Sangam literature, the earliest of Tamil literature which is dated between 500 B.C to 300 A.D, mentions of Tirupati as Thiruvengadam which used to form the northernmost frontier of the Tamil Kingdoms. Sangam literature such as Ilango Adigals Silapadikaram and Satanars Manimeghalai bear testimony to the existence of a shrine at Tirupati. Puranic literature which was composed roughly around the post-Mauryan and early-Gupta era also mentions of Tirupati as the Aadhi Varaha Kshetra. The Puranas associate the site with Lord Varaha, one of the incarnations of Lord Vishnu. Till today the Varaha shrine holds great importance in Tirupati and is said to be older than the main sanctum of Venkateswara.
The Alvars or Vaishnava saints who led the Bhakti or Devotional movement in South India sung in praise of Lord Venkateswara as Vishnu. For the centuries to come Tirupati was richly endowed by the kings and emperors of various dynasties thus owing to its current reputation as the richest and most opulent temple in the world. The Imperial Cholas, Hoysalas and Vijayanagara emperors were just some of the contributors for building the temple and donating gold and other ornaments for its enrichment. Tirupati survived the muslim invasions during which the idol of Sriranganatha, the deity of Srirangam was brought to Tirupati for safekeeping. To remember this event a hall in Tirupati is still known as the Ranganatha Mandapa. It was under the regime of the Vijayanagara emperors that the temple attained its current opulence and size. The emperors of the dynasty, in particular Krishna Deva Raya lavished on the temple numerous objects of priceless value, ranging from diamond studded crowns to golden swords. The coronation ceremonies of the emperors were also held at Tirupati.
The Tirumala hills are the worlds second oldest rock mountains. There is no clear history on the origin of the temple of Lord Venkateshwara, but it was maintained and upgraded by various kingdoms. These include the Pallava Kingdom around 4th Century AD, Chola Kingdom over a discrete set of periods from 2nd Century BC to 10th century AD and the latest one being Vijayanagara Empire around 17th century BC. The place of Chandragiri, presently a village few km south west of Tirupati, was used as the secondary capital of Vijayanagara emperor.
The site was an established center of Vaishnavism around 5th century A.D. during which time Tirupati was praised by Vaishnava saints who were known for their devotional poems and literary works on Lord Venkateswara.The temple rites were formalized by the great Vaishnava saint Ramanujacharya, in the 11th century AD.
In 1843, with the coming of the East India Company, the administration of the Sri Venkateshwara temple and a number of shrines was entrusted to Seva Dossji of the Hathiramji Mutt at Tirumala for nearly a century until 1933, when the temple was under the administrative charge of the mahants.
The Madras legislature passed a special act in 1933 whereby the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) committee was invested with powers of administration and control through a commissioner appointed by the Government of Madras. A Ryot Advisory Council was formed for the management of the estates of the TTD, and was assisted by a Religious Advisory Council with regard to religious matters.
The first establishment of the town was near Kotturu. Later it was shifted near the temple of Govindaraja Swamy with the temple as the center of the city. It is todays railway station area. Now the city is expanded to nearby areas. Tirupati town now includes Srinivasamangapuram, Thiruchanoor, Renigunta, Chandragiri and Avilala.