Thursday, February 22, 2024

Amaravati Temple – History, Timings, Architecture

Amaravati Temple also Referred to as Amaralingeswara Swamy or Amararama Situated in Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh, the shrine devoted to Lord Shiva stands as one of the pancharama kshetras. This temple rests on the southern bank of the Krishna River.

Since the Sivalinga is tall here, the archakas put up a pedestal platform where they do regular rituals and Abhisheka.

The Linga has a red stain on its surface. People say that Sivalinga was getting bigger, so a nail was driven into the top to stop it from getting bigger. It looks like when the nail went through the Sivalinga, blood started to come out of it.


ALSO READ: Pancharama Kshetras in Andhra Pradesh


Quick Facts

  • Address: Amaravati, Andhra Pradesh
  • District: Guntur 
  • Affiliation: Hinduism
  • Deity:  Lord Shiva
  • Entry Fee: Free
  • Timings: 6.00 AM To 12.00 PM & 4.00 PM To 8.00 PM
  • Visit Duration: 1 to 2 hours
  • Dress Code: decent outfit recommended
  • Festivals: Maha Shivarathri , Kartika Purnima
  • Best Time to Visit: January– March
  • Dress Code: Decent clothes recommended

Amaravati Temple also known as Amaralingeswara Swamy Temple has a rich history, closely intertwined with the devotion of King Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu, who ruled over Chintapalli and later Dharanikota.

A fervent worshiper of Amareshwara, the king significantly expanded and continually renovated the temple. A compelling legend narrates a period when the king, faced with a rebellion of the Chenchus, resorted to a regrettable massacre.

Tormented by remorse and a disturbed peace of mind, he returned to Amaravathi in 1796, shifting from Chintapalli, and dedicated the rest of his life, time, and resources to constructing Shiva temples.

Under King Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu’s patronage, the Amaralingeswara temple underwent extensive renovation. He appointed nine Archakas (priests) to conduct daily Archana (pooja) to God, ensuring their sustenance and providing each priest with twelve acres of land.

In the ancient tales, Shiva resided in Dhanyakataka alongside his Ganas. The legend unfolds with Shiva granting a boon to the demon king, Tarakasura, empowering him to vanquish the gods.

This region earned the name Amaravati as the defeated Devas sought refuge here. The fierce battle between Indra, the king of gods, and Tarakasura spanned ten thousand years. Indra, facing defeat, turned to Vishnu for guidance, who advised him to invoke Shiva, the granter of the demon’s boon.

Shiva, reluctant to harm his devout disciple Tarakasura, delegated Kumara Swamy to lead the army of the Devas. Tarakasura, wearing the Shiva Lingam around his neck, seemed invincible. Acting on Vishnu’s counsel, Kumara Swamy wielded the Agni Astra to obliterate the Shiva Lingam.

Upon Tarakasura’s demise, the shattered Shiva Lingam on his neck fragmented into five pieces, initiating an attempt to reunite.

To prevent this reunion, Indra, Surya Deva, Chandra Deva, Vishnu, and Kumara Swamy collectively reconstructed the Lingam with profound devotion. Indra, guided by his Guru Brahaspati, assembled the most crucial piece, naming it God Amareswara.

Concerns raised by Shukrachrya, the Guru of the demons, about potential flooding from the Krishna River were addressed by Brihaspati.

He explained that the initial fragment had fallen on the summit of Krouncha Shaila, traversing to Patala, where it began its growth. Even in the event of a river overflow, the area would remain unaffected. Presently, the Krishna River continues its course from north to south in the region.

The sacred significance of these locations is immortalized in the Panchakarma Kshetras, marking the spots where the Shiva Lingam fragmented into five parts and dispersed.

The central divine figure manifests as a towering 15-foot Shiva Lingam. The temple structure comprises three stories, each adorned with four pillars facing the cardinal directions. Dravidian-style towers grace the four corners of the temple.

On the second level, Kaala Bhairava assumes the role of Kshetra Palaka. Srisaila Mallikarjuna occupies the south-west, Kashi Vishweswarar stands in the north-west, Chandiswara resides in the north-east, and Srikalahasteswara graces the south-east on the third level.

Amaravati’s Kota chiefs etched numerous inscriptions onto the Amaralingeswara temple walls. The renowned Vijayanagara Emperor Sri Krishnadevaraya also left his mark through inscriptions.

An additional inscription is attributed to the wife of Ketaraja, the minister to the Kota king. Responding to structural concerns, King Vasireddy Venkatadri Naidu undertook the reconstruction of the temple’s Gopuram, uncovering ancient relics dating back 1800 years during this restoration.

The primary deity is the revered Shiva Lingam, worshipped as Amareswara, with Bala Chamundika as the consort. Archakas, tasked with daily rituals, ascend a pedestal platform to access the Shiva Lingam.

The Lingam’s apex is stained red, a phenomenon attributed to a restraining nail preventing further growth. Devotees still observe the blood-like stain, a testament to the profound connection with this sacred site.

According to the Skanda Purana, at the end of the Dwapara Yuga and the beginning of the Kaliyuga, Sage Sounakadi questioned Sage Narada about the most effective means of attaining salvation.

The latter recommended that Sage Sounakadi take a daily bath in the Krishna River and reside on its banks, which Krishna had created.

Sage Narada taught Sage Sounakadi the story of the Amareswara temple, explaining that Shiva materialized as a Lingam to grant the wishes of his devotees.

He added that a person who washed in the Krishna River and worshipped Amareswara in this temple would be sinless.

The devotees who remained at the location for three days and worshipped Shiva with devotion would reach Shiva Loka. Here, Shiva would absorb any devotee who died.

By Air

The nearest airport is at Vijayawada, located 56 kilometers away. From there you can take a cab or bus to reach the temple.

By Rail

Pedakurapadu is the nearest railway station under the Guntur Railway division. Guntur is well-connected to all parts, and trains are running through South India, and touch Guntur.

By Road

The State Transport Corporation runs RTC bus services from Guntur, Vijayawada, and Mangalagiri, to the temple. Cabs and auto-rickshaws are available from the city nearest to the temple.

Amaravati is 30 kilometers from Guntur’s central bus station.

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