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agiripalli narasimha kshetram
Date: Thu Jul 12 2001 - 17:02:46 PDT

Dear Bhakti list members:

As a follow up to Sriman Jairam's posting on Agiripalli, I asked my 
father (Sri. Vangipuram Dhruvanarayana) to provide me with some 
details of Agiripalli Sri Shobhanachala Swamy Temple.  Here is his 
recollection of this temple.

Agiripalli Sri Shobhanachala Swamy Temple is sacred to all Sri 
Vaishnavas. The story, as we were told by our elders, goes like this.

Sri Mahavishnu and Sri Mahadeva were visiting the earth. It was 
evening time, when they were near this place. They were looking for a 
place to stay over for the night. They saw this place among the 
mountains and thick green forest. They were impressed with the scenic 
beauty and the tranquility of the place. They decided to spend the 
night in the scenic and peaceful environment. Sri Mahavishnu wanted 
to perform evening sandhya vandanam and requested Sri Mahadeva to 
find a suitable place for their stay. Sri Mahadeva, after searching 
for a while, found a nice place on the top of the mountain and 
settled down there, forgetting to inform Sri Maha Vishnu. Sri Maha 
Vishnu waited for some time for Sri Maha Deva to return, but finding 
that Sri Maha Deva did not come back, he went in search of him. When 
he found that Sri Maha Deva settled down comfortably on the top of 
the mountain, Sri Maha Vishnu felt some what angry and thumped the 
head of Sri Maha Deva with his fist and cursed that no body will 
visit him without having the Darshan of self (Sri Maha Visnu). Saying 
this, Sri Maha Vishnu came down in two steps and settled down at the 
foot of the Mountain.

Even now, one can notice the impression of the fingers on the top of 
the sacred Siva Lingam and the two large stone slabs (representing 
the imprint of the foot steps of the Lord).

Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is known in this place as Sri Shobhanachala 
Swamy (Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy) with Mother Sri Rajya Lakshmi. 
Lord Sri Maha Vishnu is considered here as Shobana or happy or shanta 
Murty (after pacification by Bhakta Prahlada).

In the Zamindari days (about 50 years ago), the temple vibhavam is 
the talk of every one in Krishna and Guntur Districts. Agiripalli 
Ratha Saptami (celebrated in Chaitra Lunar Month??) used to be listed 
as an important event in the Telugu Calendars of those times. On that 
day Perumal with Sri Maha Lskshmi is taken round the mountain in a 
chariot (Ratham) drawn by people. The Ratham is stored in a tall 
building in front of the temple, which is a land mark. There is a 
light (Akhandam) on the mountain that is visible even from the 
outskirts of Vijayawada city. People believe that this Akhandam 
(endless) lights through out the day and night and never 
extinguishes. If that happens (God forbid), that is Pralayam or the 
end of the world. 

People used to tell us the reverence of the Nuzivid Zamindars towards 
the Lord. It appears, as the story goes, that the Lord used to appear 
in the dream of the Zamindars and demand that the Pooja and the 
Bhogam should be performed immediately. The next day, the Zamindar 
would visit the temple in Agiripalli and obey the orders of the Lord. 
There used to be a Sanskrit Pathasala in Agiripalli village, which is 
well known.

Agiripalli village is  well laid out. The village is in a square 
shape at the foot of the mountain, virtually at the foot of the feet 
of the Lord. There are small hamlets attached to the village. There 
are four streets, enveloping the square. At the four corners, there 
are four Koluvu Mandapams. The One Great Mantapam known as Kotayi is 
where the Lord comes down on important Utsavam days like in Dhanur 
Masam, Chaitra Masam (Utsavas) and is in Koluvu (Durbar), with all 
the alankaranams and Sevas. In our child hood days, it appeared to us 
that every body used to participate in those festivities with 
devotion. Among the Perumalla bhogams, apart from the traditional 
bhogams which Shri Vaishnavas offer to the Lord, the Chitti Garelu 
(miniature adas) are very famous. Even now, when we think of those 
Chitti Garelu, we feel the presence of the Lord and the pleasant 
taste of his Maha Prasadam.

Agiripalli produced eminent people like Dr. S. Bhagavantam (Former 
Scientific Advisor to the Defence Ministry), Smt. Malati Chandur 
(Andhra Prabha Weekly Womens section editor) and another famous 
chemical engineer (I don't know the full name but he is from 
Kolachalmala family, I think). There used to be once famous 
Shobhanachala Film Studio, named after the Swamy of Agiripalli. These 
are some of the things I know about Agiripalli. I am sorry that I am 
not able to present information about the Sthala Puranam, which 
requires a visit to the place and the local library.     

With regards.

Venkata Atiraj Anand 

           - SrImate rAmAnujAya namaH -
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