Worship of Lord Brahma, Part 28


Gauthameswara Temple

Sep 05, CANADA (SUN) — A serial exploration of places of Lord Brahma's worship.

Brahma Tirtha at Manthani

Our last stop at Brahma shrines in Andhra Pradesh is the temple complex at Manthani, in the Karimnagar district of Andhra Pradesh. Manthani is one of the most ancient centers of Vedic learning in Andhra Pradesh. There are many ancient temples in the village, the most prominent of which is the Gauthameswara (Goutameshwara) Temple, dedicated to Lord Shiva. In fact, Gauthameswara is the presiding deity of the entire village.

Gauthameswara Temple is situated on the banks of the Godavari River, and is one of the grandest monuments in the surrounding area. A large Shivalingam of black stone, measuring over 3 feet high, resides in the sanctum sanctorum of the main temple. Ganesh is installed outside the sanctum, and a large black stone Nandi sits in attendance at the entranceway. Nandi's ears and nose were destroyed by Muslim invaders, and have been restored.

Nandi Shrine

On the temple grounds are three separate tirthas, or shrines, one dedicated to Lord Brahma, one to Visnu, and the third to Rudra. While it is unconfirmed, most likely the Rudra (Shiva) shrine is the one painted blue, matching the temple color. The other two shrines of Brahmadeva and Visnu would be the older stone shrines. The image showing a seated figure at the base of one stone tirtha could be either Visnu with conch and chakra, or Lord Brahma with whisk and mace in the upper hands.

Rudra Tirtha

As described in Shiva Purana, Rishi Gautama established this Gauthameswara temple complex. The architecture and sculpture of the temple complex is similar to that in Thousand Pillars Temple of Warangal, constructed by the Kakatiya Dynasty. This suggests that Gauthameswara may have been renovated by the Kakatiyas, although no evidence to that effect is in hand.

Brahma and Visnu Tirthas

According to local report, some 100 years ago, a local Brahman named Shri Vojjela Kistiah made it his duty to raise the funds needed to renovate the temple, and assisted with the work.

Thousands of devotees come to Gauthameswara temple each year to celebrate Shivratri, and many come to take darshan of Lord Brahma on that day, and throughout the year. Pilgrims come here to take bath in the holy Godavari, and come to the temple for Anna puja and Mahanyasa uja.

Photos courtesy of Shaivam.org


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