Ancient inscriptions on the outer wall of Tirumala Venkateswara Temple to be digitized

The Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD) is planning to gold plate the outer walls of the sanctum sanctorum of Tirumala Tirupati Balaji Temple. When the outer wall is covered with gold sheets, it will also cover up ancient inscriptions found on the wall. To save the centuries old inscriptions, TTD and Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) are planning to preserve the inscriptions and digitize it and upload on a website.

The inscriptions mainly narrate the socio-economic, political and religious situation that had existed during a particular period and is of great help to historians. There are also plans to maintain a replica of the temple with inscriptions at the Tirumala museum.

A.D. Rangarajan writes in the Hindu

Sadhu Subrahmanya Sastry, the TTD’s former epigraphist-cum-archaeologist, copied 1,150 of the inscriptions in 1922 employing the ‘eye copy’ technique. These included 640 inscriptions in the area that will be covered up.

But the ASI’s Mysore-based epigraphy wing, equipped to deal with such work, recently completed taking estampages of the Tamil, Telugu and Kannada inscriptions. This was done by pasting litho paper on the wet wall and running rollers over it after spreading an adhesive paste made of lamp black and Indian ink.

While most of the inscriptions copied from the ‘Jagati’, ‘Kumudam’ and ‘Patti’ (floor level) areas of the northern wall pertain to the Vijayanagara era (13th century) including from the Sangama, Saluva, Thuluva and Araveedu dynasties, a few relate to the Chola, Pandya and Pallava periods.