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Acharyas of Ahobilam -4

Jay.Bharadwaj_at_nrecatao.nreca.org
Date: Wed Dec 06 1995 - 21:55:13 PST

Brief Description of the Nava Nrsimha Kshetras.
(1) Bhargava Narasimha Swamy:  This temple is situated at a distance
of two kilometers from Lower Ahobilam, on a hill, near the sacred
pond known as Bhargava tirtham, where Bhargave Rama performed his
penance.  Hence the Lord of the temple is known as Bhargava Narasimha
Swamy.

(2) Yogananda Narasimha Swamy:  This temple is to the southeast of
Lower Ahobilam at a distance of two kms.  After killing
Hiranyakasipu, Lord Nrsimha taught Prahalada several yogic postures.
 Therefore, the Lord in this aspect is called Yogananda Narasimha.

(3) Chatravata Nrsimha Swamy:  About 3 kms from Lower Ahobilam, the
deity is installed under a Peepal tree, surrounded by thorny bushes.
 Hence, the Lord is called as Chatravata Narasimhaswamy.

(4)  Ahobila Nrsimha Swamy:  The temple, situated on the Upper
Ahobilam, at a distance of 8 kms from Lower Ahobilam, is the main
temple and the most ancient of the nine temples.  This Ugra Narasimha
deity is Swayam-Vyakta (self-manifest).

(5) Krodakara (Varaha) Narasimha Swamy:  The temple of this Lord is 1
km away from the main temple of Ahobila Nrsimha in Upper Ahobilam.
The deity has the face of a boar (Varaha or Kroda) and the lord is
seen along with His Consort, Lakshmi.

(6) Karanja Narasimha Swamy:  This shrine is situated at a distance
of 1 km from Upper Ahobilam and 2/5 km from the road leading to Lower
Ahobilam.  The deity is installed under a tree called Karanja
vrksham.

(7)  Malola Nrsimha Swamy:  Nearly 2kms from the main temple of Upper
Ahobilam, is the famous shrine of Malola Narasimha Swamyy.  The deity
here appears in 'soumya' (graceful) form.  As Lord Narasimha is seen
with His consort, Lakshmi, He is known as Malola Nrsimha Swamy.  The
word 'Malola' means beloved to Lakshmi (Ma=Lakshmi, lola=beloved).
The Utsavamurti of the Lord appeared to Srimat Adivan Shatakopa
Jiyar, the first Jeer of Sri Ahobila Mutt.  Right from the founder in
1398 upto the present Jeer (the 45th Jeer Srivan Shathakopa Sri
Narayana Yateendra Mahadesikar) the utsavamurti is worshipped as the
main deity of Sri Ahobila Mutt.  The deity travels with the Jeers
wherever they go and it is at their feet (the Malola Lakshmi
Nrsimha Swamy deities) that Prapatti is performed.

(8) Jwala Nrsimha Swamy:  The temple of Jwala Nrsimha Swamy lies
higher up on the Achalachaya meru hill than the Malola Lakshmi
Nrsimhaswamy temple.  This is about 4kms from the Upper Ahobilam
temple.  It is here, where the fierce anger of the Lord reached its
culmination when He tore Hiranyakasipu apart.

(9)  Pavana Nrsimha Swamy:  Nearby the above temple, is the shrine of
Pavana Narasimha, on the bank of the river Pavana, and it is about 6
kms from the Upper Ahobilam temple.  Hence the Lord of the shrine is
known as Pavana Narasimha Swamy.

In addition to the shrines mentioned above, there is a famous shrine
dedicated to Lord Nrsimha Swamy in Lower Ahobilam, which is popularly
known as Prahalada Varada Sannidhi.

Ugra Stambham:  At a distance of 8 kms from the Upper Ahobilam temple
we can see a cleft of the mountain dividing it into two visible
parts.  This is the spot from where the Lord appeared and is
therefore called Ugra Stambham.

Prahalada Mettu:  The small shrine situated in a cave on the hill, is
in hetween Ugra Stambham and Upper Ahobilam.  It is dedicated to
Prahlada Nrsimhaswamy.  A deity of Prahlada is installed in a small
cave.  There are a number of holy 'tirthas' or ponds around this
area.  Of these, Raktakundam is the most important.  This is where
Nrsimhaswamy washed His hands after killing Hiranyakashipu.  The
water is still said to be red in appearence.

Lower Ahobilam:
The temple surrounded by three prakaras in Lower Ahobilam is
dedicated to Prahlada Varada i.e. the Lord who bestows His grace on
Prahlada.  With Vijayanagar style noticeable in the structure, there
are a number of mantapams outside the temple.  A shrine dedicated to
Sri Venkateswara exists to the south west of this Narasimha temple
and lends view to the episode that Lord Venkateshwara obtained the
blessings of Nrsimha just before His marriage with Padmavathi.  The
Mukha Mantapa there, is now used as the Kalyana Mantapam for Mrsimha
Swamy.  With Lakshminarasimha as the presiding deity, the main temple
consists of a sanctum, Mukhamantapam and Rangamantapam with numerous
pillars intracately carved and carrying rich sculptures.  There are
also three smaller shrines for Lakshmi, Andal, and Azhwars.  In the
sanctum are also kept Utsavamurtis of Prahalada Varada, Pavana
Narasimha, and processional deities of Jwala Nrsimha endowed with ten
hands and with Sri Devi and Bhu Devi on either side.  A small deity
of the first Jiyar Sri Adivan Shathakopa Swami is also kept before
them.

What is apparent and observable is Lord Nrsimha's posture in three
places including the one in a pillar, of a divine ascetic presenting
ascetic order to the first Jiyar of Sri Ahobila Mutt.  Both in Upper
and Lower Ahobilam, it is a common sight on the pillars to see Lord
Nrsimha wooing His consort Chenchu Lakshmi.  The Lord chasing
Hiranyakasipu as seen on one pillar and Him bursting forth from
another pillar are very realistic.  Thanks to the 44th Jeer's
efforts, and also that of the co-operation of the Endowments dept of
the A P govt, the complex has been renovated, though a lot is desired
to be done.  It would not be out of place to mention that good
resting places free or paid boarding arrangements (similar to
Tirupati), privision of enough drinking water, and Devasthanam
canteens would go a long way to attract more pilgrims. The annual
Brahmotsavam performed in February every year is a great attraction
that lures both the common folk and the religious pandits to
participate in them.  Though under the care of Sri Ahobila Mutt,
whose Jeers are hereditary trustees, co-operation from the public and
the government would help improve Ahobilam further.

There is a tall Jayastambam erected in the spacious ground outside
the temple walls to mark the victory of Krishnadeva Raya.  The
Kakatiya Kings especially Pratapa Rudra also contributed towards
additional structures and maintenance of the Ahobilam complex.

To be continued -- description of Azhagiya Singar.