Saturday, February 23, 2013

Yaganti Ne Kanti!

Yaganti Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Temple
There are some temples that have a wonderful mythology attached. Some are rich in architectural splendour, others in the divinity and vibration that they generate. Very few have all these things intact even after several hundreds of years.  One such temple is the Yaganti Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Sivalayam.

The story associated with the temple:

Sage Agasthya after completing his Uttara Desha Yatra was coming towards the South when he reached this site. Seeing the beauty and serenity of the location, he wanted to install an idol of Lord Venkateswara here. Once the idol got ready and when preparations were being made to install it, he found that the big toe of the idol was broken. Disheartened, he prayed to Lord Shiva seeking the reason. Lord Shiva appeared before him, and told him that this place was Dakshina Kailash and hence more suited to be an abode of Lord Shiva.

Swayambu Shiva Parvathi:

Happy on hearing that, Agasthya sought a boon from the Lord that he should ever remain there, along with his consort Parvathi, granting blessings to all those who prayed to him. Pleased with his devotion, Lord Shiva appeared along with Parvathi Devi in a single stone as a Swayambu.

Yaganti Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy
(Photo Courtesy: Yaganti Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Temple)
It is indeed amazing to see the distinct roopas of both Lord Shiva and Parvathi Devi on the Swayambu moorthy in the Sanctum Sanctorum. The two distinct images are also smeared with Vibhooti (Sacred Ash) and Turmeric to distinguish Lord Shiva and Parvathi. When we reached the temple, it was around 6 pm in the evening. There were very few people in the temple at that time. It was absolutely an electrifying experience to stand before this magnificient Lord and pray.

Three caves in the hill adjacent to the temple:

One is the Agasthya Cave. This is the cave where Sage Agasthya did penance and Lord Shiva appeared before him. One has to climb 120 steep steps to reach the cave. As it was close to 6 pm when we reached the temple, we were not allowed to climb up to the caves. With a disappointed sigh, we had to return after taking pictures from below.
The way up to the caves. 
The second of the caves is the Lord Venkateswara Swamy Cave. The cave houses the Venkateswara Swamy that was created by Sage Agasthya but could not be installed because of a broken big toe. This idol is supposed to be older than the one at Tirumala. On Saturdays, several hundreds of devotees climb up the steps to this cave to have a darshan of the Lord.

The damaged toe nail of Venkateswara Swamy
Photo Courtesy: Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Temple 
The third cave is the one where a renowned saint, Potuluri Sri Veera Brahmam had stayed for many years, and written portions of his renowned work, Kala Gnanam. The saint had predicted several instances in time, similar to Nostradamus, through this work. ( The height of the cave is really low and one has to stoop down in order to enter it.

The priest at the temple mentioned that there was a tunnel leading from this cave to Kandimallayapalle in Cuddapah District where he attained Jeeva Samadhi.

Another story of how this place came to be known as Yaganti :

There was a great devotee of Shiva named Chitteppa, who was praying in this lovely location. His love and devotion for his Lord was so great, that he saw Lord Shiva in everything. Once a tiger walked before him. Chitteppa saw it as Lord Shiva appearing before him in the form of a tiger. He jumped up in joy, shouting, Ne Kanti, Shiva Nu Ne Kanti! (In Telugu, meaning I saw Shiva, I saw!) Ne Kanti has over time, changed to Yaganti, says the priest at the temple.

Unique features of the temple:

When one walks into the temple complex, it is amazing to see a number of people from the village gathering in front of the temple and singing hymns in praise of Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy. It was indeed heartening to see the villagers not spending time in front of the television set as is the case in many villages now, but on a sunday evening, congregating at the temple and spending time in community bhajans.


The temple in its current form is said to have been built by King Harihara of the Sangama Dynasty in the 14th Century. One of the significant features of this temple is the Pushkarni (temple tank). Not only does the temple tank look so beautiful, and the water feel so refreshing cool, it is also really amazing how so much water gushes into the temple tank from the bottom of the hill through the small mouth of a Nandi.

The beautiful pushkarni at the temple. The water gushes from the mouth
of a nandi in the small dark enclave that you can see right across
A Close up view of the Nandi inside the alcove

Amazing growing Nandi:

The Nandi in this temple is perhaps the most amazing Nandi in the whole world. I, for one, could not take my eyes off it till the priest actually asked me to move because I was obstructing the way for people behind me.

Some say it was sculpted but keep growing, while others call it a Swayambu that appeared along with the Uma Maheswara Swamy. Whatever be the case, this is one awesome Nandi.

The awesome Nandi at the Temple
(Photo Courtesy: Sri Uma Maheswara Swamy Temple)
This Nandi does not sit on a pedastal of any kind, but is sprawled on the ground. The ASI has observed it growing at the rate of one inch in every 20 years and so he has moved from being directly in front of the sanctum sanctorum to its right. They have already removed one of the pillars of the mandapa since it was obstructing the Nandi's growth. The priest mentioned that very soon another pillar will have to be removed.

According to Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmam, the Nandi will come to life at the end of Kaliyuga and shout!

Just look at him, what an adorable creature he is!

Veerabadra swamy:

Veerabadraswamy at the temple
The Kshetrapalaka at this temple, as in many other temples in this part of India, is Veerabadraswamy. The gigantic Veerabadraswamy with his glittering sword protects the temple and safeguards its sanctity.

Akasha Deepam:

Just behind the Veerabadraswamy temple, on top of the hill, on a ledge which looks so steep and narrow, an Akasha Deepam is lit every evening. This lamp glows from 6 pm to 6 am every day. The priest mentioned that four litres of oil and two metres of wick is used every day to keep this lamp glowing for twelve hours.

It is indeed amazing how the lamp burns in the open air on top of a hill, amid the strong winds blowing. It is equally amazing how the priest is able to climb up every day, with barely any foothold, carrying all these materials to light the lamp, with practically just enough space only to put one of his feet. We all contributed towards the cost of oil and felt extremely satisfied about it.

No crows in Yaganti:

The priest also mentioned that while Sage Agasthya was performing penance here, Kakasura, an asura in the form of a crow, had been disturbing the sage's penance. Angered, the sage cursed him, saying that no crows should exist within Yaganti. Even today, they say that they have never seen a crow within the village. Moreover, since crow is the vahana (vehicle) of Shani Bagavan, they say that Shani does not bother anyone who is within the vicinity of the Uma Maheswara Swamy temple. People come and worship here to be rid of the dosha of Shani.

Mouth-watering Laddoos:

Last but not the least, I must mention that this temple has by far the most delicious laddus I have ever tasted. Although I lost one to a monkey, that jumped from above me and plucked it from my hand before I could bat an eyelid, I made sure I went into the counter, and tucked two more away in my handbag to eat them within the safe confines of the car. Hmmm....absolutely heavenly!

How to get here:

By Road:

Yaganti is in the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. It is
14 kms from Banganapalli
53 kms from Nandyal
70 kms from Ahobilam
85 km from Kurnool
100 kms from Mantralayam

The landmark is an old Nizam's palace after a few kms from Banganapalli. There were several tourists who were looking around the Nizam's palace. But to me, it looked like a set from a recent special effects Telugu movie. So I did not step out to visit it.

Nearest Airport: Hyderabad
Nearest Railway Station : Nandyal

Contact Details: Main Priest Mr. K.U.S.D Sharma - 094403 34003

Temple Timings: 7 am to 11 am after which lunch is available free till 2.30 pm at the Annadana Hall
                         5 pm to  8 pm  again dinner available free till 9.30 pm



  1. Nice temple with some interesting stories behind it.

  2. Nice temple.Especially the Nandhi.The fact that one of the pillars is removed since the Nandhi is growing is really amazing.Thanks for the coverage about this temple,unknown so far.

  3. yet another interesting temple, Priya! and one more I hadnt even heard of. we went to Nandyal and Ahobilam a few years back, but didnt know about this one...

  4. Very detailed post, you have introduced the place well with all the stories associated with it. Nice blog!

  5. Well researched post and great photos.

  6. Nice Snaps..

  7. Nice pictures.... Good post

    Thanks for sharing

  8. Thanq for publishing great information. I found pujari contact number for making puja in yaganti. It is very helpful to me.

  9. Very detailed explanation. Can you please provide any information about accommodation in Yaganti??

    1. You could stay at Brahmani Residency at Yaganti itself or there is accomodation available at Banganapalli.


  10. Yeah I know the spiritual power of lord shiva and his swayambu temples too...but yaganti is one which we have most amazing story behind namah shivaya...