Kotappakonda Temple (Lord Shiva Temple – Trokoteshwara Swamy Temple) is one of the popular Shaivite Temples in Andhra Pradesh as well as in South India. Kotappakonda, the temporal abode of Trikoteswara Swamy, is a village, 13 kilometers south-west of Narsaraopet in Guntur district. Its original name is Kondakavuru, but is more popularly known as Kotappakonda or Trikutaparvatam, a three-peaked hill nearby.
Though surrounded by other hills, the three hills, also known by the names of Trikutachalam or Trikutadri, can be distinctly seen from a distance from any direction. The three peaks are named after the Hindu Triumverate, Brahma, Vishnu and Maheswara.
The epigraphs at Kotappakonda clearly state that the deity established in the shape of Sivalinga on the hill top is known as Trikuteswara or Trikoteswara. A steep flight of steps lead to the hill and the deity is located at a height of 1,587 feet. There are a number of ponds on the hill of which eight are located in front of the temple.
Mahasivaratri, which falls during February-March, is the important festival celebrated here with great devotion and fervor every year and a large number of devotees throng the place. The sleepy village comes alive on the eve of Mahasivaratri. Milling crowds occupy every inch of the space on and around the hill.
‘Prabhas’, rectangular frames tapering at the top made of bamboo and decorated with colored cloth and paper, of different sizes are taken in procession as part of the festival. Most of them are 60 to 70 feet high and are carried by the devotees. But the giant prabhas, rising to a height of over 100 feet, are carried on decorated and lighted bullock carts accompanied by a large following. They are placed on a meadow at the foot of the hill. Large manpower, money and material is needed to erect these prabhas and promote a spirit of cooperation and unification enthusing the villagers.
Of late it has been given a face lift with many facilities and attractions for not only the devout but an average tourist sojourn and serenity. The place is all set to become a major tourist attraction, providing “Rakthi, Bhakthi and Mukthi” (entertainment, devotion and salvation) to the visitors. The local MLA and Minster for Medical & Health, Sri.Dr.Kodela Sivaprasada Rao has taken a lot of initiative in mustering funds from the government as well as private parties to develop the place as an integrated project.
The temple precincts and the sanctum sanctorum are renovated and Bharathi Teertha Swamijiof Sringeri Peetham consecrated the deity in the new premises. A “View Point” is erected on the corner of the hill to provide a breathtaking overall view of the surroundings. A ghat road was constructed to ease the climbing and allow the pilgrims take in and enjoy nature’s bounty in its full splendor, in place of an arduous climb up the steep steps and also to accommodate the growing number of visitors. The entire stretch of the road is lighted and a deer park is developed on the way.
A small lake is created on the hill, depicting “Kaleeya Nardhana”, with the statue of Lord Krishna dancing on the head of Kaleeya (a venomous snake) was placed with special lighting effects in the middle of the lake. Water flows into the lake from various watershed programs developed at many places on the hill, a blend of modernity with past. Another attraction for the tourists is the artificial jurassic park with mobile dinosaurs of monstrous size developed by a private company at a cost of Rs. 1 million.
Sanctuaries for peacocks, doves, emos and parrots was developed by the Forest Department. Four VIP guest houses and a 30-room choultry was constructed by the Endowments Department and the TTD to cater to tourist needs. All this was done on a war footing in a little over two months. Yet another feature of the integrated tourist project is the meditation center, constructed on the lines of the one at Mount Abu, on the top of the hill and an exclusive “Yaga Shala” for conducting ‘homam’ (holy fire) with a sprawling dining hall. On the anvil are a ropeway to provide a view of the various tourist spots and a museum to house the artefacts that were discovered in the excavations.
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