Let us enter the front porch of the Lord Venkateswara, named ‘Ghanta Mandapam’. Lord Brahma, the angels and Maharshis like Sanakasanandana wait for the darshan of Lord Venkateswara at the golden gate. Opposite to the golden gate, there is Garuda Mandapam. The pavilion that links the golden gate and the Garuda Mandapam is called ‘Ghanta Mandapam’ or ‘Mahamani Mandapam’.
It was constructed in 1461 A.D. by Mallanna, a native of Chandragiri and minister in the Vijaya Nagas empire. ‘Garudalwar Mandir’ is also located just opposite to the golden gate in this mandapam. In this mandapam there is a 6 feet high statue of Garuda (vehicle of Vishnu) saluting the god with folded hands. Every day at the Predawn hour, Suprabhath is recited in the place between the golden gate and the statue of Garuda.
The Lord sitting on the golden throne in this mandapam, listens to the recital of almanac and the submissions of receipt and expenditure account of the previous day. This place is also called ‘Srinivas Darbar’.To the south of the golden gate in this mandap, two big bells are suspended from a wooden log using iron chains. The Brahmin who rings this bell is called ‘Ghantapani’. The ringing of this bell denotes that it is time for the Lord to have his meal.
At Tirumala many devotees have their food only after the bell stops ringing, whenever the emperor of Vijaya Nagara Empire camps at Chandragiri, the bell sounds are relayed to Chandragiri through intermediary bell porches for enabling the emperor to have his food there after. Because of these bells, this porch has become famous as ‘Ghanta Mandapam’.