Monday, August 26, 2019

Nagalapuram, Vedanarayana Temple - One of the Two temples in the World where we can see Lord Vishnu in Matsya Avatar

This temple is one of the very rare temple. Sri vedanarayana or Matsya narayana temple is a temple dedicated to Lord vishnu in the form of Matsya ( fish ) avatar and is referred as matsya narayana or veda narayana. There are very less temples for this avatar ones including the Shankhodara temple in Bet Dwarka and Vedanarayana Temple in Nagalapuram. Another temple in Koneswaram Matsyakeswaram temple in Trincomalee,srilanka is now destroyed. Matsya Narayana Temple, Bangalore also exists. Here we can see lord vishnu in matsya avatar. The upper half is a four armed man and the lower half is a fish. The upper half represents Lord vishnu. The temple is around 70kms from tirupthi and is on the way to surutapalli. This temple can be visited after the Narayanavanam temple.

Astronomical marvel - The temple is famous for Surya pooja utsavam and is considered as an astronomical marvel. During the days of march 26,27 and 28 the sun rays travel a distance of 360 feet starting from temple tower towards the garbha griha in the evening from 6:00 pm to 6:15 pm. On the first day the rays stop on the foot of deity, second day on the navel and third day on the crown.

Temple History - Mythology says that Lord vishnu waged a relentless war to get back the vedas. It is said that the load vishnu is in frozen state due to his long time stay on water. the temple is the representation of the matsya avatar. This is an ancient stone temple built either by cholas or pallavas. there are many beautiful sculptures around the huge pillars around the prakaram.

The story of matsya avatar is, Along with Brahma, the creator and Shiva, the destroyer, Lord Vishnu is one of the three main male deities in Hinduism and they are together known as the TRIMURTI. Being a part of the Trinity, He has taken ten incarnations and the ten Avatars of Lord Vishnu or the Dashavatara are the several forms He took whenever the universe was in turmoil. Each of Vishnu’s Avatars had the same purpose which they achieved by different means. This divine purpose was the restoration of Dharma or righteousness and to save the planet and the good people from the hands of evils, demons or Asuras.

It is said that, during the Satya Yuga, the people on earth had become irreligious and disorderly in the way they lived their lives. This is when the Gods collectively decided to flood the earth and prepare it for the process of renovation. Lord Brahma, the creator, had been given the guidelines to remodel the earth by Lord Vishnu. These guidelines were the Vedas, the four principle books of Hinduism. Lord Brahma decided to rest before this grand task as he was quite tired from the process of creation.At this time, a horse-headed demon named Hayagriva ( not to be confused with Lord Hayagriva, the avatar of Vishnu who is considered as a symbol of wisdom and knowledge) came out of Brahma’s nose and stole the Vedas from him. 

The demon Hayagriva with the face of a horse, who stole the Vedas from Brahma, the creator and had disappeared into the oceans. During those times, there was a highly virtuous and pious king named Satryavrata or Vaivasvata Manu who ruled over the southern part of the Bharatvarsha.

One day, the king went to Krithamala River to do his morning prayers. When he took some water from the river in his cupped palms, he found a tiny fish in it. When he wanted to drop the fish in the waters, it requested him to give shelter for fear of being eaten away by bigger fishes in the river. The King obliged and carried the fish to his palace and dropped it in a vessel.

With the fish growing in size rapidly, Vaivasvata Manu had to change the container to bigger ones, finally when none of the containers was enough to contain the fish, it was eventually transferred to a pond, then to a lake , then to river Ganges and then finally to the ocean. The fish was growing even bigger in the ocean and once it thanked Vaivasvata Manu for giving shelter till then and assured the king that it would appear back after a while to rescue the king from the great floods.

Meanwhile, the fish instructed the king to collect the best of seeds from the flora and the best of representatives from fauna. It also advised that a huge ship be built and kept in ready condition. The great floods started swallowing the earth. The King had by then gathered all the collected seeds and representatives in the huge ship. The huge fish Matsya Avatar appeared and brought with it the huge snake Vasuki.

The ship with Manu and his collections aboard was tied to the horn of the fish with the snake Vasuki. The fish swam over the floods pulling the ship to safety reaching the top of the Mighty Himalayas. All through the voyage, the Fish discoursed the King on the entire gamut of Sacred literature.

Once the great floods subsided, the demon Hayagriva was exposed. Matsya killed him and rescued the Vedas handing them over once again to Brahma. All the seeds gathered in the ship were thrown on the earth. All the representatives of the different animal species started procreating once again.

As the flood swept over the land, Manu asked Vishnu why mankind had to meet such a deadly fate to which Matsya Vishnu told Manu that he was the only moral man alive and that he would be the father of the future generations of men.

Vaivasvata Manu performed a huge sacrifice or Yajna to propitiate the gods. With the blessings of the gods, a beautiful damsel named Ida appeared from the fire and married Manu. Both of them gave rise to the human race once again.
August 26, 2019

Surutapalli - Only Place in World Where we can see Lord Shiva in Human Form

An extraordinary temple in the whole world. Lord shiva in human form and that to 12 feet. The presiding deity is pallikondeswara, unlike other Siva temples we can see Lord shiva in reclining posture in the lap of his consort Parvati. One important thing is that this temple is on the borders of andhra pradesh and tamilnadu, though in andhra pradesh the temple follows tamilnadu timings which means temple will be closed by 1:00 PM and reopen at 4:00 PM. So plan accordingly.

Palli kondeswara translates to reclining deity. Lord shiva as palli kondeswara is seen as reclining posture in the lap of his consort parvati as sarva mangalambika. This is typically in the form of ranganatha swamy form of lord vishnu. This deity is also called as bhoga sayana Siva build during the period of krishnadevaraya.

During the samudra manthan ( Churning of the ocean for amrutam ) by the gods and demons for amritham, first the poison halahala rose from the ocean. The poison was killing the world, in order to save the world from poison, shiva consumed it. When the poison was going down the throat of shiva, his consort parvati stopped it by tightly holding shiva throat. It made shiva neck blue. After this lord shiva proceeded to kailash with parvati. On the way he felt exhausted and when he reached this place he lied relaced, keeping his head on the lap of parvati. The gods who were concerned about shiva well-being assembled there and stood around him waiting for the Lord to open his eyes. Surya and Chandra are present on the either side of Goddess Parvati. Many others including Lord Vishnu, Lord Brahma, Goddess Laxmi, Sage Maarkandeya, Sage Agasthya, Valmiki, Indra, Sage Naradha, Lord Subramaniya  with His consort and Lord Ganapati are also present in the temple.

Another important thing with this temple is that we can Lord dakshinamurthy along with his wife. This is the only temple in the whole world where we can see Dakshinamurthy along with his wife. Dakshinamurthy is an aspect of Lord Shiva as the supreme teacher who transmits divine knowledge to the world.

Once we enter the temple, we can find the temples of Valmikeshwara ( Sage Valmiki ) and goddess Marahathambihai ( Goddess parvati ), on the left side and the main temples on the right side. It is said that we must visit these first then go to the main idol. The garbha griha is guarded by Lord Kubera (God of wealth) with his consort Sanganidhi on left side and with his another consort Padumanidhi on the right side.

Sunday, August 11, 2019

August 11, 2019

Kalyana Venkateswara Temple, Narayanavanam - Place Where Divine Couple Married

Kalyana venkateswara swamy temple in Narayanavanam is very important temple surrounding Lord venkateswara marriage. Narayanavanam is the capital of King akasaraja , who is ruling the region. Akasaraja performed the marriage of his daughter padmavathi with Lord venkateswara. 

The temple is located at around 40 km from Tirupati. The temple is called as narayana puram in puranas and narayanam during the pallavas region. 

Akasa raju was born in narayanavanam who was childless. Tondaman chakravarty was his brother. Akasa raju wanted to perform a yagna for children. Tondaman chakravarty found the baby padmavathi in a thousand petalled lotuses. So he thought that it was no longer necessary to perform yagna and took the baby home. She grew up as padmavati devi and later married to Lord venkateswara.

All the three crores of deities came to see the marriage celebrations of Lord venkateswara. Shiva and his ganas came to the marriage and chose to reside in sadasiva kona, kaila sanadha kona, ramagiri and surutapalli.

Lord Srinivasa and his mother vakula matha obtained land and build ashrama and lived there. One day an angry elephant created havoc on the ashrama. Lord srinivasa got on to the back of a wild horse and chased the elephant. The elephant made him trail to the flower garden which was far away on the outskirts of narayanapuram or narayanavanam where he saw padmavathi devi taking a stroll in the garden.

Lord venkateswara and padmavathi devi fell in love with each other. Vakula devi negotiated, sage narada mediated and swami himself went in the guise of an erukulasani, a soothsayer to the king quarters.  With the money of 14 crores which lord borrowed from kubera , things moved quickly and marriage was set. Akasaraju was the first one to build the temple over here. This place also contains temple of Vakula devi, mother of Lord venkateswara.
August 11, 2019

Japali Theertham - Hanuman Temple Even Before Hanuman Birth

It is said that it is very hard for any tree to grow under the banyan tree, similarly there are many temples near and in Tirumala which needs more recognition. One such temple is the Japali theertham. 

The Hanuman temple at Japali theertham is the least known temple in Tirumala. This is one of the most worthy places to visit in Tirumala.  The temple exists around 5 kms from Tirumala on the way to Papanasam. After a KM trek in the woods we reach the Temple complex with a large pushkarini before that. The temple is located 3 kms for gogarbham Dam. Before this temple we have Venu gopala swamy temple where we can see a large rush. Most people visit this temple and Japali theertham is very near to this temple. 

The idol in this temple is said to be set even before lord hanuman was born. Japali a saint worshipped lord vishnu and requested to see him in form of vanara avatar ( hanuman ) even before Ram avatar. The idol in the temple is said to be before Rama avatar.  As said there is a Pushkarini called rama kund before the temple. This place is believed to be blessed by lord hanuman as he himself find peace at this place.

At the temple premises we can see different type of squirrel called as “betluoodthalu” which can be seen only at this temple. I don't know what they are called in english but inever saw anything like these.

Monday, January 14, 2019

January 14, 2019

Vontimitta - Rama Temple with no Hanuman

A Unique temple where all deities are carved on a single stone. The main deity rama, seeta and lakshmana idols are carved on a single stone.  It is said that the idols are set by Jambavanta himself. 

One important thing about this is that the temple does not have any carvings of lord hanuman. The temple is build around chola and vijayanagara empires during 16th century. One more important thing is that Bammera Potana who lived in vontimitta wrote his magnum opus Maha Bhagavatham in telugu and dedicated to rama over here. While writing Bhagavatham here Bammera potana could not finish some of the poems and lord rama himself came and finished the rest.

January 14, 2019

Gudimallam - Unique Shiva Lingam

Gudimallam is a small village located in chittoor district of andhra pradesh. This is located 11 km to renigunta railway station and 22 km from tirupati. This temple is considered to be one of the oldest temples standing in india now.

Though this is a small village and not known to many people, the is historically very important due to the shiva linga inside the temple. The deity here is called as "parasuramaswara swamy". The temple is said to be constructed around 3rd century but no date is available regarding the lingam inside the temple as well as who built that. More details about the deity is available at the Chandragiri fort in chittoor.

The shrine unlike many shiva temples is not a shiva lingam here but rather the god is taken the form of human. The figure of Siva carved on the linga resembles a vigorous hunter. The linga is carved out of a brown color stone which is 5 feet tall and 1 foot in thickness. A beautiful two handed image of Shiva in sthanaka posture is carved in high relief. On the front portion of the Linga God is standing on the shoulders of a pasmarapurusha or a dwarf. The Deity holds a ram in his right hand and a small vessel in his left hand. There is a battle axe (Parasu) resting on his left shoulder. His head is adorned with Jatas arranged in the Jatabhara fashion. He wears a number of rings in his ears and a unique girdle with a dangling central portion. The male image in front of the linga wears a dhoti fastened at his waist with a vastra-mekhala which covers whole linga, but is transparent.

We can also see the statue of Lord Surya idol in this temple premises. Some of the corrop coins obtained at ujjain belonging to the 3rd century contains figure resembles the linga of gudimallam. A 1st century sculpture in the Mathura museum also contains a figure resembling the Gudimallam shiva lingam.

Sunday, January 13, 2019

January 13, 2019

Avancha Ganapathi - A Single stone carved Ganapathi

Just 12km from the highway and 105km from Hyderabad, there exists a 30 feet ishwarya ganapthi idol in Avancha also called avancha ganapthi.

Avancha, a small village in timmogipeta, Mahbubnagar is under the rule of chanikya and chola empires for some time. There are many ruins of temples that still exist until today. It is said that there are 4 palaces that used to exist in this village. There are many ruins of temples, forts and many other things. It is also said that few of the ruins are built by the lineage of the great sculptor Amarashilpi jakanachari. Besides the Ganesh Idol, there are 12 other temples that make avancha a piligram place as well as tourist spot. Kedernath temple, raja gopuram, ranganayakula swamy temple, bramarambha temple, hanuman temple, siva and hanuman temple, lord venketeswara temple are still done with puja every day.

Besides all these temples, Ganesha idol is the one that attracts huge people from all around India. The idol was build to an extent by king Tailavudu in the year 1140 AD. While building this idol, the king received a message that he lost his father and the king left. He never returned and it is not completed as planned. 

Branarambha temple is another very powerful temple in this village. it is said that the idol is self-existing.