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Panakala Narasimha Temple: Architecture, Legends, Festivals, Interesting Facts, Timings, And How To Reach

India is a land of temples and they are believed to be a very powerful and divine structure. are They have tremendous significance in this country and have miraculous anecdotes of their own.

One such temple is the Panaka Narasimha Temple in Mangalagiri, which is also known as Bhimadri andnamed after the valiant Bhima (one of the Pandavas) who is known to have worshipped here.. It is a town, which is 17kms from Vijayawada city in Andhra Pradesh.

Mangalagiri, when translated literally, means "the Divine Hill." This hill is home to the three most popular temples that gather huge crowds on all days. Of these, one located at the top is called Panakala Narasimha Temple sports 153 feet tall and 49 feet wide gopuram. Only Lord Narasimha's mouth which opens to about 15 cm receives an offering of Panaka in the mouth of its rock-cut image. The other temple located at the bottom is named Gandala Narasimha Temple, both of which record a huge number of footfalls.

At Gandala, you cannot find a deity installed in the sanctum. There are only lit lamps that are visible from many nearby villages, which are effective in burning all your sorrows. At the foot of the hill, you can sight the. Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple where the garland of swami has 108 salagramas and a special conch. This temple flaunts an 11-storey Raja Gopuram.

Mangalagiri (Auspicious hill) (Totadri hill) is one of the 8 important mahakshetrams of Lord Vishnu in India. People who approach this temple pray for fame, removal of infections, affluence, relief from malefic planetary influences and relief from oppression. People who suffer from miseries visit the Gandala temple to light a lamp with cow ghee which is believed to ward off all troubles of the devotees.

This temple is one of the eight temple series where Lord Vishnu is believed to have manifested himself. They are (1) Sri Rangam (2) Sri Mushnam (both in Tamilnadu) (3) Naimisaranya (Uttarpradesh) (4) Pushkar (Rajasthan) (5) Salagramadri (in Nepal) (6)Narayanasram (Badari- Uttarakhand) and (8) Venkatadri (Tirupati in Andhrapradesh). This is one of the Panchanarasimhar kshetram (Vedadri, Vadapalli, Mattapalli, Mangalagiri, Ketavaram).

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Architecture

Climbing a serpentine staircase, you will reach the small temple on the hill. The ghat road constructed in 2004 aids the pilgrims in their upward climb. God is self-existent but he does not exist as Archa Vigraham here. The idol is strictly meant for worship inside the sanctum. A tall Dhwajastambham is found facing the temple. All you can see here is the wide open mouth of the Lord, which opens to a height of 15 cm. This is covered by a metal face of Lord Narasimha for the devotees to recognize the Lord by his form.

The temple is believed to have existed in all four yugas. The Lord took Amrutam (nectar) which gave him cool comfort in Krithayugam. As per the dictum of the Lord, he is satisfied with the ghee offering in Threthayugam with the milk offering in Dwaparayugam and with Panakam (Jaggery water)offering in Kaliyugam.

Behind the main temple, one can sight the Goddess Lakshmi Devi temple. To the west of the temple, you can find a tunnel that ends at Undavalli on the banks of River Krishna. It is believed that this path paved the way to River Krishna, which Maharshis used to pass through the tunnel. As per the legends, this temple was consecrated by Yudhishtara-the eldest of the Pandavas.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Beliefs And Legends

In Treta Yuga, the souls after attaining heaven did not want to be reborn on earth once their punya sources were depleted. So, Indra asked them to worship the God at Mangalgiri to stay at the heavens. Mangalagiri is was known as Anjanadri in Krita Yuga, Thotadri in Treta Yuga, Mangaladri and Mukthyadri in Dvapara Yuga and Mangalagiri in Kali Yuga. Vaikhanasa Maharshi stayed here to do his tapas in Mangalagiri. Also, when Lord Rama was about to leave to Vaikuntha, he blessed Maruti or Lord Hanuman with immortality as a response to which, Lord Hanuman stayed back as Kshetrapalaka of this hill. Srirama Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Narasimha Jayanti, Vaikunta Ekadashi are celebrated here on a grand scale.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Legend Associated With The Elephant-shaped hill

Emperor Pariyatra had an abnormal child whom he had named Hrasva Srungi. He visited many shrines to get a normal appearance to his body but to no avail. He finally resorted to Mangalagiri which he visited and stayed on for three years to perform penance to Lord Vishnu. He was advised by all gods to stay back at Mangalagiri and continue his penance which he did. When his father came to take him back to his kingdom, Hrasva Srungi refused and assumed the shape of a rock elephant in order to become the abode of Lord Vishnu. Hence the shape of this hill, from all directions, looks like an elephant.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Legend Associated With Lord Vishnu Avatar

Lord Vishnu in his Narasimha avatar, set out to destroy the Namuchi demon who, in order to escape Lord's wrath, turned into an ant and hid in a small crevice there. Lord Narasimha closed the crevice thus suffocating the demon to his doom.

Lord Narasimha's anger was still not abated and his face transformed into a rock. He could not be calmed by any divine interference. Then Lord Narasimha asked to be given honey during Satya Yuga, Ghee in Treta Yuga, Milk in Dwapara yuga and Panaka during Kali yuga respectively. It is believed that the day ants surface in this temple, the world would end the same day.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Festivals

Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Brahmothsavam is very elaborately celebrated as this is believed to have begun by Dharmaraja at the advice of Lord Krishna. Pradyumna requested Krishna to celebrate his birthday for seven days starting from Phalguna Suddha Sapthami which Lord Krishna entrusted to Dharmaraja, to continue with this trend. This festival is celebrated for 11 days starting from the Gregorian months of February and continuing till March).

On Chaturdasi, Santha Narasimha Swamy's marriage with Sridevi and Bhoodevi is celebrated. Agama methods are followed during worship. Just before the marriage rituals begin, Chenchus celebrate the marriage of Narasimha Swamy with their daughter Chenchu Lakshmi. Swamy comes with Adisesha on that night to participate in Eduru Kola. The next day, the holi festival is celebrated on a grand scale. People celebrate Tirunalla on Holi during which about 1,00,000 people, from all over, assemble. The Lord is pulled on a huge chariot all around the town and then safely returned to his sanctum.

Srirama Navami, Hanumajayanthi, Narasimhajayanthi, Vaikunta Ekadasi, and Mahasivarathri are observed in a grand manner. On Mahshivaratri, Lord has ushered in a small chariot around the city.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Timings

The temple doors open at 5 am and shuts finally at 8.30 PM. In between the temple, pujaris perform different kinds of seva and puja. If you wish to offer Panaka to the deity you have to be present between 7:00 am to 3.30 pm.

  • Panaka Nivedana starts at 7:00 am and ends at 3:30 pm.
  • Avasara Nivedana starts at 12:00 pm.
  • Maha Nivedana begins at 3:30 pm.
  • Nijaroopa Darshan occurs at 6 am on Every Ekadasi day.

Coupons are purchased for the Panaka worship. The Panaka prasadam is distributed in a separate enclosure. Several pots full of Panaka are distributed in tumblers and bottles to devotees. The best time to visit this place is between October to March. Summer would be just too scorching. There is no specific dress code. Devotees are advised to dress appropriately.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: Interesting Facts/Miracles Surrounding The Temple

  • The hill itself is shaped like an elephant and the temple is at the mouth of this elephantine hill.
  • Ksheera Vruksham of the famous Milk tree confers progeny to those who wish for a child.
  • Gopuram of the temple is as tall as 153 feet and wide as 49 feet .
  • The temple tank is fondly termed as Lakshmi Pushkarini. As per the scriptures, when Goddess Lakshmi was about to be married to Lord Vishnu, she bathed in the holy waters of this pond that combined the waters from all holy rivers of the land.

Every day at Panaka Narasimha Temple, the deity accepts only half of what you offer, irrespective of the quantity you offer. If you offer 1 litre of Panakam, the priest pours it into the mouth of the lord along with some mantra chants. Exactly half of what you poured comes out from the deity's mouth which is given away as prasad. Also, when the Archakas offer the Panakam, you hear a gurgling sound which rises to a high pitch and then goes inaudible when the offering is completely consumed.

Not even a single ant can be traced in or around this huge jaggery potion that is offered to God. Not even a housefly or an ant visits this place despite the huge deposits of Jaggery lying around. This miracle keeps happening throughout the day. The temple is open only till the afternoon as it is believed that night puja will be done by Gods who visit this temple at night.

As per the scientists, the Vijayawada-Guntur region of Andhra Pradesh is a seismically active zone which was once an active volcanic area. Sugar or Jaggery nullifies the effect of Sulfur compounds of the volcano hence preventing a volcanic eruption. Probably our ancestors knew about this and have continued the procedure until now.

There is no idol in the temple. The face of Lord Narasimha is carved on a rock with a wide-open mouth with a golden mask on the carving. Photography is not allowed. Only a painting replica of the god is provided for purpose of photographing the deity.

Panakala Narasimha Temple: How To Reach

By Air- The temple is 35 kms away from the Vijayawada International AirportBy Rail- It has a railway station in Guntur Vijayawada section of Guntur. Taxi and auto services can be availed from here.

By Road- By road, Mangalagiri is connected on National Highway No.5 with Kolkata and Chennai. Situated on the Guntur-Vijayawada Road, 13 kms to the south-east of Vijayawada and 21 kms to the north-east of Guntur City, it can be reached through road transport by buses that ply from either Vijayawada or Guntur or Tenali.

Disclaimer: The information is based on assumptions and information available on the internet and the accuracy or reliability is not guaranteed. Boldsky does not confirm any inputs or information related to the article and our only purpose is to deliver information. Kindly consult the concerned expert before practising or implementing any information and assumption.

Image sources: Wikimedia Commons

Story first published: Thursday, November 17, 2022, 17:08 [IST]
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