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Date: Thu May 02 1996 - 07:41:33 PDT
This is a re-post of Sri Jaganath's article to the Prapatti group. ******************************************************************************* 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.