The huge tower on the sopana margam-foot walkers route to Tirumala , with the giant illuminated ‘Namam, Sankhu and Chakram’, icons is a major landmark that is even visible from Tirupati downhill.
The State government has formally handed the control of the Gopuram, its vicinity and 183 acres of landed property from Gali Gopuram Mutt (alias Vaikunta Koil) to the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanams (TTD). It was hitherto managed by the Endowments department.
The Mutt was founded in the 15th century by Mahants, who are North Indian Vaishnavas belonging to Ramananda cult, with the objective of providing food and accommodation to the Sadhus and Bairagis visiting Tirumala from far-off places.
The last Mahant Ramcharandoss was accused of alienating Mutt lands and was placed under suspension by the Endowments Department in the mid-eighties. After his death in a car accident in the late nineties, the mutt remained headless since then.
For administrative convenience, the Assistant Commissioner of Endowments and Executive Officer of Sri Bugga Mutt was made its custodian. The TTD has been seeking control over Gali Gopuram Mutt, as the lack of it over this strategically-located stretch on the Tirumala route has been posing security threat in the form of bootlegging of products and also smuggling of red sanders sing the outlet to the forest belt on the hills.
Though the TTD is expected to improve the Mutt’s management without touching its age-old rituals and practices, the takeover has nevertheless brought curtains on the 600-year-old religious entity.