Nrsimhadev Shrines in Andhra Pradesh, Part 3
BY: SUN STAFF
Sri Pana Nrsimhadev
Jul 29, 2011 CANADA (SUN) Reprise of a 2008 Feature series, touring some of Lord Nrsimhadev's glorious abodes in Andhra Pradesh.
Festivals at Mangalagiri
Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Brahmothsavam is very important annual festival in Mangalagiri. The celebration was inaugurated by Dharmaraja at the behest of Lord Krishna. Pradyumna, Krishna's son, requested his father to celebrate his birthday annually for a sapthaham (seven days) from Phalguna Suddha Sapthami. Lord Krishna entrusted this work to Dharmaraja, the eldest of the Pandavas, who was the successor to the throne at Hasthinapur.
At present the festival is celebrated for 11 days commencing from Phalguna Suddha Shasti (February-March). One day before Phalguna Suddha Purnima, i.e. on Caturdasi, the marriage of Santha Narasimha Swamy, Sridevi and Bhoodevi is celebrated. The Agama sastra is followed for this celebrations. Before the marriage, Chenchus celebrate on the occasion of Narasimha Swamy marrying their daughter, Chenchu Lakshmi. On that night, Narasimha Swamy comes by His Sesha Vahanam and participates in Eduru Kola.
The next day after the marriage is Purnima, on which the Holi festival is celebrated. The same day here, people celebrate Tirunalla, and about 1,000,000 people from local and from distant places congregate together. The Lord goes on procession in a big chariot and hundreds of devotees pull His cart with fervour and enthusiasm.
Srirama Navami, Hanumajayanthi, Narasimhajayanthi, Vaikunta Ekadasi and Mahasivarathri are the other festivals celebrated here on a large scale. On Mahasivarathri, the Lord goes on procession in a small chariot.
Ksheera Vruksham (The milk tree)
Ksheera vruksham on the Mangalagiri hill is a great attraction, particularly to the woman devotees. King Sasibandi was advised by Narada to visit pilgrimages, so the King left the kingdom and his queen for that purpose. When the queen came to know about this she grew furious and cursed Narada to become a Ksheera vruksham on the hill within easy reach of devotees. There, for having ill-advised her husband to desert her and take to penance, the milk tree remains, blessing women at its very sight and eradicating sins committed out of ignorance or oversight. Narada took this not as a curse but as a boon since it meant service to humanity. He blessed the queen with happy life with her husband and a thousand children. Even today, thousands of women visit and worship the milk tree on Mangalagiri hill for begetting children.
There is a local legend connected with the making of the procession idols of the temple. A reputed goldsmith was appointed to make the processional images of the Lord. The panchalohas (five metals) are melted together in a huge crucible and smeared over the images to form a brilliant coating. Despite all the goldsmith's skill and care, the metals kept separating themselves, and this bitter disappointment continued day after day. He began the process of burning one day after praying for the Lord's grace, then he heard a voice that success in his work required human sacrifice. Just then his son rushed to him and asked the father for water to quench his great thirst. The goldsmith lifted his son and threw him into the molten mixture of the five metals and the body disappeared in no time. The amalgam was cast and beautiful icons of the Lord were then completed. After completing the work, the goldsmith thought about his son and called out in agony, come my son and I will give you water to quench your thirst. It is believed that the body jumped out of the image and stood before his father.
Mangalagiri Narasimhaswamy Temple Gopuram
Gali Gopuram (Tower)
Thoorpu Gali Gopuram (the tower on the East Side) is a main attraction of the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple. Vijayanagara kings constructed three storeys and Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu constructed another 8 storeys. Raja Vasireddy's addition was constructed from 1807 to 1809. The height of this temple is 153 feet and the width is 49 feet. It is very rare to find towers that have less width and more height than this tower.
Utthara Gali Gopuram (the tower on the North Side) is opened on the Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti) day. It was constructed by Rangapuram Jamindar Madapati Venkateswararao in 1911. When Padamati Gali Gopuram (the tower on the West Side) was being constructed, some of the stones accidentally fell down and some workers died. Due to this incident the work was stopped and has not been started till now. Dhakshina Gali Gopuram (the tower on the South Side) was renovated in 1992 for Krishna pushkaras by the initiative of the Executive officer, Sri Nootakki Kotaiah.
Source : Mangalagiri Pattana Vikasa Mandali
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