Temple and the Deity
Balaji Temple at Nerul is built on the lines of Venkateshvara temple at Tirupati. It has been constructed according to the Shilpashastras popular in Southern India, the main temple is always surrounded by subsidiary temples thus making a temple complex. Similarly one can find a temple complex at Nerul, with several temples around the main temple:
Vidya Ganapati temple
Shri Padmavati Devi temple
Lakshmi Nrisimha temple
MAIN TEMPLE AND THE DEITY
Entering the temple complex one can see the Bali Peetham and the tall Dhwaja stambha, which were consecrated on 10-02-2000.
Next to the Bali Peetam and the Dwajastambham , a flight of steps leads to the Tiru Mamani Mantapam. This is the entrance hall, with dimensions exactly same as at Tirumala temple i.e. 40' X 40'. This hall houses the Dwara Paalakas (doorkeepers) viz. Jaya and Vijaya, who guard the entrance to the sanctum sanctorum. These images were installed on 10.02.2000.
The structure of the Mani Mantapam is of Cement Concrete following modern architectural practices and is meant for hoisting various temple and religious activities. The cement concrete surfaces are being dubbed with exquisitely carved granite stones. The Ardha Mantapam and Garbha Griham are constructed in granite stones, following the Aagama / Silpa sastras by Sthapathies. The architecture and various details followed here are almost the replicas of the sacred Tirumala shrine. For example - the inner dimensions of the Garbha Griham are 12' x 12' - similar as at Tirumala.
Below the Mani Mantapam is the Kalyana Mantapam. Festivities of the temples are conducted here - Bhajans, Keertans, Pravachans, Kalyana Utsavam etc. Names of donors who have contributed for construction of all these temples are inscribed in this mantapam.
The devotees are not allowed to enter beyond the Ardha mantapam. Just behind the Ardha mantapam is the Garbha Griham where the benign Lord stands smiling majestically. The samprokshanam was done in an elaborate manner, guided by his holiness Chinna Jeer Swamiji of Tirupathy Sri Sri Ranga Ramanuja Jeer Swamigal on 21-06-1999.
The majestic idol stands 8' tall (11' 1 from Peetam to Kreetam) and was sculpted at Mamallapuram (near Madras) out of a single rock.
At the right foot of the lord is a small silver idol which is called bhoga Srinivasa / Kautuka Bera. This idol imbibes the essence of the Lord and is loosely bonded to the main Moolavar idol by a string. There are also a few beautiful Pancha Loha idols of Shrinivasa with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. These are known as Utsavar idols (images for festivities). There are also the idols of Shri Rama, Sita, Lakshmana and Anjaneya. There is also the beautiful idol of the Shri Krishna with Rukmini. These images are similar to those at the Tirumala Shrine. There is also an image of Chakkarathalwar - Sri Sudarsana. On the other side of the same idol is the image of Shri Nrisimha.
In the Ardha Mantapam, is the Pancha loha idol of Sri Ramanuja, supervising all the religious activities. The Srivari Hundi is housed, patterned after Tirumala, in the courtyard.
Just in front of the deity is a standing image of Garuda. As a matter of fact no one is allowed to stand in such a way as to block the line of sight between the lord and HIS special devotee Garudalwar.
The Archakas or the pujaris (priests) who perform various rituals in this temple are erudite scholars (in Sanskrit and Tamil) and have under gone 10 to 15 years of learning, austerities and practice to be eligible to enter the Garbha Griham!