Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy- Mangalagiri

The following Temple story has to be the most interesting stories so far. I am talking about Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple in Mangalagiri. This place is 10kms from Vijayawada and is in Guntur District of Andra Pradesh. There are two Narasimha Swamy temples here. One on the Mangalagiri hills and the other at the bottom of the hill. The Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple on the hill is known as ‘Panaka’ Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy, while the temple at the bottom is known as Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple. In Panaka Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple, there are no idols here. A Wall of a rock has an opening at the centre that resembles an open mouth is revered as Panaka Narasimha Swamy. The entire thing looks like a beautiful painting of Narasimha Swamy extended on the wall, keeping the opening as the mouth.

Panaka is a sweet drink, which is made out of sugarcane juice sugar & jaggery (sugar made out of sugarcane) different variations also exists. This drink is made on different occasions such as Ugadhi, Shivarathri, etc. The lord Narasimha Swamy here is popularly known as Panaka Swamy. He got this name ‘coz it is the favorite drink of this lord here. Panaka are offered to lord as ‘Naivaidhyam’ every single day. The specialty and the unbelievable thing here is whenever Panaka is offered to the lord and irrespective of the quantities offered, only equal half of the drink comes out from the other end, the other half is drunk by the lord himself. Also, one can here the gulping sounds as Panaka is pored it in to the openings through a conch. Only when the gulping sound is stopped, the remaining Panaka comes out from the other end. This Panaka is the ‘prasadam’ and is offered to the devotees. Ants, house flies and other flies are usually attracted to sweets and sweet drinks. However, there are no ants or flies in this temple in spite of spilling of huge quantities of Panaka, sugar and other ingredients on the Temple floor. Only when the world ends is when ants and flies are attracted to the sugar, this is the popular belief here.
Managalagiri this place is one of the 8 important Mahakshetrams (sacred places) in India. The eight places where Lord Vishnu manifested himself are (1) Sri Rangam (2) Srimushnam (3) Naimisam (4) Pushkaram (5) Salagamdri (6) Thothadri (7) Narayanasramam (8) Venkatadri. Thothadri is the present Mangalagiri. Managalagiri is also known by several names such as stutadri, mukyadhi, and dharmadhi. Hasthadri, mangaladri. Vedavyasa has made references of this place in many puranas. Bhrmavartha Purana is one puranas that has references of this place. The lord here is worshipped from Krutha Yuga to till this date.

The temple has a very interesting story to it. There was a demon by the name ‘Namuchi’ he tormented people of all lokas. So, Brahma-the creator of the universe along with the rest of the gods and goddess approached Maha Vishnu-the protector of the universe for a solution. Narasimha Swamy an incarnation of Vishnu attempted to kill the demon with his Sudarshana Chakra. However, the demon Namuchi escaped and took refuge at the MangalaGiri hills. He camouflaged as an insect and hid between the rocks by digging a hole on the ground to escape the ire of Narasimha Swamy. The witty lord realized this and closed the hole thereby suffocating the demon. The demon eventually died of lack of oxygen. The angry lord opened his mouth and got frozen as a rock. All the gods and goddess tried their best to subdue lord’s anger. Narasimha swamy instructed them to offer drinks thru’ this opening. From then on People and every one started poring drinks to the lord. Hence the practice of poring drinks in to the mouth came in to existence. It is believed that people offered Honey, Ghee, Milk and now Panaka in Sat Yuga, Treta Yuga, Dwapara Yuga and the current Kali Yuga, respectively.

The Temple down the hill is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. When Lakshmi was created while churning the milk ocean; gods and goddess built a pond here and brought water from all the holiest rivers all over. The Pond was later used by Mahalakshmi to bathe everyday. Goddess Lakshmi took bath, penance and meditated on Vishnu thereby sacrificing her life for Vishnu. Mahalakshmi in this temple is known as Rajalakshmi. All the rituals are carried out as per Vaishnava agamana shastra. Prayers are offered trice a day. On special days such as Narasimha Jayanthi, Vaikunta Ekadhasi, Rathsapthami, Ugadhi etc special poojas are offered.

Pond to correct an architecture errors

The Temples
Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu and Krishna Devaraya erected the temple towers.   Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu’s temple tower is 153 feet high and 49 feet in breath, has 11 floors and faces east and was built between 1807 and 1809.  The tower, built in just two years was slanting on the west side. To correct this error, after consulting with the architects and sculptors the king decided to dig a pond of 153 depth and of same breath as that of the tower in the east side to the tower. By doing so, the error was corrected. The pond became famous. The pond here is known as chekadu koneru (dark pond) Krishna Devaraya built front part of the temple. One can see the difference in the architecture. This temple is one of the fascinating temples in India. 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.

Temple Towers

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