OLD COUPLES YATRA TO HOLY HILLS (6)
AHOBILAM SALAGRAM SHILA - MAY LAKSHMI NARASIMHA BLESS ALL OF US
At the time of our visit to Malola Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy, the priest is offering naivedyam to the Lord. We sat there silently till the curtain is opened and had the darshan and prasadam of the Lord. Having very much tired of the trekking journey, climbing up and down the steps from Jwala Narasimhaswamy temple to this temple, we sat there for about 10 minutes and started our jouney. After climbing down about 100 steps, it is stated that one has to travel half a km to and fro for reaching the place where Chandamarka school(where boy Prahlada studied) is located. But we decided to skip the same as we are fully exhausted. We directly proceeded to the temple of Ahobila Narasimhaswamy via the temple of Kroda Varaha Narasimhaswamy and from there to the Brahmana Nityannadana Satram. After taking lunch in the choultry we proceeded to Lower Ahobilam and to our rooms. It is about 3 pm. After taking a brief rest, we decided to proceed further to Cuddapah continuing our onward journey.
We started at 3-30 pm and reached Cuddapah by 6 pm and stayed in Blue Diamond Lodge and took rest for the day.
27th JANUARY, 2010 - WEDNESDAY
HERANYANAGARAM/GADAPA/CUDDAPAH/KADAPA - This is a very ancient and beautiful town. Originally known as Heranyanagaram, it is the gateway to the Holy Hills Tirumala and hence it is known as Devuni Gadapa i.e., the threshold to the temple of Lord Venkateswara at Tirumala. Here is a temple of Lord Venkateswara. There was an old belief that pilgrims to Tirumala temple, first visit the temple of Lord Venkateswara situated in Kadapa and then proceed to Tirumala. The Nizam ceded the area to British and they named the town as Cuddapah. Later on, the Government changed the pronunciation to Kadapa in accordance with telugu pronunciation. The City is surrounded on three sides by Nallamalai and Palakonda Hills, which are part of Eastern Ghats.
LORD VENKATESWARA SWAMY OF DEVUNI GADAPA
Starting at 7-30 am we first proceeded to the temple of Lord Venkateswara Swamy situated in Devuni Kadapa area. At the time of our visit the priests are worshipping the Lord with the curtain on. After 10 minutes, there was a special pooja in the temple of Goddess and we first had the darshan of Goddess Padmavati and we performed archana. Later we had the darshan of Lord Venkateswara Swamy. It is stated that the unique feature of the idol of Lord Venkateswara is that on the reverse side of the idol, the image of Anjaneyaswamy is seen. Similar to the idol of Jaganmohini Kesava Swamy in Rally, East Godavari District. There is also an impressive sculpture of Lord Vighneswara in the Mukhamandapam.
From there we proceeded to the temple of Lord Someswara Swamy which is situated very nearby.
From there we proceeded to the famous Sufi Saint Hazarat Amin Pir Saab Daragah locally known as Pedda Daragah. Recently it has become in news because of visits to this Dargah of Rehman, Music Director, Abhishek and Eiswaryarai Bachans. Many a devotees visit this Daragah seeking the blessings of the Sufi Saint.
PUSHPAGIRI TEMPLE COMPLEX AND SANKARA MATHAM
From there we proceeded to visit Pushpagiri Sankaramatham, on the way taking breakfast in AP Tourism restaurant. Pushpagiri is situated on the banks of River Penna and it is at a distance of about 16 km from Kadapa. There are a group of temples in the area on the either side of the River Penna, built in 13th century. Most of them are in a dilapidated condition without any proper maintenance, watch and ward. Vaishnavas call it as Madhya Ahobilam and Saivas as Madhya Kailasam. Here is situated the Holy Advaitha Peetham said to have been established by Adi Sankaracharya. At the time of our visit Sanakarcharya of the Peetham is on a tour and not in Pushpagiri. Of the group of temples, Chenna Kesava Swamy temple is the largest one and there are other temples of Trikuteswara, Durga, Siva and Devi Temples. These temples are famous for their architectural precision and images and are under the control of Department of Archaeology.
The legend says that there was pool known as Amrita Sarovaram in Pushpagiri and it is believed that a dip in this pond destroys the sins of all. It is believed that a drop of amrutam fell in this pond when Garuda is carrying Amrtuam from Indra Lokam. It is said that when a farmer vexed with his difficulties jumped into the Pond to end his life and surprisingly he transformed into a young man. The astonished farmer made his wife and oxen to take a dip in the pool and they also turned young. When this news reached Vaikuntham and Kailasam, Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva instructed Anjaneya to close the Pond by dropping a hill in the pond. The Hill floated as a flower and then Lord Vishnu and Lord Siva clamped their feet at the ends and from then the imprint of the foot of Siva became famous as Rudrapada and that of Vishnu as Vishnupada.
POTHULURI VEERABRAHMENDRA SWAMY MATHAM
After visiting the temple complexes and Sankara Matham in Pushpagiri, we proceeded to Brahmamgari Matham via Mydukur. The Brahmamgari Matham, situated in Kandimallayapalli village, is at a diversion from Mydukuru at a distance of about 40 km. Sri Pothuluri Veerabrahmendraswamy was famous for his preachings and mainly for his predictions about the future happenings of the world. He had written Kalajnanam predicting the future happenings. He entered Jeeva Samadhi in the year 1693 here. The Brahmamgari Matham does not look like a temple but has beautifully carved statues and on the walls are written the preachings and predictions of Veerabrahmendra Swamy contained in Kalajnanam. Siddaiah Samadhi, who was a Student and follower of the Swamy, Eswaramma Samadhi (wife of Swamy) and the temple of Poleramma are also situated in the premises.
SRI POTHULURI VEERABRAHMENDRA SWAMY
We have leisurely visited all the temples situated in the premises. There are also several choultries in and around the temple complex providing free meals to the pilgrims. However on lean days, prior intimation is necessary. The devasthanam also provides free meals to devotees. There is a book stall where several books written on the life history of the Saint are available.
By 1 pm we started from Brahmamgari Matham and proceeded to Kadapa which is at a distance of 60 km. On the way we had our lunch in Mydukuru and reached our Lodge by 3 pm and took rest till evening. In the evening Mr.VK and myself went round the Kadapa Town and seen various shopping centres and places. On the way we noticed the building of Incometax Office and out of curiosity went inside. There Mr.VK met his junior colleague friend Mr.Rajasekhara and Mr. Reddy. He had entertained us with tea and afterwards we returned to our Lodge and took rest for the day.
28th JANUARY, 2010 - THURSDAY.
By 8 am we started our onward journey. We vacated the room and had breakfast in another vegetarian Restaurant viz., Ashoka Lodge and Restaurant. We noticed that this is a better Lodge with reasonable rates but it is said that prior reservation is necessary. After breakfast, we proceeded to Sidhavatam which is at a distance of about 20 km and at a right diversion of the main road of Kadapa-Rajampet.
SIDHAVATAM : This village is famous for a Fort, built in 14th century, on the banks of Penna River. It is also famous for Siddeswara Siva Temple which is considered as the Southern Gate to the Jyotirlinga temple of Srisailam Mallikarjuna Swamy. Inside the Fort also, there is a temple with beautifully carved sculptures. We leisurely walked in the Fort visiting the dilapidated temples and other gardens which are maintained for attracting tourists. In the village there are also Sri Ranganayaswamy and Durga Temples. The villagers said that a priest opens the temples once in a day and closes the same after daily worship. On the day of our visit, the priest appears to have gone to nearby village on an errand and hence we could not worship in any of the temples. On the compound wall of the Siddeswara temple, it is mentioned that this temple was under the maintenance of Srisailam Devasthanam and is known as Southern Gate to the Srisaila Jyotirlinga temple.
VONTIMITTA KODANDA RAMALAYAM
After visiting the temples from outside, we came to the main road and proceeded further and stopped at Sri Kodanda Ramalayam in Vontimitta village which is adjacent to the main Road. This village is at a distance of 30 km from Kadapa Town. The temple is situated on an elevated ground and is in a spacious courtyard. The Gopuram is very tall and artchitecture and art inside the temple is very beautiful. At the time of our visit, priests are performing daily puja and we also participated in the Archana of Lord Kodanda Ramaswamy and blessed with Pulihora Prasadam. People here believe that this village is associated with the Telugu poet Bammera Pothanamatya who translated Maha Bhagavatam from Sanskrit to Telugu. But, history points out that Bammera Pothanamatya belonged to Ekasilanagaram of Warangal. Opposite the Kodandarama Swamy temple, there is a small temple of Lord Hanuman facing west to the main temple. Andhra Valmiki Vavikolanu Subba Rao lived in a house opposite to the Temple donating his property to the temple.
TALLAPAKA - BIRTH PLACE OF ANNAMACHARYA
10 Storey tall statue at the enrance of Tallapaka Village.
After travelling another 30 KM, we reached the village of Tallapaka, the birth place of Annamacharya, the famous poet and devotee of Lord Venkateswara. The village is at a diversion of about 5 km from the main road. At this junction, a very tall and beautiful statue of Annamacharya was established. Annamacharya composed thousands of devotional kirtanas (songs) on Lord Venkateswara and made an invaluable contribution to music and literature. We visited the Dhyana Mandiram of Annamacharya constructed in his memory by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam. Adjacent to the Dhyana Mandiram, there is the temple of Lord Chennakesava Swamy and also a unique temple for Sudarshanachakra of Lord Vishnu (Gopalaswamy sametha Chakratalwar). Near by is the temple of Santana Gopala Krishna. Though the temples were closed after afternoon worship, the priest there was kind enough to reopen the same and allowed the darshan of the Lord Chennakeswavaswamy, Sudarshana and Santana Gopala Krishna Swamy. The rare temples of Lord Garuthmanta and Lord Hanuman are also situated in the same complex. Just at a distance of about 100 yards, there is the temple of Lord Siva known as Kamakshi sametha Siddheswara Swamy. The priests stated that one who devotedly sits in Dhyanam in this temple will never suffer from headache.
OM TAT SAT OM TAT SAT OM TAT SAT
RAGHAVARAO U.V.G.V. DUGGIRALA,
HYDERABAD, 30th AUGUST, 2010.
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