A Unique Feature
The renowned temple of Lord Narasimha, one of the 'Nine Avatars' of Vishnu, is located on the Hillock at Mangalagiri, 12-km south of Vijayawada. The Unique feature of this temple, according to the devout is the fact that the deity accepts only half of the quantity of the 'Panakam' (jaggery dissolved in water) offered by the devotees, irrespective of the quantity offered.
The jaggery water is actually poured into the mouth of the Lord, and Lord Narayana shows that he has fully satisfied himself, when half of water is thrown back as a 'Prasada' to the devotees. While the jaggery water is being poured into the mouth of the Lord a gurgling sound is clearly audible as if the Lord is actually drinking it, and the sound becomes shriller and shriller, as and when the Lord is drinking, till at last the sound stops, and the balance of the jaggery water is thrown out.
This phenomenon happens not once in a day, but once for every pilgrim who visits the temple. In addition, in spite of the fact that so much of jaggery and jaggery water is thrown out, there is not a single ant seen near the bill. It is on account of this special characteristic that the temple has acquired the name of Panakala Narasimha Swami temple.
The Peculiarities About The Temple
The two peculiarities of the temple are that the offering of jaggery water is made, and that too directly into the mouth of the Lord, and secondly that there is no other idol in the temple except that of Lord Narasimha Swami, whose face alone is sculptured in the hill itself.
This temple dates back to the Reddi chiefs of the 14th century. The mountain Mangalagiri itself appears in an elephant's shape and the temple is situated just at the mouth. There are four entrance 'Gopuras' leading to the temple. The main shrine in the middle of the compound is on a raised terrace facing eastwards. There is a small Garuda shrine in the front.
Mangalagiri has a hill with a cave, which attracts crowds for its sanctity. At the foot of the steps, leading up the hill, is a column with inscriptions giving an account of the capture of the Kondavidu fort by the Vijaynagara Empire. This column is called the victory pillar.
The temple with its imposing gopuram in the south and the sacred Lord Narasimha Swami at the top is still attracting pilgrims in large numbers. It is one of the most sacred spots in Andhra and is noted both for its sanctity as well as for its historical importance. At the foot of the hill is the ancient 'Rajya Lakshmi Narasimha Swami' temple, with an imposing Raja Gopuram, supposedly the tallest in Andhra Pradesh.
The important festivals of this temple are the Brahmotsavam, which lasts for twelve days in March and the other usual festivals like the 'Vaikunta Ekadashi Day, Sriramanavami, 'Hanuman Jayanthi', 'Narasimha Jayanthi' etc.
Rail: The nearest railway station
is Mangalagiri on the Guntur -
Road: To visit the temple, the better course would be to get down either at Vijayawada or at Guntur and take bus connections.
There are three choultries of this temple in addition to a local fund choultry, a Madhava choultry, a Vysya choultry and a Brahman choultry. The pilgrims are given all facilities for a comfortable stay here. Since it is close by to Vijayawada and Guntur, one can always stay at either of the places.