The picturesque Tirumala hills is situated 2820 ft above MSL and is about 100sq.m in area. It comprises seven peaks, representing the seven hoods of Audisesha, thus earning the name Seshachalam.
The seven peaks are called Seshadri, Vedadri, Garudadri, Anjandri, Vrishabhadri, Narayandri and Venkatadri (Adri in sanskrit means Hill).
The Venkatam hill is believed to be a part of the celestial mount meru, brought to the earth from Vaikuntam by Garuda.The sacred temple of Sri Venkateswara is located on the seventh peak,Venkatdri and there are several legends associated with the manifestation of the lord in Tirumala. The shrine of the lord is very ancient and there are ample references to it in the early inscriptions belonging to the Chola and Pallava periods as well in the Sangam literature.
The abode of the lord is about 10 Km north-west of Tirupati and there are footsteps leading to the hill as well as two separate serpentine roads to reach the shrine. According to legend, God Vishnu revealed himself earlier in the previous incarnations as Varahaswamy on the banks of the present temple tank. This manifestation of the white boar (Sveta Varaham) is enshrined in the Adi Varahaswany temple situated on the northeastern banks of the tank.
The Sanctum sanctorum called the Garbha Griha is where the main idol of lord Venkateswara resides. The idol stands majestically to a height of eight feet, in the centre of the sanctum directly beneath a gold guilded dome called the Ananda Nilaya Divay Vimana. The exquisitely wrought idol called the Mulabera is believed to be Svayambhu(self manifested), according to the legends. Further, no human being is known to have either sculpted or installed the idol in the shrine.
On normal days the imposing idol is adorned with a golden Kiritam which has a large emerald embedded on its front. On special occasions like the Brahmothsavam, he is adorned with his precious diamond crown worth Rs 30 Crores. On his forehead, the lord has a thick double patch of upright Namam drawn with refined camphor which screens his eyes. In between the two white patches is the Kasturi tilakam. His ear's are bedecked with shinning golden Makara Kundalas. The fist of his right raised hand is implanted with a gem-set chakra and the correponding left fist is with the Sankha. The slightly outstretched right hand has its finger pointing to his lotus feet, as the only recourse to his devotees to attain oneness with him and enjoy eternal bliss. His right hand is akimbo to assure his devotees of protection and to show the proverbial SamsaraSagara, the ocean of mundane life,is only hip deep if they seek refuge in him.
He has on the right side of his chest a clear impression of Goddess Lakshmi's, his consort. The deity has a unique magnetism, many devotees who go through the fleeting Sarvadarsanam have unusual psychic experience. They leave with a sense of spiritual satisfaction, coupled with a religious hunger to stand in front of Lord Venkateswara and experience the bliss again and again.