Mangalagiri is one of the eight self-manifested Mahakshetrams (sacred places) in India. The eight sites where Lord Vishnu manifested himself include:
(1) Sri Rangam
Thotadri is now known as Mangalagiri. Goddess Lakshmi has done great tapasya on this hill. That is why this hill lives to the term The auspicious hill (mangalagiri).
Temples in Mangalagiri –
There are three Narasimha Swamy temples in Mangalagiri.
- One is the Panakala Narasimha Swamy which is the main temple.
- Another one is Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy standing at the foot of the hill temple.
- The third one is Gandala Narasimha Swamy located on the top of the hill.
How to reach Mangalagiri :
There are numerous ways to reach mangalagiri, but the most feasible and easy way is to land/ reach Vijayawada and travel by bus/car to the Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple.
How to Reach Mangalagiri by Bus?
APSRTC operates buses to Mangalagiri frequently from Vijayawada or Guntur. One can take a bus to Mangalagiri and take an auto from the Mangalagiri bus stand to the Panakala Swamy Temple
How to Reach Mangalagiri by Train?
A few trains stop by this station, however, it is recommended that one reaches Vijayawada or Guntur and takes a bus/car to Mangalagiri.
How to Reach Mangalagiri by Car?
One can follow and take the route NH5 from Vijayawada or Guntur and then take the Mangalagiri exit to reach the Panakalaswamy temple. The distance from Vijayawada or Guntur is around 12 Kms.
It takes around 20-25 mins to travel from Vijayawada or Guntur when travelled by Car.
We can reach the temple through steps-way on foot and also by a roadway.
History Of Mangalagiri
The temple priests tell a story that goes something like this.
Once upon a time, there lived a demon named ‘Namuchi.‘ The demon was famous for torturing people of all lokas. So, Lord Brahma and all other gods sought a solution from Vishnu.
Narasimha Swamy, an incarnation of Vishnu tried to kill the NAMUCHI demon with the Sudarshana Chakra. But, the demon Namuchi survived and hid in mangalagiri hills. He camouflaged as an insect and hid between the rocks. The Lord realized this and closed the hole thereby suffocating the demon thus killing Namuchi. All the Gods tried to subdue the Lord’s anger so in response Narasimha Swamy instructed them to offer drinks through his mouth which is 15cms wide inside the present temple.
Hence, the practice of pouring drinks into the Lords’ mouth started. People have poured Honey in Satyuga, Ghee in Treta Yuga, Milk in Dwapara Yuga and now Panaka in KaliYuga.
Inside the Panakala Narasimha Swamy temple – there is no statue of any god. But there is only the mouth, widely opened to 15 cms. The metal face of the god covers the mouth.
A dhwajasthambham was built in front of the temple in 1955. The stone inscription tells a different tale of the kings of Vijayanagar. Siddhiraju Thimmarajayya Devara granted a total of 200 acres of land in 28 villages of which Mangalagiri was one and gift of 40 kunchams by Chinna Thirumalayya to Ramanujakutam.
Sri Channapragada Balarama Dasu constructed the steps to the temple in 1890.
In 2004 Ghat road was constructed to reach the temple easily through vehicles.
Mangalagiri Temple Timings
The temple is open from early morning 7 a.m. to 4 p.m in the evening with the belief that devatas attend the temple after sunset and perform pujas. During Ekadashi days, the timings vary as they perform special pujas and remove the metal kavach and only the mouth is visible. Utthara Gali Gopuram (Tower on North Side) in on the Vaikunta Ekadasi (Mukkoti) day.
Every Ekadasi, the Nijaroopa darshan starts from 6:00 am
Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple Timings
Temple opens at 07:00 am, and Archana starts from 07:00 am to 07:30 am. There is even a special Archana for the devotees and panakam offerings which happens from 07:30 am to 01: 00 pm. After this follows Maharnivedana at 01-00 pm and then around 3/330 pm, the temple gets ready for closing as it is believed that in the evening after sunset, Gods and Sages worship the Lord. So no Archana is performed in the evenings.
Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple Timings
Morning 05-00 to 12-30
Evening 04-00 to 08-30
Phenomena of Panakala Swamy
Panakalaswamy is offered jaggery water from a conch, and when the Jaggery water is poured into the mouth of the Lord, a gargling sound is audible. The sound stops after a while, and the remaining of the jaggery water in the conch is poured back to the devotee as Prasadam.
This is an interesting phenomenon which not only happens once in a day but whenever devotees offer panakam (jaggery water).
Another excellent observation would be that you cannot find even a single Ant or a Fly hovering over the Jaggery water or the prasadam served to the devotees.
There is a different story about the Panakam offering to the Lord. It is believed that the hill was once an active volcano. People started pouring Sugar or jaggery water to neutralize sulfur compounds in the volcano and prevent a volcanic eruption.
Behind the temple, there is the temple of Sri Lakshmi, to the west of which there is a natural cave. It is believed that it will lead to Undavalli caves on the banks of the Krishna River and the sages used to go to take a bath in Krishna River. Now, the cave is very dark, and the way is not visible.
Laxmi Narasimha Swamy Temple
At the foot of the hill, there is another temple whose origin dates back to the time of Yudhishthira, the eldest of the Pandavas. Yudhishthira is said to be the founder of this temple, and the deity here is called Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. In Vijayawada itself, there is a hill called Indrakeeladri where Arjuna is said to have done tapascharya (penance) to obtain the weapon Pasupata from Lord Siva.
About 200 years back Raja Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu who ruled from Amaravati constructed a grand 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 153 feet tall and 49 feet wide with 11 storeys, and gates face towards east and west respectively.
This vast and imposing tower dwarfs the central shrine. The devoted patience of thousands of skilled craftsmen and the labour of many more apprentices spent on this magnificent structure is a testimony to the religious fervour. After constructing the gopuram, it was leaning towards one direction. The Kancheepuram Architects suggested digging a tank opposite to the tower. After digging the tank, it is said that the tower became straight.
There is one more fantastic element that you can spot if you are fortunate enough like us. The adventurous goats climbing fences and wall. 😀