Sri Ayyappa Sametha Sri Lalitha Devi – Shankara Narayana Swamy Devalayam”.
One man’s Vision for the betterment of the society.
Myself Jayadevan Balakrishnan with my Writing Partner Ganesh Iyer would like to share with you about a Sanatana Dharma temple in Hyderabad where you witness Hindu Gods and Gurus at one place.
Most of you if not all, might have heard about Sri Kancharla Goppanna or as he is famously referred to, as Bhakta Ramadasu, who constructed the Sita Ramachandraswamy Temple at Bhadrachalam. He was the one who raised funds for the renovation and reconstruction of this neglected temple. He was however punished for this by the then Nizam and imprisoned for 12 years and accused of using government money without approval.
This Navaratri, I happened to come across a similar person, Late Shri K.H. Shankarnarayanan who constructed a temple by donating his retirement compensation and savings in its entirety, with some additional donations from a few devotees. This is the “Sri Ayyappa Sametha Sri Lalitha Devi Shankara Narayana Swamy Devalayam”. The main deities here, as the name suggests are Lord Ayyappa and Goddess Lalitha Devi.
But this temple though, is a little different and unique. The thing that’s distinctive about it is the fact that consecrated in the Sannidhanam, along with some of the major Hindu deities are idols of some of the most revered Gurus of Sanatana dharma. This is because Shri Shankarnarayanan envisioned it to be a place of congregation for all those who practice Sanatana dharma; regardless of which of its variety of denominations, they subscribe to.
To introduce you all to the man behind this novel venture, Shri Shankaranarayan . This is a person who believed strongly in the power of human relations and cohesiveness. His sole intent through the vision for this temple was to bring communities together. For this I refer to him as – “Manavadasu – a person who lived for people”. Manavadasu was from the Iyer Brahmin and was born in the Nagapattinam village of Tanjore district. His father was a Solider in the Army and mother a home maker. He did his MA and married Padma at the age of 25 years.
Manavadasu landed in Hyderabad for survival and succeeded securing a clerical job in the Indian Railways. Whenever he went around the city visiting various temples, he used to feel sad to see that the city did not have a temple where all devotes irrespective of caste or stream of worship. So with that in mind, he set himself a goal of doing so, for which he purchased a plot during 1970’s in the outskirts of the city with what he could afford.
As days passed and having settled his family and having taken care of the needs of his extended family, he started working on fulfilling his dream, the goal he set for himself 30 odd years back. He started saving a small bit of his salary post his regular expenses and the savings for his family. All this while not even once compromising his commitments towards his family, his aged parents and also his younger siblings. He ensured education for his brothers and his own children. He took care of the fact that his entire joint family was well taken care of in terms of nutrition and other social needs and that everyone around him were content.
By the time he had retired, the surroundings around the land he had purchased had started developing a little but was still remote and inaccessible from the main road. Till 2010, FCI Road street 7 KM away from Nacharam, Hyderabad is not on the map. This meant he would have to walk close to 14 Kms to & fro in just 1 visit to the temple site. He also had to travel around the area to meet many people, find masons, skilled sculptors who would help him with the construction. There had to be strict adherence paid to the directives of the Agama Shastra.
With the help of his friends and some scholars, work started on the construction of the shrine. This was again no walk in the park but after facing multiple challenges and with great difficulties the temple was finally consecrated with a Kumbha Abhishekam in the Feb of 2007. This event was witnessed by none other than Peetadhipathi Sri Sri Vidyaranya Swamy, Hampi Virupaksha Peetam. With his blessings and guidance, the Prana Prathishta of all the idols were done.
The temple is constructed in the area of 200 Square Yards. It has two entrances, with the main entrance (Muka Dwara) North facing. As you enter, you get the darshan of the Kshetrapalaka Sri Anajenaya Swamy. Thereon you get to see Sri Bhadrachala Sita Rama Swamy, Devi Maha Saraswati, Sri Dattatreya Swamy, Sri Sai Baba, Sri Badrinarayana Swamy, Guru Veerabhramendra Swamy, Sri Ayyappa Swamy, Guru Ramanujacharya, Sri Kedaranatha Swamy, Guru Madhavacharya, Sri Palani Andi, Guru Adi Shankaracharya, Sri Vinayakar and Guru Raghavendra Swamy and Devi Lalitha Tripurasundari. The temple also has a section for the Navagraham and a Peepal tree.
During the year, the main celebrations at the temple are:
- On December 25th every year, Ayyapppa Padi Pooja followed with Anandanam. This tradition was started during 2007 and still continues to this day. During the first event, around 50 baktas had anna prasadam and now every year around 1000 people consume the Anna Prasadam during the celebrations.
- In April, there is Ayyappa Vishu/Makara Sankramam Pooja – The state of Kerala celebrates New year on this day
- On every Sri Rama Navami. Sita Rama Kalyanam is celebrated followed with Anna Prasadam.
- During the 9 days during Navaratri & Dashami, every day Lalitha Devi is adorned in one the forms of Goddess Durga. On the 7th day, a Chandihomam is performed and 5 varieties of Prasadam are prepared to be distributed to all devotees.
Apart from this, lot of local people take Ayyappa Diksha here and perform the Mala Dharanam during the Karthika Masam of both Telugu and Malayalam calendar.
In addition to this, through the year the temple performs a Samuhika (the collective) Satyanarayana Pooja, Shivaratri and Bathukamma.
Notably, during Corona pandemic period, a special Chandihomam was performed for 41 days to facilitate and benefit everyone’s well-being.
The Head Priest Sri Pashupathynatham Garu, since the time he took responsibility ensured that the temple’s prosperity in terms of the devotees who visit it, is managed in the best possible manner. He has taken several initiatives in the temple locally and got funds which helped to improve the temple facilities. His knowledge in the shastras and setting muhurtas (Auspicious day and time) has helped a lot of people gain divine assistance and prosper in their lives and attain the blessings of Bhagawan. He is said to be blessed with Vak Shuddhi and there have been numerous incidents which have reinforced this belief.
The temple is managed by Smt. S. Padma, wife of Manavadasu with the support of her childrens. All the decisions with regards to the temple are taken by S. Padma garu.
I would urge everyone to visit this Temple at least once when they are in or around Hyderabad and experience the divinity of the kshetram as I have over these years.
Special thanks to all the individuals who have supported during this mission and holy work. Sri V V Suppamani Vadyar, Shri Aravamudha Iyengar and Shri Arumugam. Thanks to the devotees who have supported during the construction of temple and continuing. Let almighty give you all a good health and prosperous in the life.
For any information about temple, performing poojas, muhurtham etc please contact
Alaya Poojari: Shri Pashupathynatham Garu and Contact Number is: 9885650474
Location Map: Click Here