch). This is called Krishnadevarayalu Mandapam or Pratima Mandapam. This mandapam has been constructed in Vijayanagara architectural style. To the right side of this porch, one can find tall copper statues of the emperor of Vijayanagara kingdom, Sri Krishnadevarayalu and his two consorts, Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi.