Sri Rama: in the Tirumala Temple:

In the sanctum of the Tirumala temple there is a beautiful set of icons — Sri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana, Hanuman, Sugriva and Angada.. We will relate how these icons came to be established for worship in the temple of Srinivasa. The Vasishta Ramayana relates that Sri Rama appeared as he granted protection to Vibhishana, brother of Ravana for the benefit of sage Viswambara, on the banks of the river Kritamala (better known as river Vaigai). This sage was performing penance at Kuruvithurai, west of the city of Madurai on the banks of the river Kritamala to get of vision of Sri Rama as he accepted Vibhishana since he was captivated by this act of the Lord — accepting the deadly enemy’s brother as a friend. “I have granted protection to him, Go and fetch him, Sugriva! Do not hesitate even if it is Ravana himself. Bring him here” Rama had said.

Sri Rama showed himself to the sage in his dream thus. He and his brother Lakshmana were standing holding their bows. Sugriva stands with folded hands as if say­ing “I have told you all I wished to say about Vibhishana. Please decide what you want to do.” Hanuman stands there appealing, “This is the proper place and time to accept Vibhishana. He is faultless.” The bright Angada stands with a finger pointing towards Vibhishana approaching in the southern sky.

Having had the vision as he had wished and prayed for, Viswambara was very happy and established Rama and Lakshmana in `Panchaloha image’ form with the oth­ers and established them for puja in a suitably built temple at Kuruvitturai.

After being worshipped for a long time in that place, Sri Rama commanded a devotee to take him with his reti­nue to Tirumala since the town of Kuruviturai was in a state of turmoil due to some strife. The devotee accord­ingly shifted all the idols to Tiruvenkata and delivered them at the foot of the hill to Ramanuja and Tirumalai Nambi who were studying the Sri Ramayana near the round rock under the shade of the tamarind tree. They were just them going through that portion of the epic where Vibhishana comes and seeks refuge with Sri Rama and the latter accepts him against the wishes of Sugriva and others. They were struck with wonder at the coin­cidence that Sri Rama should come to them with Sugriva and others as he accepted Vibhishana, just when they were studying that portion of the great epic where Rama grants asylum to Vibhishana. They felt that the grace of Sri Rama was surely with them. They wanted to unite the Lord with Sita as he was united with her after the conquest of Ravana. They arranged to have a suitable idol of mother Sita be cast on an auspicious occasion and had the wed­ding celebrated after due purification (samprokshana) of the idols.

They established the Lord and His consort along with others in the sanctum at Tirumala and arranged for daily worship and prayed that Sri Rama should flourish there. They saw the truth of verse 84 of `Tiruchanda virutham’ of Tirumalisai Alwar: “Go worship the Lo­tus feet of the Lord at Tirumala and be blessed. He who reclines in the ocean on his serpent bed churned it and killed the demon Kalanemi, incarnating as Sri Rama, ran to the help of Sugriva, brother of Vali in his distress and split the seven sala trees in row with one arrow to show his might and skill. The Lord of Sri then proceeded to Tirumala and is enshrined there for you to worship.” Nambi and Ramanuja had all the six icons established in the shrine of Srinivasa and arranged for daily puja. They also arranged that the wedding of Sri Rama with Sita be celebrated every year on the day following Sri Rama Navami.