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Temples in Andhra Pradesh

Andhra Pradesh has a rich mythological heritage and there are temples of several gods and goddesses almost throughout the state. All these temples are not only significant from their religios importance but are also great architectural set ups. Some are huge and richly decorated while others are small with simple decor, but invarianbly all speak volumes about the highly religious temperament of the people.

Annavaram Temple

The Procedure Of The Vratham:

Before the sankalpam (inauguration) the floor is cleaned with cow-dund, a square piece of new cloth is spread over it, after decorating it with muggulu with four of five colours. Rice is spread as a layer upon the cloth and a kalasam of silver, copper, brass or clay is kept and covered with mango leaves or betel leaves and a piece of new cloth. A small image of Lord Satyanarayana swamy made prerferably with gold or silver is kept on the cloth after abhishekam in panchamruham. Afterwards, Vighneswara, Lakshmi, Parvati, Siva, Navagrahas and Ashta Dikpalakas are worshipped in order. After wards Lord Satyanarayanaswamy is invoket and worshipped. The Satyanarayana prasadam prepared with plantains, cow's milk, cow's ghee, ravva of wheat or sojji and sugar or jaggery is offered to the Lord as naivedyam and distributed to the friends and relatives invited for this sacred vratham .The priest who conducts the puja is given dakshina. Satyanarayana Vratha Katha (legend about the efficacy of the vratham) is recited and listened to with rapt attention by all including those gathered to witness the vratham. It is said when one cannot perform the vratham, even witnessing the vratham, or listening to the story would remove the troubles and wash off the sins. The Satyanarayana Vrathams at the temple are generally commenced at 6-00a.m., and go on upto 6-00p.m., almost every day. On festival day vrathams have to be conducted even in the nights in spite of elaborate arrangements in spacious halls for as many as 1,500 vrathams at a time. The devotees, who want to perform vratham, pay the requisite fees for the Satyanarayana Vratham, purchase the tickets and get ready for the Satyanarayana Vratham. They are allowed one by one to the rows of seats in the vratha halls where everything is kept ready. A purohit, (or pujari) comes to each seat and attends to the reciting of the sankalpam (purpose of the vratham along with the name, gotram,etc., of the performer). After wards, the purohit stands at the head of the rows and dictates to the performers the detailed process with mantras, etc., as they go on doing the worship to his instruction. Thus the vratham or puja is conducted by batches of devotees at a time. This is a somewhat interesting feature here.

Arasavalli Temple(Surya Devalayam)

It is one of the ancient among two Sun God temples in our Country. According to Padmapuranam, Sage Kasyapa installed the Idol of Surya at Arasavalli for the Welfare of mankind. Therefore, the Surya is of Kasyapasa Gotra. He is also termed as planetary King. The ' Sthalapuranam ' of the temple narrates that lord Devendra had founded this temple and installed the existing idol of the sun God commonly known as Lord Suryanarayana Swamy Varu under the following circumstances.
Once Lord Devendra ignoring the words of Dwarapalaka Nandi, attempted to force his entry for Darshan of Sri Rudrakoteswara Swamy varu at an untimely hour when Lord siva was along with his consort. The Dwarapalaka Nandi in the discharge of his duties kicked the intruder. Thus kicked and injured by the Devine attendent Indra fell down senceless. And in his unconscious state Indra dreamt that he would be relieved of his pain of injury in his chest caused by Nandi if he built a temple and installed an Idol of the Sun God. After regaining his consciousness, he remembered what he dreamt.
Following his dream he pickedup handfulls of earth three times at a place where he lay,and there he found this beautiful idol of Sun God with his three consorts Usha, Chaya and Padmini. At the base of the idols are the figures of Mathara and Pingala the Dwarapalakas and high up are the two divine saints , sanaka and sanadana holding 'Chatrams'(An Umbrella). The Sun God is depicted as riding over a chariot drawn by Anura, the Radhasaradhy. All these figures are exquisitely carved out of a single black finely polished granite stone.

Badrachalam Temple

Bhadrachalam Temple is a Hindu temple of Lord Rama located in Andhra Pradesh, India. The area is called as Bhadrachalam and is the venue of grand celebrations on Rama Navami day, when the wedding anniversary of Lord Rama and his consort Sita, takes place with much fanfare.Two festivals are most important at Bhadrachalam: - Annual Kalyanotsavam on the eve of Sri Rama navami, during Sri Rama Navami(march-april) there is a huge influx of pilgrims not only from Andhra districts, but also from other distant places to attend the wedding of Lord Rama with Sita. - Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti). Sree Seetaramachandra swamy wil give darshan through the Vaikuntha dwaram on the eve of Mukkoti(December-January).

Basara Temple

Gnana Saraswati Temple is a Hindu temple of Goddess Saraswati located on the banks of Godavari River at Basar. It is one of the two famous Saraswati temples in India, the other being in Jammu & Kashmir. Saraswati is the Hindu Goddess of Knowledge and Learning. Children are brought to the temple for the learning ceremony called as Akshara abyasam.



Dwaraka Tirumala Temple

Dwaraka Tirumala is a village and a mandal in West Godavari district in the state of Andhra Pradesh in India. It is famous for temple of the Lord Venkateswara. Dwaraka Tirumala is located about 40 kilometres from the west Godavari district headquarters, Eluru. This is also called as 'Chinna Tirupathi'. Dwaraka Tirumala is an ancient holy place and a popular pilgrim center in Andhra Pradesh of South India. Dwaraka Tirumala is nearer to Eluru, the head quarters of West Godavari District, which is 42 KM away from Eluru. Dwaraka Tirumala is situated at 15KM distance from Bhimadole Junction, which is in between Vijayawada and Rajahmundry State Highway and Vijayawada, Visakhapatnam main Railway line.

Kanakadurga Temple

Kanaka Durga Temple is a famous Hindu Temple of Goddess Kanaka Durga located in Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is located on the Indrakeeladri hill, on the banks of Krishna River. Kanaka Durga Temple is synonymous with Vijayawada. It is mentioned in the sacred texts.This is the place where Arjuna obtained the Pasupatha astra after his great penance for Lord Shiva. The temple was constructed for Goddess Durga by Arjuna. It is connected by steps and a ghats road.The temple occupies an important place in the scriptures as several of the Siva-leelas and Shakti-mahimas were enacted on or around it, making the region a place of unequaled spiritual significance and attracting pilgrims since time immemorial.It is mentioned in the Vedas that the deity in the Kanakadurga temple is regarded as 'Swayambhu' or self-manifested, hence considered very powerful.

Lepakshi Temple

Among the most famous pilgrim centers of South India. Lepakshi Temple is located 124 kms from Ananthapur. It is renowned for the Lord Veerabhadra Temple. Which is a sterling example of the Vijayanagara style of architecture . Built in 1530 AD, it is famed for a huge 100-pillared dance hall, adorned with exquisite sculptures, which has a 21' high dome reminiscent of a giant lotus. One can see a life-size granite sculpture of Veerabhadra, a giant monolith of Nanandi as well as carvings of Naga linga, flying Gandharvas, Ganesha etc. The 10-day Asvayuja Masam festival celebrated in February attracts tourists from far and wide. Special pujas are conducted every Monday.

Mahanandi Temple

Mahanandi Temple is located to the east of Nallamala hill ranges in Kurnool District, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is a picturesque village surrounded by thick forests. About 15 km radius from Mahanandi, you can see nine Nandis known as "Navanandis" and Mahanandi is one of the Nava Nandis. The Mahanandiswara Swamy Temple, an important shrine, is located here. A famous festival is held here annually during February and March to celebrate Shivaratri.Mahanandi is about 16 km from Nandyal. The nearest airport is at Hyderabad, which is about 219 km from Kurnool, and the nearest railway station is at Nandyal.The ancient temple dates back over 1,500 years. The inscriptions of 10th century tablets speak of the temple being repaired and rebuilt through successive ages by many kings.

The temple is famous for its fresh water pools. The architecture of the temple water pools and the temple is a testimony for Vishwakarma Brahmins in planning the architecture for the pools and sculpting this temple.The main temple is surrounded by three pools: two small pools at the entrance and one big pool inside the temple premise. This Holy tank is 60 square feet (5.6 m2) with a Mantapa in the centre. The inlets and outlets of the tank are arranged so that the depth of the water is constantly kept at five feet, thus enabling all pilgrims to bathe.

Mantralayam

Mantralayam is a town in Kurnool district in Andhra Pradesh, India. It lies on the banks of the Tungabhadra river. This town is noted for the holy presence of the Brundavanam of Guru Raghavendra Swami, a Madhwa saint and follower of Sri Madhwacharya.It is believed that sri guru raghavendra swami is in the brundavanam from the past 337 years and is believed to be in the brundavanam for another 363 years as said by the swamiji himself while entering the brundavanam that he will be in the brundavanam for 700 years. Thousands of pilgrims visit Mantralayam every year. It is around 100 kilometers.

Pancharama

Pancharama is the name given to those five temples which are dedicated to Lord Shiva. These places are distributed over three districts, East Godavari, West Godavari and Guntur of Andhra Pradesh in India. All Hindus consider visiting these temples as very sacred. Pancha means five and Aarama is peace. Aarama is something related to Buddhism which is actually aims at pleasant state of mind. So Pancharama means five pleasant and peaceful places. The second story begins from Hiranya Kashipu and his son Simuchi. The son of Simuchi, Tharakasura worships Lord Shiva and gets his Atma Linga. Then, Tharakasura starts troubling people and Devatas. As per blessings, Tharakasura dies only by a boy. Devatas go to Lord Shiva to find solution for finding a solution to punish Tharakasura. Lord Kumara Swamy Avtar thus happens and and boy kills Tharakasura. After when Tharakasura dies, the Athmalinga gets divided into five. Each one gets installed by Devatas in five different places. These places are called Pancharama Kshetras. Below are the details of Pancharama Kshetras and the five faces of Lord Shiva :

1. Amararama is installed at Amaravati in Guntur district of Andhrapradesh. The name of Lord Shiva is Amareshwarudu and considered incarnated as, Aghorarupam, installed by Lord Indra.

2. Draksharama is located at Draksharamam in East Godavari District of Andhrapradesh. The lord Eshwara is called Bhimeshwarudu (Daksharama) and seen as Thatpurusha Mukha Swarupam.

3. Kumararama is located at Samalkot, East Godavari District of Andhra Pradesh. The temple is called with same name as Daksharamam - Bheemeshwarudu. But Lord Shiva is seen here as Vamadeva Mukha Swaroopam. This Shiva linga is installed by Kumara Swamy.

4. Somarama is at Bheemavaram situated in West Godavari district of Andhrapradesh. Lord Eswara is called Someshwarudu (Somarama) in this temple and considered as Sadyojatha Mukha Swarupam, Siva linga is installed by Lord Chandra.

5. Ksheeraramam is situated at Palakollu, West Godavari Districtof Andhra Pradesh. Rama Lingeshwarudu (Kshirarama) is the name given to the Lingam installed in this place and Lord shiva is Eshanya Mukha Swarupam, installed by Sri Rama.

There is a saying that all these temples are installed by Gods (Devatas) and visiting all in one day (especially during Karthika Masam, i.e., during November-December month) is very sacred

Simhachlam temple

Simhadri or Simhachalam temple is a Hindu temple located near Visakhapatnam in Andhra Pradesh, South India. It is dedicated to the incarnation (avatar) of Vishnu known as Narasimha . Simhachalam temple is situated 16 km from Vizag among thickly wooded hills. The beautifully-carved 16-pillared Natya mantapa and the 96-pillared Kalyana mantapa bear testimony to the architectural brilliance of the temple. The image of the presiding deity, Sri Lakshminarasimha Swamy, is covered by a thick layer of sandalwood paste.

Sri Raja Rajeshwara Temple

Sri Raja Rajeshwara Kshetram (holy place) is one of the most sacred spots in the southern part of the India. There are many evidences of inscriptions on stone to provide information of historical, political, religious, cultural and greatness of this holy place. The greatness of this sacred place came with the very existence of Sri Raja Rajeshwara swamy Suyambulingam, which is ancient than the Vemulawada village.



Srisailam Temple

Srisailam is a holy town and Mandal, situated in Nallamala hills of Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh, India. It is 232 km south of Hyderabad, on the banks of River Krishna. A famous temple dedicated to Lord Mallikarjuna Swamy and Bhramaramba is located here.

The temple is one of the 12 hallowed jyotirlingas; Lord Rama himself installed the Sahasralinga, while the Pandavas lodged the Panchapandava lingas in the temple courtyard.

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