Archaeology department's expert committee that went into the issue of offerings made by Sri Krishnadevaraya to Lord Sri Venkateswara at Tirumala has concluded that the present jewellery in the custody of Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) did not match those reportedly donated by the Vijayanagara Emperor.
The report was submitted recently.
The Archaeology Department constituted the technical committee to trace the antiques of historical value presented to the Lord by Sri Krishnadevaraya which were found ‘missing'. It was set up in response to a petition filed by a whistle-blower from Eluru, B.K.S.R. Iyyangar under the Right to Information Act.
Replying to the petitioner, P. Chenna Reddy, Director, Archaeology Department observed, “No ornament tallied with any of the ornaments donated by the great Vijayanagara King Sri Krishnadevaraya to the Lord Sri Venkateswara as described in the inscriptions engraved on the walls of the Lord Venkateswara temple at Tirumala.”
“As the ornaments did not tally with the Krishnadevaraya's donations, the question of preservation and conservation of the ornaments does not arise”.
As per the inscriptions, Sri Krishnadevaraya, a staunch devotee of Lord Sri Venkateswara, had visited the shrine seven times during his lifetime and made a range of precious offerings to the Lord during his every visit.
As per the inventory prepared by the expert committee based on the inscriptions, the Emperor had presented one Ratna Kireetam, studded with precious stones such as garnets (2822), emeralds (160), diamonds (423), rubies (3), sapphires (10), cat eyes (1), agate (1) and pearls (1,339) during his first visit on 10-2-1513. In all, its total weight is recorded at 3,308 tunkhas (each tunkha is equal to 2.5 grams).
On his second visit on 2-5-1513, he presented ‘vidudhara' (a gold ornament), three pairs of bhujakeerthis, three swords with sheaths, two sheaths with tassels, a pendent, two pairs of addigalapeta with a gold chain and a kireetam (crown).
During the third visit on 13-6-1513, he offered to the Lord nine kinds of precious stones. Sri Krishnadevaraya performed a ‘Kanakabhishekam' for the Lord with 30,000 gold coins (varahalu) during his fourth visit on 6-7-1514. One ‘thrisaram' (three-stringed ornament), a pair of kadiyams were donated along with the gold coins during the visit.
A copper statue of Sri Krishnadevaraya along with his consorts Tirumala Devi and Chinnadevi paying obeisance to the Lord was presented during his sixth visit on 16-10-1518. A ‘peetambaram' studded with nine kinds of precious stones, was donated on his last visit on 17-2-1521. The description of each antique with the kind of metal and the stones used for its making and its weight was mentioned in the report.
The Technical Committee, comprising a retired Deputy Director J. Vijayakumar and three Assistant Directors — P. Bramhachary, G.V. Ratnam and P. Venkaratamana — of the Archaeology department, has verified the ornaments which are presently used for decorating the presiding deity and those preserved in the treasury and at five other temples in Chittoor district which were once under the administrative control of the TTD.