The hill temple of Mangalagiri
enshrines Pankala Narasimha and is located at an easily accessible
distance from Vijayawada. The three well known Narasimha shrines in
Andhra Pradesh are Ahobilam, Simhachalam and Mangalagiri.
Mangalagiri has two temples, one at
the foothills dedicated to Lakshmi Narasimha and the other on the
Mangalagiri hill dedicated to Pankala Narasimha.
Pankala (Paanakam in tamil) - a
solution of jaggery (unrefined sugar) in water, is the offering made to the presiding
deity Narasimha. This offering is actually poured into the mouth of the
rock cut image of the deity. It is believed that exactly half the amount of the liquid
poured, is regurgitated by the image. Also interestingly, despite the liberal use of sugar
(unrefined), there are no ants in the temple premises. It should be noted that the only
shrine in this temple is that of Narasimha.
The Mangalagiri hill is in the shape of an elephant. Legend
has it that a certain prince by name Hrusva Sringi was born with a number of bodily
deformities dedicated himself to a life of prayer, assuming a form of a huge elephant, at
the mouth of which Narasimha took abode.
The temple tank is known as the Lakshmi Pushkarini. Legend
has it that this pushkarini was created by the Gods, combining the waters from several
holy rivers of the land, and that Mahalakshmi (who came out of the milky ocean when it was
churned by the gods and the asuras), bathed in this pushkarini and married Vishnu
Legend has it that Rama offered
worship to Narasimha here.
The temple at the foothills of Mangalagiri - dedicated
to Lakshmi Narasimha, has an imposing 11 storeyed raja gopuram built by a
local chieftain. Inscriptions indicate that the Vijayanagar monarch Krishna Deva Raya
visited this temple. This temple celebrates it's annual festival in March.
Legend has it that this temple was
founded by the Pandava prince Yuddhishtra. It is to be noted that the Indrakila
hill in Vijayawada is associated through the Kiratarjuniya legend with Arjuna. It is
to be noted that that legend has it that that the Mallikarjuna temple at
Vijayawada was installed by Yuddhishtra and that the Vijayeswara
temple there was installed by Arjuna.
Abodes of Vishnu