Temples in Andhra Pradesh

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Map showing Temples of Andhra Pradesh
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Andhra Pradesh is one of the states in India where various styles of temples are found.

During the 1st century AD, Satavahanas contributed in the construction of many works of art, the remains of theses architectures can be seen at Amaravati near Guntur in Andhra Pradesh. At the excavations at Nagarjunakonda many temples built by Ikshvakus were found.

The Tirupati Venkateswara Temple and the Kalahasteeswara Temple are the oldest temples in Andhra Pradesh, belonging to the pre Christian times. The history of Andhra Pradesh informs us about the the architectural styles of the temples situated here. This ancient temple of Tirupati is dedicated to Balaji or Venkatachalapati.The Jyotirlingas of Shiva is placed in Sree Sailam near Kurnool. The Alampur Nava Bhramma Temples are built by the Chalukyas. It comprises of the nine ancient temples dedicated to Shiva and constructed after the 7th century. The North East of Andhra Pradesh was ruled by the Ganga Kings and built temples which reflect the Orissa style of architecture. The Sree Sailam temple and the embellished Lepakshi temples were built and patronized by the Vijayanagar Empire. Hanumakonda was the ancient capital of the Kakatiyas of Warangal. The thousand pillar temple is situated here which is an example of great craftsmanship. Thus, the temples of Andhra Pradesh acknowledges the history and the patronage of dynasties like the Cholas, the Pallavas, the Chalukyas of Deccan , the Eastern Gangas and the Vijayanagar Kings.

Thousand Pillar Temple

Thousand Pillar Temple- Warangal is 150 kms away from Hyderabad. It was built by King Rudra Deva in the year 1163 A.D. Warangal is flooded with splendid temples, historical monuments and huge forts. This region has been beautified by the Kakatiya rulers. The Thousand Pillar Temple reflects the magnificence of the Chalukya kings.

The Thousand Pillar Temple- Warangal is built in the shape of a star. The temple constitutes of three shrines, where the presiding deities are Lord Shiva, Lord Vishnu and Lord Surya. As the name of the temple reflects there are one thousand intricately carved pillars. The sculpture of 'Nandi' the holy bull of Lord Shiva, carved out of a monolithic black basalt stone has a glossy finish which is a splendid piece of art. The Thousand Pillar Temple is constructed, on the slopes of the Hanumakonda hill, on a 1 metre high platform. Many small shrines dedicated to Lord Shiva encircle the garden of the temple.

Tirupati Temple

Tirupati Temple is one of the most visited pilgrimage centers of India. People come to the temple to worship Venkateswara, or Srinivasa or Balaji, incarnation of Vishnu, one of the trinities of Indian mythology. The shrine is located on the Seven Hills of the Eastern Ghats in Tirupati, in the Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh. The architecture of the main temple of Tirupati Temple is glorious and magnificent. The Vimana constructed over the sanctum and the Dhwajasthambam are gold plated. The temple received patronage from the Pallavas, Pandyas, Cholas, Vijayanagar rulers and later on by the Mysore king.

the Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (TTD) looks after the maintenance and administration of the temple. Apart from it the committee has to look after the welfare of the pilgrims, and sponsor several religious, charitable, social and educational institutions. The Tirupati Temple has been mentioned in the sacred Puranas. There are 108 holy temples in the Sri Vaishnavite tradition (Sri Vaishnava Divya Desams), Tirupati Temple is one among them. Krishna Deva Raya of the Vijayanagar Kingdom came to the temple 7 times to worship the Lord. The Venkatesa Itihasa Mala and the Varaha Purana features a number of legends associated with the temple.

Srisailam Temple

The Srisailam Temple – Kurnool is located among the deep green forests of Nallamalai hills. The Sri Sailam Temple has beautified the Kurnool District of Andhra Pradesh. It is one of the sacred places in South India. The ancient temple of Sri Sailam or Sree Sailam stands on the shores of River Krishna. This river is also known as 'Pataalganga', Rudra Parvata, Seshachalam, Sri Giri and Sriparvata.

Sri Sailam Temple has secured its name in several ancient texts and Puranas. The deities who reside in the temple of Sri Sailam are Sri Mallikarjuna Swami and his wife Bharamaramba. They are the incarnations of Lord Shiva and his consort Parvati. The Shiva linga that is worshipped in the Sri Sailam Temple is believed to be one of the twelve Jyotirlingams that the country has. The sculptures in the temple are excellent. A total number of about one hundred and sixteen inscriptions can be found in and around the temple.

Birla Mandir

The Birla Mandir – Hyderabad is a modern temple on the top of a hill. It is built out of white marble. The Birla Group of Industries in India has built several temples across the country. All the temples are very beautiful. The one in Hyderabad is no exception. The deity residing here is Venkateswara, one among the many forms of Lord Vishnu.

The Birla Temple exhibits a beautiful blend of architectural styles. The Rajagopuram, which is built in the South Indian style, welcomes the visitors. There is a tower over the main shrine of Venkateswara, which is called Jagadananda vimanam. It is built in the Orissa style of architecture. The other towers have been built in the South Indian style.

The main deity is made out of granite and is about eleven feet tall. A carved lotus acts as an umbrella for this image of Venkateswara. In the adjacent hall, ‘mukha mandapam’, there are marvelous architectural works engraved in marble. These depict scenes from Indian mythology. The white temple looks like a beautiful dreamland at nights.

JaganMohini Keshava Swami Temple

JaganMohini Keshava Swami Temple is located in Ryali in the East Godavari district of Andhra Pradesh. The temple has been built by the Chola king, Sri Raja Vikrama Deva during 11th Century. The temple is dedicated to Lord Mahavishnu engraved on a monolithic, five-foot-high stone. On the opposite side of the idol, the image of Mohini is carved. The idol is splendidly engraved on both sides. The image of Mahavishnu is surrounded by the images of Sridevi, Bhoodevi, Adi Sesha, Lord Krishna as Govardhanadhaari and sage Narada.

One of the unique characteristics of JaganMohini Keshava Swami Temple is that the sacred river Ganga flows from the feet of Lord Vishnu, thus witnessing the truth that Akasa Ganga originates from Lords feet. In front of the Vishnu temple there is a temple enshrining Lord Shiva as Uma Kamandaleshwara, which is said to be installed by Lord Brahma.

The legend behind JaganMohini Keshava Swami Temple is that to taste the Divine nectar both Devatas and Rakshas were quarrelling among themselves. So Sree Maha Vishnu in the guise of an exquisitely beautiful lady Mohini distributed it among the Devatas for the sake of universal peace and welfare. Lord Shiva was enticed by the beauty of Mohini and he chased her. A flower fell down from the hair of Mohini which was smelled by Lord Shiva, so the place is called Ryali, which means 'fall' in Telugu. One of the unique features of the temple is that Vishnu and Lord Siva Temples are placed opposite to each other in East, West direction.

Manthani Temple

A seventy two Kilometers journey from the city of Karimnagar will take you to heritage site of Manthani. The place is one of the most ancient centers of Vedic learning and several Vedic scholars resides in the area till today. Among other places of interests in the archaeological site, the Manthani Temple – Karimnagar is a prime attraction.

The Manthani Temple of Karimnagar in Andhra Pradesh has a great archaeological, historical and religious significance. In fact Manthani is blessed with not one but several ancient temples. Some of them are Lord Saileshwara Temple, Laxmi Narayana Swamy Temple, Mahalaxmi Temple, Gautameswara Temple, Vinayaka Temple, Dattatreay Temple, Saraswati Temple, Ramalayam Temple, Panchayatanam Temple and the Omkeshwara Temple. The Manthani temples are reminiscent of early Buddhist and Jain cultures, which makes it clear that Manthani was an important center for Jainism and Buddhism. The Manthani Temple has Gautameswar or Lord Shiva as the main worshiped deity.

Manthani is easily accessible from Karimnagar as taxis and buses are frequently available. The Manthani village is surrounded by the sacred Godavari river in the northern side, Bokkala Vaagu in the south, a lush green reserve forest in the east and Ravula Cheruvu – a small lake in the Western side. The main village is a small area of six Square Meters of area. Most of the temples in Manthani are built during the Kakatiya period.

Suryanarayana Temple

Suryanarayana Temple, Arasavalli- Sri Kakulam was built during the 7th century by the Kalinga rulers of Orissa. Arasavalli is situated at Srikakulam near Vishakapatnam in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The temple enshrines the Sun (Suryanarayana) God. The idol has been carved from a black granite 5 feet in height holding lotus buds, surrounded by his consorts Padma, Usha and Chhaaya. The idol is depicted riding on a chariot driven by seven horses. The gate keepers Pingala and Danda and the saints Sanaka and Sananda are portrayed on the base of the idol. Aruna (Anoora), Lord Surya's charioteer is also portrayed in the image.

The Eastern Kalinga rulers who dominated the Kalinga region from the 4th to the 14th century constructed Suryanarayana Temple, Arasavalli- Sri Kakulam. The inscriptions on the temple reflect the fact that the grants given by the descendants of Kalinga rulers like Aditya Vishnu Sarma and Bhanu Sarma has been utilized to maintain the temple. The temple we see at perent is the resu;lt of the renovations done during the 18th century.

The Temple is said to be a panchayatana temple, with five deities, Aditya in the center, with Ganesha, Shiva, Parvati and Vishnu in four corners. The magnificent idol of Indra lies in the center of Suryanarayana Temple, Arasavalli- Sri Kakulam. One of the major celebrations of the temple is the Maha Sourayagam,organized for the welfare of the humanity at large.People from far off plcaes come to receive the grace of Lord as it is believed people suffering with skin diseases, blindness and barrenness are cured remarkably, if they worship at the temple.

Kurma Temple

The Kurma Temple - Sri Kakulam is one exceptional temple, which is dedicated to a rare incarnation of Lord Vishnu. The more than seven hundred years old temple is dedicated to Kurma or the tortoise incarnation of the Lord. What we see today is not the original temple, which was built in 200 A.D.

The idol structure comprises of two stones of around two feet in length. The stones come out from the ground represents the head and the body of the Lord – Sri Kurma. Located on the banks of the beautiful Swati Puskarini Lake, the temple has a divine entrance adorned with magnificent sculptures. The inner sanctum of the temple is adorned with wonderful idols on both the sides. On one side there are statues of Laxmana, Rama and Sita and on the other side there are statues of Govindadeva - Lord Krishna and his Sakhis or female friends.

Another striking feature of the Kurma Temple of Andhra Pradesh is the position of the main deity - Kurmadeva. He sits with his back to the entrance, that is in the west while the temple faces the east. There is a legendary story associated with this interesting aspect of the temple. It is said that Bhilmangala Thakura prayed with such devotion that the deity turned around and blessed him. Popular believe is that Bhilmangal's body is still buried under the temple. A small temple is also present beside the main temple. The place is popular with both the devotees and the general tourists.

Rajarajeshwara Temple

Raja Rajeshwara Temple- Karimnagar is located at Vemulawada, 150 km away from Hyderabad. This pilgrimage center is visisted by lakhs of people and is popularly known as the Dakshana Kashi (Benaras of South India). Sri Raja Rajeswara Swamy also called Rajanna by devotees is th e pesiding deity of the temple. Alongwith Rajanna, the idol of Sri Raja Rajeswari Devi and the idol of Sri Laxmi Sahitha Siddi Vinayaka, placed to the right and left of the presiding deity is also worshipped.

There is a holy tank in the premise of Raja Rajeshwara Temple- Karimnagar known as the Dharma Gundam. On it three mandapas are built and the idol of Lord Eshwara is in the center. The deity has been depicted in a meditation posture and the tank is surrounded by the five lingas. According to the Puranas, Lord Siva lived at various places like Kashi, Chidambaram, Srisailam and Kedareswaram but finally chose to stay at Vemulawada.

The festival of Sivaratri is celebrated on a large scale; nearly three to four lakh pilgrims visit Raja Rajeshwara Temple- Karimnagar. To celebrate the festival special poojas are held. Hundreds of archakas is carry out the Mahalingarchana. While during the midnight, Ekadasa Rudrabhishekham is performed to the deity. On the festive occasion the temple is decorated with flowers and lights. The temple earns huge revenues, in terms of earning revenues it ranks next to Tirupati. Every year the temple donates Rs. 8 lakhs to the gram Panchayat of the region for various developmental activities.

Lepakshi temple

The Lepakshi temple situated in Anantapur district of Andhra Pradesh, is also known as Veerabhadra temple. The architecture of the temple reflects the Vijayanagar style and located 480 km from Hyderabad. The architectural beauty of the temple is unparalleled with fine carvings arts. A 10 day long festival is celebrated in the month of February. On this occasion a car festival is conducted, which is attended by huge number of people.

A monolithic "Nandi" (the bull) sculpture of 6 ft. height and 8 mt. Length is placed in the Lepakshi temple. It is considered to be the biggest monolithic Nandi in India. The majestic artistry of Nandi sculpture is mesmerising fo the tourists. This popular pilgrimage center of Southern India is located centrally between Hindupur and Kodikonda check post. The Lepakshi temple can be divided into three sections - the 'Mukha Mandapa', (or the 'Nitya Mandapa' or 'Ranga Mandapa'), the 'Artha Mandapa' and 'Garbha Griha', and the 'Kalyana Mandapa'.

The sculptures and the mural paintings seen in the Natya and Kalyana Mandapams are exceptional for their artistic beauty and skill. Most of these sculptures portray the mythological puranic episodes like 'Ananthasayana', 'Dattatreya', 'Chaturmukha Bramha', 'Tumburu', 'Narada' and 'Rambha'. The Lepakshi temple has been built in honor of Lord Veerabhadra. According to the legend the Kalyana Mandapa of the temple had witnessed the marriage Lord Shiva and Parvati. The 'Natya' (Dancing) and 'Ardha' (worship) Mandapas are the best parts of the temp-le in terms of architecture. The 'Natya' Mandapa has been adorned with sculptured pillars depicting life-size musicians and dancers.

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Chennakesava Swamy Temple

One of the striking examples of the wide array of wonderful ancient temples in Andhra Pradesh is the Chennakesavaswami Temple – Cudappah. Believed to be built more than a thousand years ago, the Chennakesavaswami Temple in Cuddappah, Andhra Pradesh is a pride of the state. Though the temple has is situated some hundred Kilometers away from Tirupati, it is very much a part of Tirupati Package Tours. The Chennakesavaswami Temple was built by the Matti Rajahs who ruled the area at that time. The place is associated with Sri Annamacharya, the famed Sankeertana Achayulu. Sri Annamali was born to Lakkamamba and Sri Narayanasuri.

The Chennakesavaswami Temple of Andhra Pradesh lies in Pushpagiri, which is at a distance of sixteen Kilometers from the Cuddapah Town. This holy place for the Hindus is not only visited by the people of the same faith but people of all religions and classes. The archaeological value of the Chennakesavaswami Temple is immense and archaeologists and history lovers often visit the area. The Chennakesavaswami Temple carries the rich heritage of aesthetically sculptured south Indian temples. The temple is set in the backdrop of a picturesque location, thus presenting itself as a great tourist site.

Chennakesavaswami Temple can be visited any time of the year and the place is well connected with surface transports. The nearest airport is the Tirupati Airport. If you are touring in Andhra Pradesh and have no plans to visit the Chennakesavaswami Temple, then you are missing out on something spectacular.

Jain Temple

The Jain Temple-Warangal is a beautiful Jain temple in Kolanupaka, a place in Warangal in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Jain temples are as it is very beautiful and the Jain Temple in Warangal is a classic example of this beauty in its own uniqueness. Warangal is a place that is situated at about one hundred and forty kilometers from the city of Hyderabad. It was the capital of the glorious ancient Kingdom of Kakatiya. The place still contains the relics of the exemplary works in the spheres of architecture and engineering. The place is peaceful and somber. Amidst the serene surroundings, the temple of Saint Mahaveera stands with its own enormity and solemnity. The Jain Temple in Warangal is the proud owner of marvelous images of Thirthankaras. One witnesses a wonderful work of art in this temple. The images of Saint Mahaveera are entirely engraved out of a special kind of jade. This Jain Temple is an ancient temple of the great Saint Mahaveera. In Kolanupaka, it stands pretty for over two thousand years now. It has been a spectator to the history of the place. The Jain Temple also speaks volume about the Jain culture and ways of life. The Jain Community is a peace-loving one. They are meticulous about maintaining the principles of life and they strictly avoid violence. Jains are great lovers of calmness and the only thing they seek is enlightenment. This two thousand year old Jain temple of Saint Mahaveera is a very popular place of worship for Jains in the country.

Durga Temples

One of the greatest of Durga Temples of the country, the Devi Kanaka Durga – Vijayawada, Andhra Pradesh is different by its own capacity. The Devi Kanaka Durga is the abode of Kanaka Durga, which is an incarnation of Devi Durga. Situated on the Indrakiladri Hill in Vijayawada, the temple is the most visited religious site of the city. The Devi Kanaka Durga Temple is known as Swayambhu or self manifested and it is believed that Adi Shankara has visited the place and installed the Sri Chakra in the temple.

Devi Kanaka Durga Temple is astonishingly beautiful. Located atop the hill on the banks of the River Krishna, the temple is a major crowd puller. Devi Kanakadurgeswari is the mostly worshiped and supreme goddess of Vijayawada. Millions of pilgrims, devotees and general tourists visit the temple every year to get a glimpse of the idol and experience the fanfare. The Devi Kanaka Durga Temple has found a significant place in ancient scriptures like Sivalilas and Saktimahimas. The temple gets decked up with flowers and illuminations during the festive season of Dashera, Navarathri and Saraswati Puja. Especially the Dashera, the festival of Goddess Durga is celebrated with great pomp and glory. The number of visitors reach to the maximum during this festival and the pilgrims take holy dips in the Krishna river after offering their Puja.