I managed to write just 41 posts in the whole of 2012 and hated myself for it – I had loads to share, but somehow could not make time at all. And then it became a habit; not recording things on the blog I mean! So you can just imagine how excited and happy I am with having written 31 posts in just the first month of 2013 – back to the olden-golden times 😉 Am so glad blogging is back in place with all my other priorities and this is so important because blogging is such an integral part of me. I just hope I continue doing so 🙂
Having done with that, let me get on to the actual post. Here are the tales from Day 3 of our vacation.
We left Mahanandi for Ahobilam at 9.40PM on Day2. Mahandi->Ahobilam is about 62 kms and we reached our destination by 11PM. We checked into the room and learnt that the place had seen 1 lakh visitors that day 😯 We decided to head to the temple as early as possible in the morning.
According to legends, Ahobilam is the place where the appearance of Lord Narasimha (the 4th avatar amongst the Dashavatara of Lord Vishnu) is supposed to have taken place i.e this is where the Lord killed King Hiranyakashipu and blessed Prahlada.
When the Gods saw the manifestation of Lord Vishnu as half-lion, half-man, they shouted “Ahobala” (great strength). “Ahobila” means great cave and the sanctum of the main temple is within a cave. Hence, this place could be called either “Ahobalam” or “Ahobilam”.
It is also here that Lord Narasimha is worshipped in 9 different forms, and there is a temple dedicated to each form.
The nine forms of Narasimha are known as Bhargava, Yogananda, Chatravata, Ahobila (Ugra), Varaha, Malola, Jwala, Paavana and Karanja.
Ahobilam is divided into Lower and Upper Ahobilam. In addition to the 9 forms, Lower Ahobilam has a temple dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha, i.e Lord Narasimha with Chenchu Lakshmi (Like I said in one of the previous posts, Goddess Lakshmi was born into the Chenchu tribe and married this avatar of Lord Vishnu).
Since there is not much info anywhere on how many of these temples you can visit in your own vehicle, how many you need to trek to etc.., I am putting down all the info here. We had a tough time finding out about the same, since not many people around seemed to know it too. We then found a local guide who thankfully was aware of some and then a priest in one of the temples guided us more.
- You can visit Karanja Narasimha, Chatravata, Yogananda and Ugra Narasimha in your own vehicle.
- To visit Bhargava Narasimha, you have to hire a jeep from Lower Ahobilam. The distance is about 2 kms but the road is totally rugged, through dense forests. It is fun! The jeeps can take 8 people in one and charge Rs.250/- per jeep if you hire one for yourself.
- To visit Pavana Narasimha, you need to undertake a more complex and back-breaking jeep ride of 20kms one way (4 hours up-and-down). You can also trek to Pavana Narsimha from Upper Ahobilam.
- To visit Malola, Varaha and Jwala Narasimha, you need to trek up from Ugra Narasimha in Upper Ahobilam (3-hour trek).
- Distance between Lower and Upper Ahobilam is about 6KM.
We first visited the Lakshmi Narasimha temple in Lower Ahobilam. The entire town was up early in the morning and pretty rangolis adorned almost every shop/house.
Buying fresh flowers so early in the morning – a joy in itself 🙂
The art and architecture!
It is believed that touching a lizard in the temple premises absolves us of all our sins. I have seen such lizards in many other temples too 😀
We had some yummy yummy breakfast at a home-food near the temple and set out on our Nava-Narasimha expedition. We visited only 5 of them, owing to time and knee constraints.
We first visited the Ugra Narasimha in the Upper Ahobilam, the main temple of Ahobilam. The Lord here appears in his fierce aspect and is believed to be self-manifested (Swayambhu).
The amazing work of art, yet again!
Our next stop was at the temple of Karanja Narasimha. Lord Narasimha is believed to have given darshan to Lord Hanuman here in the form of Lord Rama. Hence, you can see Narasimha with a bow in his left hand.
I loved it that the Gopuram of every temple had Narasimha in the same form as the deity inside the sanctum – helps you to make out the features exactly since the idol inside will be adorned with flowers, silk etc.. – like the bow in this case. Can you spot one?
We next visited Chatravata Narasimha. It is said that Narasimha listened to musical performances by the Gandharvas here to cool down his anger. You can see one hand of the Lord on his left thigh like he is applying Tala to the music.
Also, he is supposed to have listened to music sitting under a Peepal tree. Interestingly, there is a Peepal tree growing over the head of his idol in the Gopuram and no one knows how it has come up or from where it sources water etc.. !!!!!!!! Can you spot the Peepal here?
Can you believe that the Lord himself performed Yoga after having killed Hiranyakashipu to get rid of his sins? Well, that is the legend behind the next temple that we visited – that of Yogananda Narasimha. This is also the place where he imparted Yogic knowledge to Prahlada. This temple also has idols of all the 9 forms of Narasimha installed along with the Navagraha, for those who cannot visit all the 9 temples.
The last Narasimha that we had darshan of during this trip was Bhargava Narasimha.
To see him, you need to go by jeep through such rugged terrains 😛
And then trek some more 😉
Sage Bhargava (Lord Parsurama) is said to have performed penance here to get the darshan of Narasimha in his Samhara Rupa (form of killing the demon).
You can see the demon in the Lord’s lap here.
Well, that was our Ahobilam sojourn in a nutshell.
We were now all set on our return journey via Kurnool, from where Amma-Daddy-sis were supposed to catch a bus to Bengaluru. We were planning what else we could see on the way since we had some more time at hands.
Incidentally, one of the places we were planning to visit fell right on our way, and APTDC has set up an awesome restaurant there too. We were there exactly at chai-time and could ask for nothing better 😀 Oravakallu (miniature grand canyon) is filled with exotic rock formations with water bodies in the midst and makes for a perfect picnic spot. We had just enough time to throw a glance around, but this is definitely a place worth visiting. Here are some pics.
Oravakallu is about 120 kms from Ahobilam and about 18 kms before Kurnool.
That’s it for now my dearies. Thank u so much for bearing with my blabber all through. I still have so many posts in my mind which I thought I would be writing down in these 31 days! Don’t worry, I am not going to do a NaBloPoMo in February too ;), but just hope to stick around posting at good enough intervals. Until next time, Tata!