Mangalagiri Temple (Panakala Narasimha Swamy Temple & Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple) is one of the famous Temples dedicated to Lord Narasimha Swamy (Lion-Human incarnation of Lord Vishnu). Mangalagiri is located in Guntur district at a distance of 13 km from Vijayawada and 21 kms from Guntur in Andhra Pradesh.
Mangalagiri means – The Auspicious Hill. This place is one of the 8 important Mahakshetrams (sacred places) in India. The eight places where Lord Vishnu manifested himself are Sri Rangam, Srimushnam, Naimisam, Pushkaram, Salagamadri, Thothadri, Narayanasramam and Venkatadri. Thotadri is the present Mangalagiri. Lakshmi Devi has done tapas on this hill. That’s why it got this name (The auspicious hill).
There are three Narasimha Swamy temples in Mangalagiri. One is Panakala Narasimha Swamy on the hill. Another one is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy at the foot of the temple. Third one is Gandala Narasimha Swamy at the top of the hill.
This shape of the hill looks like an elephant. From all the directions, the hill appears in the elephant shape only. There is an interesting legend to show as to how the mountain came into existence. Pariyatra, an ancient king had a son Hrasva Srungi visited all holy and sacred places to regain normal bodily stature and finally visited this holy place of Mangalagiri and stayed for three years performing penance. All the Devathas (Gods) advised him to stay at Mangalagiri and continue to do penance in praise of Lord Vishnu. The father of Hrasva Srungi came with his retinue to take back his son to his kingdom. But Hrasva Srungi took the shape of an elephant to become the abode of Lord Vishnu who is locally known as Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy.
The temple of Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy is situated on the hill. On the right side of the steps provided to reach the temple, there is a stone inscription by Sri Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar and a little further up, the foot prints of Mahaprabhu Chaitanya are to be seen. Midway on the steps there is a temple of Lord Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy there is only the face with the mouth widely opened. A dhwajasthambham was erected in front of the temple in 1955. Behind the temple there is the temple of Sri Lakshmi, to the west of which there is a tunnel which is believed to lead to Vundavalli caves on the banks of the Krishna. The stone inscription of the kings of Vijayanagar relate besides to the conquest of Rayalu over Kondapalli etc., that Siddhiraju Thimmarajayya Devara granted a total of 200 kunchams (10 kunchams make one acre) land in 28 villages of which Mangalagiri was one and gift of 40 kunchams by China Thirumalayya to Ramanujakutam.
The steps to the temple were constructed by Sri Channapragada Balaramadasu in 1890. There was a cave next the devi temple on the hill. It is said that, there is a way to Vundavalli from that cave, and the sages used to go by that way to take bath in Krishna River. Now, the cave is very dark, and the way could not be seen.