Mangalagiri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple

Apart from Panakala Narasimha Swamy, there is another Narasimha Swamy Temple in Mangalagiri – Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple. It is located t the foot of the Mangalagiri hill. This temple’s origin is traced to the time of Yudhishtira, the eldest of the pandavas.

Yudhishtira is said to be the founder of the chief image of this temple and the deity here is called Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. In Vijayawada itself, which is 8 miles from Mangalagiri there is a hill called Indrakeeladri in which Arjuna is said to have done tapascharya (penance) in order to obtain the weapon Pasupata from Lord Siva. About 200 years back Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu who ruled from Amaravati as his capital constructed a stupendous gopuram (tower) on the eastern gate of the Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.

It is one of the highest gopurams in South India and only one of its type in this part of India. It is 153ft. in height and 49 feet wide with 11 storeys, and gates facing east and west. This great and imposing tower dwarfs the central shrine. The devoted patience of thousands of skilled craftsmen and the labour of many more apprentices which had gone into this great structure is a testimony to the religious fervour which characterized the builder. After constructing the gopuram, it was leaning towards one direction. The Kancheepuram Architects suggested to dig a tank opposite to the tower. After digging the tank, it is said that, the tower became straight.

The Image of the Lord in the form of Narasimha (man-lion) and that of Lakshmi Devi to his left are of stone. The garland of the Lord with 108 saligramams is of special significance here. Dakshanavrutha Sankham, a special conch believed to be one that was used by Lord Krishna and resented by the Maharaja Sarfoji of Tanjore, is one more possession of significance of the Lord.

There is also an ancient ratha (temple car) belonging to the temple with ornamental wood carvings depicting the scenes from the great epics of Bharata, Bhagavatha and Ramayana. Thimmaraju Devaraju a military chieftain of the Vijayanagar rulers improved this temple. He had constructed prakarams (compound walls), mandapas, gopurams (towers), five images of Lord Bhairava, a festival chariot, ten varieties of courts for annual ceremonies, flower gardens lakes and tanks. He had also installed utsava vigrahas in the temple (metal images intended for being taken out in procession).

To the north of the temple there is a temple of Sri Rajyalakshmi to the south that of Rama with Sita and Lakshmana and to the west vahanasala (the store house for the vehicles of which the golden garudavahanam, the silver Hanumanthavahanam and ponnavahanam are noteworthy). The Lakshmi narayana temple and the Anjaneya Mandiram in Pedda Bazar are the other places of worship in the town.

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