Friday, November 26, 2010

Shri Chenna-Kesava Temple, Pushpagiri. Andhra Pradesh

Pushpagiri, "The hill of flowers", is situated on the river Pennar, 10 miles to the North-West of Cuddapah district in Andhra Pradesh. This place is sacred for both saivites and vaishnavites as both Siva and Vishnu are believed to have claimed this hill jointly. Thus saivites call it as Madhya Kailasam being midway between Benares in North (Uttar Kailash) and Chidambaram in South (Dakshina Kailash). Vaishnavites call it as Madhya Ahobilam being midway between Tirupathi and Ahobilam. There are eight temples on the hill together called as Pushpagiri temple,viz., Kasi Viswanatha, Rangaswami, Vaidhyanatha, Trikoteswara, Bhimeswara, Indranateswara, Kamalasambhaveswara and Kesava Swamy in one court. The pushpagiri temple comprising eight temples together has very fine sculptural details. The Chenna Keshava temple has a lofty gopuram. There are beautiful scenes that portray the interpretation and delivery of the Gita by Parthasarathi to Arjuna and the gift of arrow (Pasupathastra), by Siva to Arjuna. Scenes from Ramayana and Mahabaratha are also depicted. The Bhimeswara temple has several-sculptured panel with mythological scenes shown in it.

Legends & Myths: Legend has it that, Garuda the divine vahana of Maha Vishnu was once carrying a pot of nectar from the kingdom of heaven, to relieve his mother from sufferings. On his way, Indra, the king of heaven, attacked Garuda. In the course of fight a drop of nectar fell into the tank in the place, which in turn acquired the property of causing rejuvenation and immortality. Brahma the creator of life was discredited and thereupon, sage Narada advised Hanuman to drop a hill to cover the tank. When he did so, the hill instead of sinking floated on the water like a flower. This accounts for the significance of the place.

Festivals: Sivaratri and Vaikunta Ekadasi are the main festivals celebrated here

Location: Pushpagiri, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Situated 10 miles North-west of Cuddapah district.

Near by Temples: Lord Venkateshwara Temple,Tirupathi and Lord Narasimha Temple, Ahobilam.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Shri Atma Rama Temple, Bhadrachalam.

This place is holy Bhadragiri or Bhadrachalam or Bhadradri, the name derived after the mountain Bhadra, the boon child for Meru and Menaka (Merudevi). Meru who was childless performed penance for a long time and he was blessed with twins named Bhadra and Neela who became great devotees of Lord Vishnu.

Meru instructed his sons to perform penance, one on the bank of the river Godavari and the other at Puri, to be blessed by the Lord Sri Rama and Sri Krishna respectively. Rama and Lakshmana, were searching for Seetha came to Bhadragiri. The mountain king who was performing penance, Bhadra requested Lord Rama with Seetha and Lakshmana to be seated on his head, so that the teeming millions may attain salvation through an easy and simple process of archana and Darshana.As Rama was in search of Seetha and in that process, he wanted to punish the wicked and establish Dharma, he promised to fulfil Bhadra's selfless wish after finding his consort. He could not fulfil his promise to Bhadra before leaving for Vaikunta. Bhadra continued the penance which made Brahma and others agitated. So, Lord Vishnu came from Vaikunta. Once more in the form of Rama, with Seetha and lakshmana, to fulfil the cherished wish of Bhadra. Having been immensely pleased with the great devotion and faith of Bhadra's, Lord Rama said "My son i am much pleased with your tapas.This place from now on will be named after you, People will ever remember you first and then think of me and they will all be realised of their sins, and they will be blessed with salvation. There are various ways to attain salvation, but in Kaliyuga, easiest is to worship me at this Bhadradri". Bhadra embraced Rama instantaneously transformed himself into an anthill, preserving the details inside.

Temple History

The history depicts that the need emerged the incarnation of Vykuntha Rama was that to fulfill a long desire of his ardent devotee Bhadra. The Saint Bhadra - Bhadra performed penance at the bank of river Godavari in this " Dandakaranya " to get grace of lord Rama and in countenance of his beloved God - The exulted "Rishi" implored Rama to be seated on his head, but Rama who was in search of his consort Sita gave promise to his Bhakta that his desire would be fulfilled on his way back, after finding Sita and accomplishing the process of punishing the wicked Ravana and establish 'Dharma'. Thus the sage had been in continuation of the frightened penance, as Rama could not accomplish the promise in Ramavatara. Then Sri Mahavishnu manifested himself as Vykuntha Rama and rushed to his devotee Bhadra, signaling his arrival by blowing 'Shanku', accompanied by his consort Sita and brother Laxmana, resembling that of 'Gajendra Moksham ' - Thus, the moorthies of Rama (having four hands) - Shanku on the right, Chakra at his left and Dhanurbhana (Bow and Arrow in the rest two hands), Sita had condescended on the left lap of Rama and brother (at Rama's left) are existed. And the hill place where the Deities were seated on, was the head place of Bhadra - achalam (hill), thus this shrine was transformed into Bhadrachalam. Pokala Dhammakka found the idols of Vykuntha Rama, Laxmana and Sita. Pokala Dhammakka, an ardent devotee of Rama lived in 17th century was inhabitant of Bhadrireddypalem, a mile away from this holy place .On new fine night, she had darshan of Rama in her dream and was told by lord Rama that " the saints and sages are worshiping my embodied moorthy settled on Bhadragiri " and asked her to trace them, perform pooja and attain salvation. On the very next day morning she started searching for the idols - peeped into an anthill and found the idols hidden in it. She poured hundreds of pots of Godavari water on the anthill, which tardily dissolved and gave way to appear the hidden Deities. Since then, she used to perform pooja daily and offer 'nivedyan' with fruits fallen from near palmyra tree and constructed a mandapam with the help of local villagers.

Bhakta Ramadas and construction of temple.

Bhadrachalarama temple was constructed by Kancharla Gopanna popularly known as Bhakta Ramadas in the year 1630 A.D. Kancharla gopanna popularly known as " Bhakta Ramdas " a fervent devotee of Rama was born to Linganna Murthy and Kamamba in Nelakondapalli village of Khammamett Taluk in 17th century (1630 AD) .He was nephew of Akkannna, the administrative head in the court of Nawab Abul Hussan shah known as ' Taneshah ' of Golkonda and was appointed by him as Tahsildar of ' Palvoncha Paragana '. Thus he was discharging his official duties earnestly and collecting revenues due to Nawabs in continuation of daily preaches - Chanting of 'Ramanama' and the feeding the poor at his house. Ramadasa who heard the news that the villagers of palvoncha paragon were proceeding to witness Jatara at Bhadrachalam, He too out of curiosity visited Bhadrachalam. He found the deities in an amazing appearance, Ramadas then asked the villagers to contribute liberally for the construction of the temple .The villagers in response appealed him to spend the revenue collections for the construction of the temple with a promise to repay the amount after harvesting the crops. As such Ramadas constructed the temple with an amount of Rs 6 Lakhs collected from the land revenues with out the permission of the Nizam Nawab.

When temple reached to nearing completion, he had a problem of fixing 'Sudarshana Chakra' at the crest of the main temple. He deeply distressed and fell into sleep. On the same night, Rama in his dream asked him to have a holy dip in river Godavari where he will find that - accordingly. On the next day morning Gopanna did so and found holy Sudarshana Chakra in the river with out much difficulty. He presumed that Sudarshana Chakra itself was shaped up with the divine power of his beloved God Rama.

Soon after the construction, his miseries started .He was dismissed from service for mis-utilisation of revenue for constructing the temple and was kept in jail for 12 long years in Golkonda Fort and was tortured. Unable to withstand the miseries, Ramadas implored Rama to relieve him by singing many praising and emotional songs, which got popularized from the stanzas of 'Dasaradhi Sathakam ' and 'Keertanas' of Bhakta Ramadasa.

The Nizam Nawab Tanishah, the then ruler of Nizam's territory became a devotee of Rama who realized the devotion spirit of Ramadas after his improsionment. And took over the charge of temple administritation. This resembles the communal harmony amongst the Hindus and Muslims.

The Nizam Nawab, Tanishah realized Ramadas's devotional spirit and dedication towards Rama, when Rama and Laxmana repaid 6 lakh Mohurs exposing themselves as Ramoji and Laxmoji, the servants of Bhakta Ramadas to get release of their devotee from the imprisonment. Thanisha gave voucher to these divine looking persons who approached him at his house during late night. Then they kept the voucher under the pillow of Gopanna where he was jailed. Tanishah who woke up on the very next day morning realized that those divine looking persons were none other than Rama and Laxman and made arrangements to get release of Gopanna and prayed to forgive him by placing all the Gold Mohurs received last night at the feet of Gopanna. But, he refused to take back those mohurs except two as a mark of divine significance (Those two can still be seen kept in Bhadrachala Sri Sita Ramachandra Swamy vaari Devasthanam).

Influenced by the majesty of Lord Rama, Golkonda Ruler Tanishah earmarked the income derived from the said Palwoncha paragana which came to Rs 20,000 and odd for the maintenance of the temple which was continued during Nizam's reign and offering Pearls (Mutyala Talambralu) on the occasion of kalyana mahotsavam (Sri Rama Navami) to Deities on an elephant through a specially sent messenger. That procedure of sending pearls to the Deities is still followed by present state Government and continued to offer during Sri Rama Navami Festival (Kalyana mahotsavam).

Sila Saasanaalu Tumu Narsimha Dasa, Tahasildar of Palwoncha paragana, along with his associate Varada Ramadasa came here from Guntur and took over charge of Bhadrachalarama temple after Ramadas made unscripted the performance of Nitya Poojas and sevas right from early morning "Suprabhata Seva" till night "Pavalimpu Seva" before closure of the temple as "Silaasaasanaalu" on these two pillars. This inscription gave details of daily dittam and daily rituals also.


This temple is intimately connected with the life of the saint composer Bhadrachala Ramadasa who was known as Gopanna. Gopanna the Tasildar of Bhadrachalam (second half of the 17th century) is said to have utilized money from the government treasury to build this temple, and was imprisoned in a dungeon at Golconda.

Legend has it that the son of Meru - Bhadra performed penances towards Rama here. Kabirdas, a muslim by birth is also closely associated with this temple. It is believed that the images of the deities miraculously disappeared when Kabir was refused entry into the temple and that they reappeared miraculously upon his being permitted to enter.

Sri Rama temple, situated on the northern bank of Godavari in Khammam district, is dedicated to Sita and Ramachandra Murti. The hill is named after Bhadra, son of Meru, who did penance to have darshan of Sri Rama. A visit to this shrine will leave an indelible impression in the minds of the pilgrims. The holy soil is believed to have been trodden by Sri Rama, Sita and Lakshmana during their stay at Dandakaranya. Parnashala, a place about 35 km away, stands testimony to the epic events.

Festivals: Sri Ramanavami (March-April) and Kalyana Mahotsavam, celebrated in a grand manner here, attract thousands of devotees. Pilgrims take a holy dip in Godavari on the occasion of Karthick Poornima(Oct-Nov).

Location: Bhadrachalam, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Rail: Bhadrachalam is 200 km from Vijayawada. The nearest railway station is Kothagudem 40km away.

Near by Temples: Narasimhaswamy temple, Govindarajulu Swamy temple, Harinatha temple.

Friday, April 30, 2010

Shri Kurmeswara Temple, Srikurmam.

Srikurmam is a famous temple situated at a distance of about 18 kms to the southeast of Srikakulam town. The village Srikurmam derives its name from the temple, which is dedicated to Lord Vishnu in the avathara of Sri Kurma viz., the avathara of a tortoise, and hence the deity is called Srikurmanatha. The temple is of very great sanctity, being the only important temple to Lord Vishnu in the Kurmavathara in the whole of India.

Srikurmam is one of the ancient and famous temples in India. As far as our history is concerned, this temple was constructed before 2nd century. In the dynasty of Cholas this temple was developed. According to the history of Kalinga seema, it is specified that after the rule of Cholas, Kalinga Ganga dynasty ruled this area. From the 7th century, this temple was recognized. Srikurmam occupies a unique place for the reason that Srikurmam is the only place where the Lord Vishnu is worshipped in the form of tortoise in India. It is specified that the temple have been developed in different modes under the rule of Gangaraja. As specified in the Silashasanas around the temple, Anangabheema, the successor of Gangaraja dynasty built the floor and top around the temple in 12th century. The architecture of the temple and its pillars are called Gandarva silpa sampada, the temple focused the rule, name and fame of Kalinga and Andhra dynasties.

This world famous temple consists of almost 200 black granite pillars with unique sculpture and two flagpoles (dwjastamdhams).

Historical Background: -

The area of Srikurmam was ruled by many dynasties. After the rule of Cholas Kalingaganga rajas, orissa vikrama gajapatulu, Vijayanagaram kings Anandagajapatulu and their successors ruled.

Historically the stories and miracles of Kurmanatha and Swethachalam are written in Bhramanda purana, Padma purana. The guru Vedavyas Maharshi wrote these puranas. By these two puranas we can know the importance of the God and Temple.


Once Devendra mistook Srikurmanatha for someone engaged in deep penance trying to seize his throne and sent Tillotama, the Apsara, to disturb him. Tillotama took bath in the Puskarani and after seeing the Lord, she decided to be here forever in the service of Lord.

At the long absence of Tillotama, a Gandharva was sent in search of her. Tillotama went again to Devendra and was asked by him to dance. Her dance made the gathered audience loose their consciousness. The Rishis recovered their senses, but one among them, Chaitratapa could not stop thinking of the dancer and the other Rishis laughed at him. Out of terrible wrath Chairtratapa cursed them and they became Asses.
Tillotama again came down and she took head bath in the Pushakarani and she was drying her hair. The asses, the transformed Rishis were grazing at the Puskarini; Drops of water from her hair fell on the asses and turned them into Rishis. This incident is described in the twentieth Chapter of Padma purnam from Swetha Girimahatyam.

Sri Hari faces towards Western side: -

The people of Srikurmam felt that the Lord was Shiva and not Vishnu, as Ramanujacharya wanted to prove that, he stood behind the idol and asked the Lord to turn towards him if He is Vishnu. The Lord turned to the western direction. This fact is found in the Acharya Suktamuktavali. Now there are two Dwaja stambhas (FLAG POLES) one in the East and other in the West of the temple. The Eastern one was the original and Ramnujacharya raised that in the West after the God turned his face to the West.

Mythological Story: -

According to Padma Puranam Sri Kurmanatha temple existed before Krutha Yuga, on the mountain region of Swethachala. Maharshi Vedavyasa revealed this story to Dattila Maharshi.

Once up on a time King Swetha Chakravarthi ruled this area. This area was called Swethapuram; his wife was Hari priya (other name Vishnu Priya). Vanitamandalam was the place where the queen’s palace exited nearly 14 km from the Swethapuram. It was on a Magaa suddha ekadasi (it also known as Bheeshma ekadasi) day that Swetha Chakravathi visited his queen in her palace. She was immersed herself in Lords worship by fasting and leaving all her luxury, there was a tradition maintained that whenever the king wanted to go to the palace, first of all he must intimate and take permission from the queen. But the king went to the palace with out any intimation, and expressed his desire for her company. The queen was in a dilemma whether to give company her husband or to participate in worship. She prayed to the Lord as her mind was troubled by the duel importance of the idea.

Then the lord Vishnu created a great river to flow between the King and queen to divide them. And the river at present is called as Vamsadhara, which means a flow from a bamboo stick. Then the king ran to escape from the river flow and the king reached the Swethachala Mountain and sat alone with a great melancholy for his uncontrollable emotions. At that time Naradha appeared there and said that when women were approaching lord Kurmanatha by worshiping him men were getting away from him due to general temptations and explained that this was because of his wife who prayed Kurmanatha to save her from that pathetic situation. And he also suggested him to worshiping Lord Kurmanatha and preached the hymn (OM KUM KURMAAYA NAMAHA). Then the king started worshipping Kurmanatha at Chakra Thirtha.

Then Lord Vishnu appeared and asked him to ask for a boon. The king said that he wished to see Lord in his second incarnations of Kurmanatha (Tortoise form). Then the God asked for the explanation why he wanted to see him in second incarnation?
The king answered that he wanted see the incarnation because it was worked as base for the Manthara Parvatha at the time of churning the Kshirasagara by using the snake Vasuki as a thread to obtain Amrutha (a drink to become immortal) and that is why that incarnation is called as Amrutha Kurmanatha.

On the request of the king Lord Kurmanatha resided there in the form of Kurmanatha (Tortoise shape). Sri Hari gave his consent for temple to be constructed by the king. Narada led the King to Brahma who visited the temple and installed Kurmanatha with divine Mantra. Sudarsana Chakra took active effect and flames of burning fire arose. Brahma subdued the flames by the soothing effects of Gopalamantra.
According to Bramandapurana Durvasa Maharsi and their followers visit this place for penance. Lord Krishna’s brother Balarama visited this place and declared that this temple is the one and only temple on this earth. And in Srikakulam he built Uma Rudra Koteswara temple on the bank of river the Nagavali. Balarama created this Nagavali by his plough (nagali) so it is called Nagavali, in Sanskrit it is also called as Langalyavati.

Lava Kusha are the sons of God Sri Rama visited and worshiped the Kurmanatha by offering Abhishakam they got relief from the effect of planet Saturn (Shanidosham). Vakrangada maharsi constructed hermitage and did penance with his Disciples.
Jayadev the writer of Astapadi (about the god Krishna) visited the temple with the grace of god he started writing Astapadi and settled in Puri.

Historical Importance of the Temple: -

According to our ancient sayings at first this temple worshiped by the saivites as Lord Siva. Ramanujacharya, Adi Sankaracharya, and Madvacharyas disciple Narahari thirtha were among those who worshiped the Lord. In the 12th century Narahari thirtha built Yoga Narshimha Peetham. The disciple of Sankaracharya placed Sudarsana Saligrama at the tail part of Kurmanatha.

Important Aspects of the Temple: -
1. God is Western faced.
2. Two-dwajastamba temple.
3. Total sculpture is Gandara sculpture.
4. Near about 210 pillars.
5. Every pillar has its individual identity.
6. Total inscriptions are 127 in four languages.(Devanagari, Prakrutha and Oriya Languages)
7. Main temple tower is called Padma Vimanam (Gandarava Vimanam).
8. This temple total region is called Swethachalam (white soil mountain region).
9. Human bones dissolve in this Swetha puskarini water with in weekdays it means this water has chemical properties.

Location: SriKurmam, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Srikurmam is 18miles from Srikakulam railway station in Walter - Kolkata railway route.

Near by Temples: Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha temple at Simhachalam, Sun temple at Arasavalli, and Mukhalingeswara temple at Mukhalingam. Sri Rama Kshetram and Sri Padmanaba Kshetram are the two famous Vaishnava sthalas situated in Walter – Srikurmam bus route.

Shri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy Temple, Annavaram.

As per the puranas the presiding deity of the place blesses the devotees with Anina Varam (Wanted Boon) the place is called Annavaram. The hillock by the side of the village is considered to be very sacred. Meruvu the Lord of the hills and his consort Menaka did great penance and begot two sons by the grace of Lord Vishnu. One was named Bhadra and the other Ratnakara. Bhadra pleased Lord Vishnu with his devotion and penance and with his grace became Bhadrachalam on which Lord Sri Rama had permanently settled. Ratnakara desired to emulate his brother and succeeded in pleasing Lord Vishnu by his penance to settle on him as Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy, Ratnakara remaining as Ratnagiri hill.

The temple of Sri Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy is the main temple on the Ratnagiri hill. There is also a temple of Sri Rama and the shrines of Vanadurga and Kanaka Durga nearby. The temple of gramadevatha (village deity) is in the village at the foot of the hill.

It is said that Raja I.V.Ramanarayanam, the then zamindar of Gorsa and Kirlampudi estates, having been ordained by the Lord in his dream, traced the idol on the hill, worshipped it and installed it at the present spot on sravana suddha vidhiya of the telugu year Khara, 1891. The hillock it self is about 300ft above sea level, green fields all-round the hills and the pampa river encircling Ratnagiri. About 460 well laid stone steps leads to the top of it.

“The main temple constructed in the form of a chariot with the four wheels at each of the four corners. In front of the main temple is the kalyana mantapa, constructed and decorated with modern pieces of architecture. As we go down the way, we come across Ramalaya and then the shrines of Vana Durga and Kanaka Durga.

The Akriti of any temple is, according to the Agni Purana, merely a manifestation of the Prakriti. According to this the chariot of the temple is intended as a symbol of the Seven Lokas and the seven Lokhas above with, the garbhalaya of the Lord, at the heart’s center ruling over the entire Universe.

The temple at Annavaram has been constructed to depict this idea concretely. The front side of the temple depicts the chariot. The Meru on the floor with the pillar at the center, and the idols at the top are intended to bring forth the idea that the Lord not only remains at the heart’s center but also permeates the entire universe. The wheels depicting the Sun and the Moon serve to remind us that this Juggernaut moves on the wheels of time, and goes on for ever and ever, Thus the Annavaram temple satisfies both the ritualistic values and the spiritual aspirations of the devotees.”

Veera Venkata Sathya Narayana Swamy shrine is situated at Annavaram, which is one of the most visited pilgrim centres in Andhra Pradesh. It is dedicated to Lord Veera Venkata Satyanarayana Swamy, who is worshipped in almost all the houses of Andhra before starting any work. Satyanarayana puja is performed in the shrine by thousands of devotees round the year. 'Vrata' is performed in the name of the Lord, who is believed to fulfill their wishes. Annavaram, which attracts thousands of pilgrims everyday, is considered as the second Tirupati. The temple resembles a chariot with four wheels. The sanctum is constructed in accordance with the principles of Atharva Veda (Tripad Vibuthi Narayana Upanishad). The Moola vigrahas of Lord Vishnu and His consort Lakshmi and a Lingam are installed in a Tripeeta constructed over a Meru with Beejakshara. A yantra is installed in the lower part of the sanctum, which has entrances on all four sides.

Festivals: The major festivals celebrated here are Bheeshma Ekadasi, Vyasa Ekadasi and Kalyana Utsavam.

Location: Annavaram, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Annavaram is adequately connected by rail and roadways and provides enough infrastructures for the pilgrims to enjoy their pilgrimage. It is located near Vijayawada and it is 124 km from Visakhapatnam and 72 km from Rajamundry.

Near by Temples: Lord Someswara temple at Kumararama, Bheemeswara temple at Draksharama, Jaganmohini Keshava Swamy temple at Ryali and Lord Amareswara temple at Amaravati.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Shri Panaka Narasimha Temple, Mangalagiri.

Mangalagiri means The Auspicious Hill. This place is one of the 8 important Mahakshetras (sacred places) in India.

The eight places where Lord Vishnu manifested himself are (1) Sri Rangam (2) Srimushnam (3) Naimisaranyam (4) Pushkaram (5) Salagaramam (6) Thothadri (7) Badrikasramam (8) Venkatadri. Thotadri is the present Mangalagiri. Lakshmi Devi has done tapas on this hill. That's why it got this name (The auspicious hill). There are three Narasimha Swamy temples in Mangalagiri. One is Panakala Narasimha Swamy on the hill. Another is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at the foot of the temple. Third is Gandala Narasimha Swamy at the top of the hill.

The shape of the hill looks like an elephant from all the directions. There is an interesting legend to show as to how the mountain came into existence. Pariyatra, an ancient king had a son Hrasva Srungi who visited all holy and sacred places to regain normal bodily stature and finally visited this holy place of Mangalagiri and stayed for three years performing penance. All the Devathas (Gods) advised him to stay at Mangalagiri and continue to do penance in praise of Lord Vishnu. The father of Hrasva Srungi came with his retinue to take back his son to his kingdom. But Hrasva Srungi took the shape of an elephant to become the abode of Lord Vishnu who is locally known as Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.

The temple of Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy is situated on the hill. On the right side of the steps provided to reach the temple, there is a stone inscription by Sri Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar and a little further up, the footprints of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya can be seen. Midway on the steps there is a temple of Lord Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy there is only the face with the mouth widely opened. A dhwajasthambha was erected in front of the temple in 1955. Behind the temple there is the temple of Sri Lakshmi, to the west of which there is a tunnel that is believed to lead to Vundavalli caves on the banks of the Krishna. The stone inscription of the kings of Vijayanagar relate besides to the conquest of Rayalu over Kondapalli etc., that Siddhiraju Thimmarajayya Devara granted a total of 200 kunchams (10 kunchams make one acre) land in 28 villages of which Mangalagiri was one and gift of 40 kunchams by Chinna Thirumalayya to Ramanujakutam.

Sri Channapragada Balaramadasu constructed the steps to the temple in 1890. There is a cave next the Lakshmi Devi temple on the hill. It is said that, there is a way to Vundavalli from that cave, and the sages used to go by that way to take bath in Krishna River. Now, the cave is very dark, and the way could not be seen.

Demon Namuchi

The Lord who has established himself on the hill is in the form of Narasimha (man-lion), which Lord Vishnu assumed to kill Hiranyakasipu, a rakshasa father of Prahlada, a great devotee. He is also called as Sudarsana Narasimhaswamy. The legend says that Namuchi, a Rakshasa after great penance obtained a boon from Brahma that he would not be killed by anything that is either wet or dry. He began to harass Indra and the Devathas. Encouraged and supported by Lord Vishnu, Indra commenced destroying the army of Rakshasa Namuchi, who hid in a cave in Sukshmakara (small size) giving up his sthulakara (Physical manifestation).

Indra dipped Sudarsana, the disc of Lord Vishnu in the foam of the ocean and sent it into the cave. Lord Vishnu manifesting himself at the centre of the disc destroyed the Pranavayuvu (life breath) of the Rakshasa with the fire of his exhalation. He thus got the name of Sudarsana Narasimha. The blood that flowed from the body of the Rakshasa seemed to have formed into a pool at the foot of the hill. The Devathas themselves were unable to withstand the anger of the Lord and they prayed for appeasement. The Lord drank amruta (nectar) and cooled down. This happened in Krithayuga. The Lord said that he would be satisfied with ghee in Threthayuga, with milk in Dwaparayuga and with panakam (Jaggery water) in Kaliyugam. Hence the Lord is called in Kaliyuga as Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.

Story in Threthayuga

In Threthayuga, the second of the four yugas, people who were in heaven as a result of their good deeds in the world were most unwilling to return to this world (when once the fruits of good deeds are exhausted, the soul has to come back to the world). They prayed Indra, the Lord of heaven to save them from the impending fate. Indra advised them to spend their time in the world at Mangalagiri to attain heaven again. In Krithayuga, the first of the four yugas when the sinners were few, Yamadharmaraja, the Lord of hell advised them to wash off their sins by doing penance at Mangalagiri.

Mangalagiri is in existence from the beginning of the Universe with the names Anjanadri in Krithayuga, Thotadri in Threthayuga, Mangaladri and Mukthyadri in Dwaparayuga and Mangalagiri in Kaliyugam affording salvation to sinners also. In Krithayuga, Vaikhanasa Maharshi worshipped the Lord and the idol is worshipped even today in the temple. It is also believed that Lord Rama while departing for Vaikunta after completing his mission in that incarnation advised Anjaneya to stay at Mangalagiri and after obtaining his blessings to remain in this world forever. Anjaneya took his adobe at Mangalagiri as Kshetrapalaka.

Panakala Narasimha Swamy - God Who Drinks Panaka

It is said that here, Lord is self-existent. In the temple, there is no image of the Lord, but there is only mouth, widely opened to 15 cms. The mouth is covered by metal face of the Lord. The temple will be opened till afternoon only, with the belief that devatas will perform pujas in the night. The Lord takes jaggery water as offering by a conch. The Jaggery water is actually poured into the mouth of the Lord, a gargling sound is clearly audible as if the Lord is actually drinking it and the sound becomes shriller and shriller as and when the Lord is drinking. The sound will come to a stop after sometime and the balance of the jaggery water is thrown out. This phenomenon happens not once in a day but is a recurring feature during the course of the day as and when devotees offer panaka (jaggery water). It is interesting to note that not even a single ant is traceable near the Lord or around the temple in spite of the offering of so much jaggery water. As the offering of the panaka to the Lord is peculiar, the Lord here is called Panakala Narasimhaswamy. There is a scientific reason about the offering of the panaka (jaggery water) to the Lord. It is said that the hill was once a volcano. Sugar or jaggery water, it is said, neutralizes Sulphur compounds found in a volcano and prevents a volcanic eruption.

Lashmi Narasimha Swamy Temple.

At the foot of the hill, there is another temple whose origin is traced to the time of Yudhishtira, the eldest of the pandavas. Yudhishtira is said to have done the pratistapana of the chief image of this temple and the deity here is called Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. In Vijayawada, which is 8 miles from Mangalagiri there is a hill called Indrakeeladri in which Arjuna is said to have done tapascharya (penance) in order to obtain the weapon Pasupatastra from Lord Siva. About 200 years back Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu who ruled from Amaravati as his capital constructed a stupendous gopura (tower) on the eastern gate of the Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy. It is one of the highest gopurams in South India and only one of its types in this part of India. It is 153ft. in height and 49 feet wide with 11 storeys, and gates facing east and west. This great and imposing tower dwarfs the central shrine. The devoted patience of thousands of skilled craftsmen and the labour of many more apprentices, which had gone into this great structure, is a testimony to the religious fervor, which characterized the builder. After constructing the gopura, it was leaning towards one direction. The Kancheepuram architects suggested digging a tank opposite to the tower. After digging the tank, it is said that, the tower became straight.

The Image of the Lord in the form of Narasimha (man-lion) and that of Lakshmi Devi to his left are of stone. The garland of the Lord with 108 saligramams is of special significance here. Dakshanavrutha Sankha, a special conch believed to be one that was used by Lord Krishna and resented by the Maharaja Sarfoji of Tanjore, is one most possession of significance of the Lord. There is also an ancient ratha (temple car) belonging to the temple with ornamental woodcarvings depicting the scenes from the great epics of Bharata, Bhagavatha and Ramayana.

Thimmaraju Devaraju a military chieftain of the Vijayanagar rulers improved this temple. He had constructed prakarams (compound walls), mandapas, gopurams (towers), five images of Lord Bhairava, a festival chariot, and ten varieties of courts for annual ceremonies, flower gardens lakes and tanks. He had also installed utsava vigrahas in the temple (metal images intended for being taken out in procession). To the north of the temple there is a temple of Sri Rajyalakshmi to the south that of Rama with Sita and Lakshmana and to the west vahanasala (the store house for the vehicles of which the golden garudavahana, the silver Hanumanthavahana and ponnavahana are noteworthy). The Lakshmi narayana temple and the Anjaneya Mandira in Pedda Bazar are the other places of worship in the town.


On the top of the hill, there is no deity for the Lord. There is only facility to light a deepa. Devotees light the lamp using ghee to get rid of their worries; the lamp is visible far from many villages.


Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Brahmothsavam is very important annual festival. It is believed that Dharmaraja inaugurated the celebration at the behest of Lord Krishna. Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna, requested his father to celebrate his birthday annually for a sapthaha (seven days) from Phalguna Suddha Sapthami. Lord Krishna entrusted this work to Dharmaraja, the eldest of the pandavas who has the successor to the throne at Hasthinapura.

At present the festival is celebrated for 11 days commencing from phalguna sudda shasti (february - march). One day before Phalguna Suddha Purnima i.e. on Chaturdasi, here the marriage of Santha Narasimha Swamy, and Sridevi and Bhoodevi is celebrated. They follow Agama sastra in this celebration.

Before the marriage, Chenchus celebrate on the occassion of Narasimha swamy marrying their daughter Chenchu Lakshmi. On that day night, Swamy comes by Sesha Vahanam and participate in Eduru Kola. The next day after the marriage is Purnima, on which Indians celebrate the Holi festival. The same day, here, people celebrate Tirunalla, and about 1,00,000 people, local and from distant places congregate. On a big chariot, the Lord will go on procession and hundreds of devotees will pull this cart with fervor and enthusiasm.

Srirama Navami, Hanumajayanthi, Narasimhajayanthi, Vaikunta Ekadasi, and Mahasivarathri are other festivals, which are celebrated here on a large scale. On Mahasivarathri, Lord will go on procession on a small chariot.

Ksheera Vruksham (The milk tree)

Ksheera vruksham (the milk tree) on the Mangalagiri hill is of great attraction particularly to the woman. The legend goes to say that king Sasibandi was advised by Narada to visit pilgrimages. King left the kingdom, and his queen, and started visiting pilgrimages. The queen came to know about this, and grew furious and cursed Narada to become a Ksheera vruksham on the hill within the easy reach of devotees, blessing women at its very sight, with property, children and washing off the sins they committed out of ignorance or oversight, for having ill-advised her husband to desert her and to do penance. Narada took this not as a curse but as a boon as it meant service to humanity blessed the queen with happy life with her husband and a thousand children. Even today the milk tree is on the Mangalagiri hill and throughout the year thousands of women visits and worships the tree for begetting children.

There is a legend connected with the making of the procession idols of the temple. A reputed goldsmith was appointed to make the procession images of the Lord. In spite of all his skill and care, the panchalohas (five metals) melted together in a huge crucible and smeared over the images to form a brilliant coating, the metals used to separate themselves and this bitter disappointment continued day after day. He began the process of burning one day after praying for the Lord's grace and heard a voice that success in his work required human sacrifice. Just then his son rushed to him and requested the father for water to quench his great thirst. He lifted his affectionate son and threw him into the molten mixture of the five metals and the body disappeared in no time. The amalgam was cast and beautiful icons of the Lord were then completed. After completing the work, the goldsmith thought about his son and called out in agony “Come oh my son I will give you water to quench your thirst”. It is believed that the body jumped out of the image and stood before his father.

Gali Gopuram (Tower)

Thoorpu Gali Gopuram (Tower on East Side) is the main attraction for the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. Vijayanagara kings constructed three storeys and Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu constructed another 8 storeys. Raja Vasireddy constructed this from 1807 to 1809. Height of this temple is 153 feet and width is 49 feet. It is very rare to find out towers, which have less width and more height like this tower. Utthara Gali Gopuram (Tower on North Side) is opened on the Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti) day. It was constructed by Rangapuram Jamindar Madapati Venkateswararao in 1911. When Padamati Gali Gopuram (Tower on West Side) was being constructed, accidentally some stones fell down and some workers died. By this incident, the work was stopped and had not been started till now. Dhakshina Gali Gopuram (Tower on South Side) was renovated in 1992 for Krishna pushkaras by the initiative of the Executive officer Sri Nootakki Kotaiah.

Location: Mangalagiri, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Mangalagiri is between Vijayawada and Guntur Road, 20 km from Guntur. Nearest Airport is Gannavaram. The Devastanam falls under Guntur District.

Near by Temples: Kanaka Durga temple - Vijayawada, Amareswara temple – Amaravati

Shri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha Temple, Simhachalam.

The temple of Sri Varaha Lakshmi Narasimha in Simhachalam stands on a hillock, about 18 km from Visakhapatnam. The image of the Lord combines the features of Sri Varaha and Sri Narasimha. The deity is kept covered with sandalwood paste throughout the year and looks like a linga. Only once in a year, devotees can see the real image when the old coat of sandalwood paste is removed and a new coat is applied. This ritual is known as "Chandana Visarjana" celebrated on the third day of Vaisaka (April-May). Prahlada is believed to have built the shrine when he was saved from his father Hiranyakashipu. Vaishnavite saint Narahari Theertha established a religious center here in the 13th century.

The Vengi Chalukyas of Andhra Pradesh renovated the original shrine in the 11th century. Much of the structure as it stands to day is the result of renovation by Narasimha I, of the Eastern Ganga dynasty, in the 13th century. The temple has two exquisitely carved mandapas, the Kalyana and the Natya. The former has sixteen pillars and one of the pillars in the Mukha-mandapa is named Kappam Stambam or "the tribute pillar", which attracts large number of crowds on account of its power of curing cattle diseases and granting children to barren women. There is also a beautiful stone chariot, drawn by stone horses. The columns in the Kalyana Mandapa have splendid bas-reliefs depicting Lord Vishnu's incarnations. The artwork is similar to that of the work at the Sun temple at Konark.

Legends & Myths:
The well-known legend of Lord Vishnu in His incarnation as Narasimha is associated with this temple. Once there lived a demon king Hiranyakashipu who was blessed with immense powers by virtue of his penance to Brahma. He was blessed with a boon that neither man, nor beast nor weapon could kill him, nor would he die indoors or outdoors, he assumed total invincibility and conquered the earth and the nether worlds. He declared himself as the Lord of the universe, and directed his subjects to worship none other than himself. But his own son Prahlada, a staunch devotee of Vishnu defies his orders. Hiranyakashipu tried several means to convince his son, and then to kill him indirectly, and none worked. Finally he challenged him to show him Narayana, whom he worshipped so fervently. Prahlada insisted that Vishnu was omnipresent and that there was no need to show him. An enraged Hiranyakashipu broke open a pillar in front of him, to disprove his son's assertion, and out of this pillar sprang out Narasimha, the man-lion form of Vishnu, who killed him on his doorstep, placing him on his lap.

Festivals: Chandan Yatra is the ritual celebrated during April-May.

Location: Simhachalam, Andhra Pradesh

Transportation: Air: Visakhapatnam 20km. Road: Visakhapatnam 20km

Near by Temples: Sri Tirupurantaka Swamy temple.

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Sri Ahobala Maha Kshetram

Sri Ahobala Maha Kshetram (The Abode of the Nava Narasimhas)

Srimad Ahobila Mahaa Kshetra Nivaasaaya Mahaatmane |
Ahankaara Vinaasaaya Aadidevaaya Mangalam ||

Aho Viryam Aho Shouryam Aho Bahu Parakramaha |
Narasimham Param Daivam Ahobalam Ahobalam ||

Jwala Ahobila Maalola Kroda Karanja Bhargavah |
Yogananda Chatravata Pavanah Nava Moortayah ||

The nine forms of Narasimha seen here are 1) Jwala Narasimha, 2) Ahobila Narasimha, 3) Maalola Narasimha, 4) Varaha Narasimha, 5) Karanja Narasimha, 6) Bhargava Narasimha, 7) Yogananda Narasimha, 8) Chatravata Narasimha 9) Pavana Narasimha.

As per the Puranas; Nallamalai Hills is the personification of Adisesha, the great serpent bed of Sri Maha Vishnu. Srisailam, one of the famous Shiva Kshetram is the tail end, Ahobilam is the middle portion, Tirumala is the head and Srikalahasti, and another Shiva Kshetram is the mouth of Adisesha. Thus, the sacred hills houses two Vishnu and two Shiva Kshetrams. Ahobalam, the great Narasimha Kshetram is also known as Ahobilam, Singavel Kundram, Vedachalam, Garudachalam, Veera kshetram, Pancha Kosa Kshetram etc. for the following reasons.

AHOBALAM: - means “great strength”. Since Lord manifested Himself here for rescuing His devotee Prahalada by killing the asura, Hiranyakashyapu, the devas praised Him saying

“Aho Viryam Aho Shouryam Aho Bahu Parakramaha |
Narasimham Param Daivam Ahobalam Ahobalam “|| ” (Oh! What strength)”

VEDACHALAM: - Maha Vishnu restored the Vedas to Brahma by killing Somuka, an asura.

GARUDACHALAM: - Maha Vishnu blessed Garuda who did penance here and made him His mount.

VEERA KSHETRAM: - Lord exercised one of His gunas “VEERYAM”.

NAVA NARASIMHA KSHETRAM: - There are nine temples dedicated to Narasimha.

PANCHA KOSA KSHETRAM: - All the nine temples are situated within a radius of 5 kosas or 10 miles or 16 kilometres.

Ahobalam is situated 25 Km from Allagadda in Kurnool district can also be approached via Cuddapah district. It is situated on hills amidst thick jungles. The local tribals are usually hostile. All the temples are in the boundary of Andhra Pradesh Reserve Forest and the permission for building roads for the temples is not permitted. Compared to Tirumala, this is strenuous since there is neither motor able road (except to two or three temples) nor well-laid pathway like that in Tirumala. Added to this, almost all the temples are scattered on the hills with no direct route. One is forced to walk back the way he came and then go to the next temple.

VIMANAM: Gugha (Cave)


Situated at the foot of the hills known as Lower Ahobalam, this temple can be visited by one and all. Usually all homams and yagams are performed here. Here Lord is seen along with Maha Lakshmi blessing Prahalada. Hence, He is known as “Prahalada Varadha”. The utsava vigrahas of all the Narasimhas except Malola Narasimha are offered pooja here. To the left of Lord, utsava vigraham of Pavana Narasimha can be seen majestically. In front of the Lord, the utsava idols of Prahalada varadha Narasimha along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi grace us. The processional deity of Jwala Narasimha along with His consorts is also seen in the garbagriha. The vigraham is superbly carved and on request, the archaka removes the alankaranam and performs Aarathi to the idol. This idol has 10 arms and Hiranyavadha (killing) is beautifully depicted. There is also a small vigraha of the first Ahobila Mutt Jeeyar facing south. The walls of the temple depict the sthala purana briefly. There is a Devi Amruthavalli Sannidhi to the right of the temple.


This temple is situated two kilometers from Lower Ahobalam on a small hillock and can be approached by foot or autorikshaw. The purana says, that Parasurama after renounced Kshatra Dharma and become a Rishi; he wanted to have the darshana of the Maha Vishnu in Narasimha form killing Hiranyakshyapu. Hence he did penance here, and had the darshana of Lord in Narasimha form. It is easily approachable. The Lord can be seen with four hands upper two holding Chakra and Shanku and the lower two hands ripping open the stomach of Hiranyakashyapa. Prahalada is seen with folded hands.


Situated at a distance of 3 kilometres from Lower Ahobalam, this can be approached by foot. It was here that Prahalada mastered the Yogic lessons and Rajaneeti from Lord Himself. The divya mangala swaroopa of the Lord is eye captivating. Lord who has four arms with the upper two holding Chakra and Shanku and lower two arms resting on His knees. He has closed eyes in Yoga nidra.


This is situated at a distance of nearly 3 kilometres from Lower Ahobalam opposite to Yogananda Narasimha Sannidhi reachable by foot. Here Lord is seated alone under a peepul {Vata Vruksha} tree that protects Him like an umbrella, Hence He is known as Chatravata Narasimha. He has four arms with upper two holding Chakra and Shanku and right in abhya mudra and left palm clasping as appreciating the music. This Lord is fond of music played by Gandharvas. It looks as if the Lord is deeply engrossed in music by clasping His hands. Devotees please Him with their music and He is fond of Adi Thala.


This is in Upper Ahobalam. There is a narrow bus route and it takes about 40 minutes to reach this place from Lower Ahobalam. This is considered as the Divya Desam temple. Usually, pilgrims have bath in Bhavanaasini or Paavanaasini (a spring which flows from the top of the hill) and then have Lord’s darsanam. A dip in Paavanaasini absolves all the sins committed. The sannidhi is located inside a cave. Opposite to Lord, there is an idol of Prahalada. The Lord has unusually two arms both the hands resting on Asura Hiranyakashyapu. There is a dark room on the other side of the cave that is believed to be the place where Chenchulakshmi resides. It has been a common belief that in the ancient times people were afraid to face the fierce deity of Ugra Narasimha in the sanctum sanctorum. It seems when a stack of grass was left in front of the deity by the priest, it would soon result in fire and one could witness the smoke from a distance. This was attributed to the intensity of heat emanating from the Lord Ugra Narasimha. There is a sannidhi to Sudarsana Chakra and Chenchu Lakshmi in two separate caves.
Recently, under the supervision of Jeeyar, a bridge across Paavanasini river has been constructed which facilitates the pilgrims to go to Varaha Narasimha temple (Krodha Narasimha)

Sixth Jeeyar Sri Shasta Parangusa Yathindra Maha Desikan

Tradition has it that the sixth Jeeyar Sri Shasta Parangusa Yathindra Maha Desikan while fervently worshipping at Ahobalam was commanded by Sri Lakshmi Narasimha to be ever present there to do pooja to Him. In order to do that he had disappeared into the cave of Ahobalam, which now remains, closed. (This place is shown to pilgrims at the Upper Ahobalam Temple where it seems even now early in the morning the peeling bells and chanting can be heard by the devout). He was however never again seen afterwards though we are told, very pathetically that his shisyas - particularly Tatacharya - stayed outside the cave for several days without meals and water, wept and cried out for him requesting him to come out - but it was all in vain.

Swarna Narasimha:

During 1291 to 1322, a Kakatiya king named 'Pratapa Rudra Deva' was ruling Telengana. He was a great devotee of Lord Siva. He would cast an image of Lord Siva in gold and would give it away as a charity everyday before taking his food. On one occasion, he was passing through Ahobalam and camped there. To his surprise, the gold casting took the form of Lord Lakshmi Narasimha. From Scholars, he learnt that Ahobalam is ''Narasimha Kshetra' and everything is Narasimha at this place. Later, he also worshipped Lord Narasimha and arranged for the installation of golden idol at the temple there. Even today, the Jeeyars of Ahobalam mutt are worshiping this Swarna Narasimha idol.


There is a small temple cavern, not far from Ahobala Narasimha Swamy temple, on the banks of the Bhavanasini river, dedicated to Krodha Narasimha or Varaha Narasimha Swamy facing South. There are two shrines in this temple, one a Sthanaka (standing) of Sri Varaha Narasimha Swamy with Goddess Bhudevi on his shoulder and the other shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy with Goddess Lakshmi on his side. It is interesting to note that while Varaha and Narasimha avataras are considered as separate avataras in Dasavataras, we sometimes come across the combined form, namely Sri Varaha Narasimha Swamy. The popular shrine of Sri Varaha Narasimha Swamy is located at Simhachalam in Vishakapatnam district of Andhra Pradesh.

One plausible interpretation for this combination of both the avataras may be that since the two occured in the same Yuga (Satyuga), one in the form of Bhu Varaha to protect the earth from the menace of Hiranyaksha and the other in the form of Lord Narasimha to kill his brother Hiranyakashyapu, they may have been combined as Varaha Narasimha. However, since only Lakshmi could calm down Lord Narasimha, his avatara was complete only with his divine consort (Mahalakshmi) by his side (hence Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy). Another interpretation is that since Maha Vishnu is always with his divine consorts Sri Devi and Bhu Devi, by combining Varaha and Narasimha Swamy, we get Bhu Devi from Varahavatara and Sri Devi from Narasimhavatara that would result in Sri Bhu Varaha Narasimha Swamy.


This shrine is situated at a distance of one kilometre from the Upper Ahobalam and one furlong from the road leading to Lower Ahobalam. On the Western side of Garudadri hill under the shade of the great Karanja Vruksha is located the temple of Karanja Narasimha Swamy. The Lord is seen seated in meditation under the canopy of Adisesha. He has four arms with the upper right hand He holds the Chakra and with the left He is holding a Sarnaga {bow} and lower two hands are in Abhya and Varadha mudra. He is Trinetra {has three eyes} It is believed that He gave darasanam to Hanuman with the bow to show Hanuman that Rama was Narasimha in Satyuga. Located next to this temple is the shrine of Lord Anjaneya.


Nearly two kilometres from the main temple of Upper Ahobalam, is the famous shrine of Maalola Narasimha Swamy on the banks of the great river Kanakabhaya. The deity here appears in “Soumya” or graceful form. As the Lord is seen with his consort, Mahalakshmi, he is known as Maalola Narasimha Swamy. The word Maalola is actually ‘Ramaalola’ which means the beloved to Mahalakshmi. It may be noted that the Vedadri hill in Upper Ahobalam area was designated as Lakshmi Kshetra by Lord Sri Maha Vishnu as he gave prominence to Mahalakshmi in this place.

The lord is seated here in the Sukhasana pose with his left leg folded while his right leg is at ease. The Lord’s two upper hands, right and left hold the Chakra and Shankha, respectively while the two lower hands show the Abhaya Hasta mudra and the other is around his Consort Mahalakshmi, with her hands, one in Kataka and the other in Prasarita Vama Hasta mudra, is shown seated on his lap.


This is about four kilometres from the Upper Ahobalam temple. The shrine of Jwala Narasimha Swamy lies higher up between the two hills, Garudachala and Vedachala and in a small mountain cave known traditionally as Achalachayya Meru. This place is said to be the actual spot where the fierce anger of the Lord reached its culmination when he tore open Hiranyakashyapu. The lord is seated over Garuda peeta. Lord Jwala Narasimha has eight hands; the upper two hold Chakra and Shankha. Two hands hold Hiranyakashyapu on the lap of the lord who is in the sukhasana pose with his left leg folded and the right leg at ease. His other hands are carrying various weapons of destruction and show tearing out the intestines of the demon to destroy him. Prahalada is in Anjali hasta pose to the right of the Lord.

To the right of Jwala Narasimha is Lord Narasimha with the Goddess Chenchu Lakshmi, who is carrying a sword and a shield. On the left is Lord Narasimha emerging out of the pillar ready to kill Hiranyakashyapu. These three comprise the main sanctum in the Jwala Narasimha Swamy temple.

Beside this shrine, there is a small pond known as “Raktha Kundam” where the Lord is believed to have washed His bloodstained hands. The water is reddish in colour and this was the explanation given by the guide to us.


It is situated six kilometres away from Upper Ahobalam towards northeast on the banks of River Pavana. It is difficult to approach this temple as wild animals keep roaming. If one wishes to visit this temple, he must do so during daytime with the help of a guide. The path is too narrow; the trek amidst cluster of rocks is strenuous. It takes about 45 minutes for trekking. One can view Maalola Narasimha sannidhi and few water falls on the way on the other side of the mountain. It is believed that devas offer worship to this Lord. The Lord is seen along with Chenchu Lakshmi Thayar. The local tribals usually observe fast on Saturdays and offer flowers, honey, fruits, rice, jaggery etc. to the Lord Narasimha. The general notion that “bali” (sacrifice) is done here to Chenchu Lakshmi by the tribals. Wild animals do not roam near the temple and only during severe summer, they come to the riverbank to quench their thirst. They usually do not hurt any one.


Situated at a distance of 8 kms from Upper Ahobalam is the pillar from which the Lord emerged. The pillar, which is situated at the edge of the cliff, is split into two as a proof that Lord appeared from this pillar. Pilgrims usually give their offerings here. It is very difficult to reach this place that is at a highest altitude. Doing pradakshinam around this pillar is even more difficult as it is in the cliff. Near the ukku sthambham (iron pillar) as the Telugus call, there is Lord’s Sri Paada. The climb is very difficult. Only with His grace can one visit this place. One has to have a sharp vision and a flexible body to bend, crawl etc.