Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Lord of Yadagiri!

The tower of Yadagirigutta Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple
Sometimes you want to visit a temple over a long time, and it somehow does not happen even over a number of visits. Then all of a sudden you find that without any prior planning, the Lord has called you and you are on your way to visit him. For me, this has happened on multiple occasions, and so I was not surprised when my colleague Prabhakar Reddy offered to drive us to Yadagirigutta which I had not had the opportunity to visit over several trips. Instead, all I could think was " Chalo, Bulaava Aaya Hai!"

The drive from Hyderabad was a little over an hour. Yadagirigutta is near Bhongir and is located on a small hill. It is also called Pancha Narasimha Kshetram. Several hundreds of devotees throng the temple every day to seek the blessings of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. The legend of Yadagiri is amazing and I have attempted to provide it in a detailed manner here( as all the literature available at the temple is either in Telugu or in Hindi ) for the benefit of those who read neither. Apologies for the poor quality of the pictures. As cameras were strictly banned, I had to rely on some long distance pictures on my mobile and a few screenshots from a video on the official website of the temple. Credits for images used from the temple have been provided on the respective pictures).

After Hiranyakashyap was killed by Lord Narasimha, the Devas invited Goddess Mahalakshmi to join him and cool down his anger. When she saw the Lord in anger, his form and actions frightened her and she did not attempt to go near him. Instead, she started singing his praises with folded hands and lowered head, in a sweet voice. Pleased by her devotion, the Lord gave up his anger and invited her to come near and placed her on his lap. 

Seeing this beautiful form of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha, Prahalada sought the boon of worshipping him in the same form there for which the Lord replied that he would appear as Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Yadagiri wherein Prahalada could worship him and that he would stay there forever granting the wishes of those who worshipped him. Saying so, he left Ahobilam and moved towards Yadagiri with Brahma and the Devas showering flowers on him.

Lord Lakshmi Narasimha appeared in a broad cave on top of Yadagiri . Lord Brahma washed the feet of the Lord with water from his Kamandalu and sprinkled it on his head. This water flowed down the hill and formed the Vishnukund. Bathing in the Vishnukund and worshipped Sri Narasimha through Sri Narasimha Gayathri rids one of all sins and grants them all their wishes.

Vishnukund at Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple Yadagirigutta
Photo Courtesy: Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple

It is believed that Prahalada and the Rishis who dwell in a cave in the nearby Venkatagiri hill come every night and worship Sri Lakshmi Narasimha at Yadagiri. A lot of people have smelt incense, and heard the beat of drums from the temple at night. Pilgrims are restricted from bathing in the Vishnukund at night as it is the time for Rishis to bathe. There are people who have heard splashing sounds from the pond at night and those who attempted to go near have had the experience of being pushed away.

Performing the rites of ancestors in the Vishnukund gives the benefit of performing an Ashwamedha Yagna. Tamil months of Vaikasi, Maasi, Panguni, and Purattasi and Swathi star that falls on a Saturday are auspicious to bathe in the Vishnukund and perform donation of cows, land, food or Rudraksha in memory of ancestors. After donating, they chant Sri Narasimha Gayatri for forty days to rid themselves of diseases, enemies and losses.

It is believed that Savitri Devi, Gayatri Devi and Lord Varuna worship the Vishnu Kund in the form of light in the middle of the night. Witnessing this is said to rid one of all diseases. Shukla Paksha Dasami, Dwadasi, Thrayodasi, Pournami, Fridays, Saturdays and Sundays are significant for bathing in the Kund and offering rites to ancestors.Similarly bathing here during eclipse rids one of all sins during previous births. On these days, thousands of people bathe here and earn the virtue of bathing in all the holy rivers of the world.

The Sudharshana Chakra that has been installed on top of the temple has great powers. At night,there is a certain glow around it which is proof of the magnificence of the Lord residing inside. The Chakra is about 3ft X 3ft in measurement, but its glow can be seen as far as six kilometres away from the temple. Some people have experienced the Chakra moving towards them as they approached the temple in the dark,guiding them towards the temple.


The Lord is also called Vaidya Narasimha and has appeared in the dreams of several devotees and cured them of diseases. Several devotees have felt him performing surgeries on them after which they have been miraculously cured of chronic ailments. Devotees have been asked by him to give up specific things at the temple which has also cured them.

Shiva Temple at Yadagirigutta:

One day in Kailash, Parvathi asked Shiva about the specialty of Yadagirigutta that made him look longingly and pray towards it every day. The Lord replied that it was a special place where Rishis were worshipping Sri Lakshmi Narasimha. He further said that he too desired to reside in Yadagiri. He then appeared as a Swayambu Lingam on the banks of the Brahma kund in the Easanya (East) Direction. 

Shiva Temple at Yadagiri Gutta
Photo Courtesy: Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple
About Yada Rishi:

In Threta Yuga, there was a Rishi named Yada Rishi. He was an ardent devotee of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha and was looking for an ideal location to meditate on him. After searching in several places, he reached a forest. Tired and exhausted, he spread his upper garment on the floor under a tree and fell asleep. 

In his dream, Lord Hanuman appeared and told him that his search for the ideal place to worship Lord Narasimha was over. He further mentioned that when Yada Rishi got up and crossed the forest of Ashoka Trees, he would reach a mangrove, from where he must proceed through a forest so thick that even getting air to breathe would be difficult. He would then come across a desert, where hot air would burn his body and his feet would be lacerated by the sand beneath. If he were to move further without losing hope or turning back, he would reach the beautiful and serene forest of Yadagiri - the abode of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha which would be the ideal place for Yada Rishi to meditate on him.

The Rishi woke up and did as suggested by Hanuman. After great difficulty, he reached the banks of a Sarovar in Yadagiri and set up a small Kutir there to meditate. Several hundreds of years passed. The Rishi increased the intensity of his penance by giving up food and water, standing on one leg and meditating in the middle of fire. One day,Hanuman appeared before him again and told him that his prayers had been answered. He then directed Yada Rishi to go up the hill and find Lord Narasimha.

The Rishi ran towards the direction shown by Hanuman. As he moved up the hill, the vegetation was so thick that he could hardly breathe. Thorns from the overgrowth on either side poked at him and tore his flesh. The darkness was so intense that he could not even see his own hands. As he neared the cave, the Lord appeared before him as a ball of fire.

Unable to bear the intensity of the Lord, Yada Rishi requested him to appear before him in a Shanta Roopa. The Lord, pleased with his devotion, asked him to seek a boon. Yada Rishi asked for the Kshetram (place) to be named after him and also that Sri Lakshmi Narasimha should always give him darshan there. The Lord granted him the boon he sought for and said the hill would come to be called Yadagiri after him.

The Lord gave Yada Rishi the divine vision to see his Viswaroopa. Yada Rishi asked Narasimha to show him his Archaroopa (worshippable form). The rock behind the Lord broke into two pieces with the sound of thunder and the Lord appeared as Jwala Narasimha. Yada Rishi was delighted and started worshipping Narasimha with appropriate mantras.

Yada Rishi wanted a Kshetrapalaka (Guard) for the hill and prayed to Lord Hanuman for nine days. Pleased with his devotion, Hanuman appeared before him and agreed to be the Kshetrapalaka. He then appeared on a rock before Gandaberunda Narasimha wherein he continues to be worshipped till date.

Kshetrapalaka Hanuman at Yadagirigutta
Photo Courtesy: Sri Lakshminarasimhaswamy Temple
One day when Yada Rishi was bathing at the Vishnukund, a hungry and thirsty Brahma Rakshas came there. He grabbed the Rishi with an intention of gobbling him up. But the Rishi shouted out loud, seeking the help of Sri Narasimha. Immediately, the Sudharshana Chakra came buzzing through the air and chopped off the head of the Brahma Rakshas in a jiffy. Yada Rishi requested the Sudharshan Chakra to stay at Yadagiri and save devotees from evil spirits.That is how the Chakra has taken its place on top of the Vimana twirling with its divine glow.

The temple as we know it now:

Over time, no one knew about the existence of the Lord within the forest of Yadagiri. The Lord decided to reveal his whereabouts. So he appeared in the dream of a Mukhiya (Village Chieftain) and showed him the way to reach him.The Mukhiya called the villagers and told them about his dream. They set out to the hill to look for Narasimha. After searching high and low, they still could not find him. After many hours of searching they were able to find the Vishnukund. On searching further, they found the Kshetrapalaka Hanuman. The path now became narrower and dense with thorns on either side.They cut down the bushes, making way for the others as they went up. Finally they approached the cave where Sri Narasimha was found. There were dangerous reptiles creeping in and out of the cave. Singing the praises of Narasimha, the Mukhiya urged his men into the cave with lit firewood torches.

In a flash of lightening,the Namam mark that the Mukhiya had seen in his dreams appeared and he was able to see the Lord. From then onwards, arrangements were made to worship the Lord appropriately through Pancharatra Agama which continues till today.

Way to enter the Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Shrine at Yadagirigutta
Photo Courtesy: Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple
 The Lord first appeared before Yada Rishi as Jwala Narasimha and when he could not bear the intensity, he appeared as Yogananda Narasimha and finally as Lakshmi Narasimha. The manifestation of the images of Lord Narasimha are seen in the cave which forms the sanctum sanctorum of the temple. A normal queue would take a few hours for the devotee to reach the main shrine where just like Tirumala there is a queue control system that does not allow anyone to stand in front of the Lord for more than a few seconds. There is also an Seegra Darshan queue (with a Rs.100/- ticket) which can help one join the main queue in a few minutes.

The Cave has two rock faces stuck to one another formed a deep U shape between them. On one face of the rock, is the form of a hooded serpent which is said to be the form of Jwala Narasimha. It is believed that the Adisesha still moves about this form. On the other rock face, one can see the yogic posture of Yogananda Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha. The Ugra Narasimha is said to be the entrance to the Sanctum Sanctorum whereas the fifth form Gandaberunda Narasimha is found opposite to the Kshetrapala Hanuman. As the forms of Narasimha are not very clearly visible from the view of the devotees and they also do not have the luxury of waiting for more than a few seconds before the Lord, a silver Utsava Moorthy of a standing Narasimha with Lakshmi welcomes the devotees.

If you happen to be in Hyderabad for whatever reason, do take time out to visit the wonderful temple at Yadagirigutta.

Utsavar Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at Yadagirigutta
Photo Courtesy: Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Temple
How to reach the temple:

The temple is about 60 kms from Hyderabad on the Warangal route, 13 kms from Bhongir and 6 kms from the Raigiri Railway Station.

Temple Timings:

4 am in the morning to 9.45 pm at night

Contact details:

Executive Officer : 08685 - 236755

Acknowledgements:

The official website of the temple www.yadagirigutta.in for use of some pictures in the blog post which have been individually acknowledged too.
Shri. Prabhakar Reddy, Hyderabad for all his assistance in visiting the temple.








3 comments:

  1. I read with great interest the information that you have provided after such a commendable research. Thank you very much. I am a bit curious: how come that so many kshetras of Lord Narasimah are found only in the abdhra Pradesh?
    May God bless you.
    Dr.R.Krishnan

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  2. Congratulations in being in the Directory of Best Indian Blogs for 2013-14

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  3. Jai Sree Ram. We all commit sins knowingly and unknowingly.You can ask for forgiveness by reciting the hanuman chalisa . Reciting the opening verses of the Hanuman Chalisa at night at least 8 times helps to remove the sins you may have committed.

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