Friday, 2 September 2016

Interesting legend - Panakala Narasimha Swamy, Mangalagiri

God's image is just mouth. Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.apendowments.gov.in
The Vishnu Shetram (holy place) in Magalagiri  is one of the eight popular ones and this town in Guntur district of Andhra state is one among the oldest in India and has  been in existence since 225 BC. During the Vijayanagara rule, it was referred to as Mangala Nilayam. The eight places where Lord Vishnu manifested himself are  Sri Rangam, Srimushnam, Naimisam, Pushkaram,  Salagamadri, and Thothadri,  Narayanasramam  Venkatadri. Thotadri is the present Mangalagiri. Lakshmi Devi did tapas on this hill. That's why it got this name (The auspicious hill). 


In Mangalagiri there are three Narasimha Swamy temples. One is Panakala Narasimha Swamy on the hill. Another one is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at the foot of the temple. Third being Gandala Narasimha Swamy at the top of the hill.
entrance. Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy, indiantempleslist.blogspot.com
From any direction, this shape of the near-by hill looks like an elephant. The legend has it that Pariyatra, an ancient king had a son Hrasva Srungi, who was on pilgrimage to many places. He  stayed here and did penance on Lord Vishnu. When his father King Pariyatra came here with his entourage  to take him back to the kingdom, Hrasva Srungi took the shape of an elephant and became the abode of Lord Vishnu who is locally known as Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.

The temple of Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy is an historical one on the hill.
Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy temple, foot hills.Mangalagiri, www.panoramio.com
 Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy is characterized by a mouth wide open. The mouth is the only image of the god. No physical form, no eyes, no hands and no legs.The mouth is covered with  a metal face of the god . Poojas are offered to this deity in the  sanctum till 3 PM. There is a shrine dedicated to Lakshmi behind the main shrine. It is believed, there are  the foot prints of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya and the stone inscriptions of Krishna Theva Raya. To the west of Lakshmi's shrine  there is a tunnel which is believed to lead to Vundavalli caves on the banks of the river Krishna. This tunnel was used by the sages in the bygone days to go to the Krishna river  bank with a view to doing their morning ablutions and religious rituals. The stone steps to the temple were built  by Sri Channapragada Balaramadasu in 1890. The tunnel is closed and blocked and is not seen nowadays. The flagstaff or dhwajasthambham   was erected in front of the temple in 1955. It was in 2004, the ghat road on the hill, leading to the temple  was laid for the convenience of devotees.

 Jggery water is offered to the deity through the mouth and to the devotees as prasadam.  Surprisingly there are  no  traces of ants or flies in the temple and its  vicinity as normally one will find in places where sugary stuff is used.. It is believed the hill being volcanic of origin remains dormant because of pouring of jaggery water that neutralizes the sulfur compounds in the molten magma chamber!

Here Lord Vishnu is in Narashimha form (human body with 
lion's head)  and he took this avatar- incarnation to kill the demon -king  Hiranyakasipau to save his ardent devotee Prahlada,
 son of the demon-king. The demon got a boon from the lord that he should not be killed either by a human or  by an animal. To annihilate him for good, the lord took a strange ferocious form. Here, he is also referred to as Sudarsana Narashimha. 

The legend has it that once an Assura (demon) Namuchi, having received special boon from Lord Brahma, the creator that he won't be killed by anything dry or wet, became ruthless and was a menace to the people, Devas (Celestials) and saints. Devas' leader Indira, with support from lord vishu, decided to kill him. When Indira began destroying his army, demon Namuchi gave up his physical appearance - sthulakaram, assumed a small
size Sukshmakaram and hid in a cave. Indira with Lord Vishnu's disc Sudarsanam created giant tidal waves and sent them into the cave. Lord Vishnu, on his part, shut down the supply of Praynavyayu - life breath with the fire of his exhalation. Hence, Vishnu is called Sudarsana Narasimha here. The blood of slain  Assura formed the pool below the hill. After slaying the ferocious Assura, Lord Vishnu was in rage with unbearable heat radiating from him. The Devas and others prayed to him for appeasement. Later he became cool and composed by taking Amrutham - nectar in Krithayugamy. Lord said he would  be happy with ghee in Threthayugam, with milk in Dwaparayugam and with panakam (Jaggery water) in Kaliyuga

In this temple there is no Pooja protocol after  3 Pm because, it is assumed that sages and Devas worship him at night.
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