The auspicious hill – Mangalgiri is an ancient town in Andhra Pradesh which is one of the eight important sacred places in India where lord Vishnu is said to have manifested himself. Known to exist since 225 B.C, it gets its name because of goddess Lakshmi who did tapas in this hill town and hence considered auspicious.
Dated to 1520’s, Mangalgiri was a pictures que hill that was visited by the great sri Krishna Deva Raya himself. Known for their architecture, the temples here stand to be an ultimate testament for the ancient Vishwakarma sthapathis in planning and sculpting of these temples.
The shape of the hill looks like an elephant. From all the directions, the hill appears in the elephant shape only. The interesting legend that tells how the hill came into being goes like this-An ancient king Pariyatra’s son Hrasva Srungi, visited all holy and sacred places to regain normal bodily stature and finally visited this holy place of Mangalagiri and stayed for three years performing penance in praise of Lord Vishnu. When his father came with his army to take him back, Hrasva Srungi took the shape of an elephant to become the abode of Lord Vishnu who is locally known as Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha swamy.
Panakala Narasimha Swamy temple in Mangalagiri is always free of ants, despite there peated offering of jaggery water! It is said that Mangalagiri hill was once a volcano. Now dormant, the Narasimha Swami Temple is on this hill. A tradition of pouring sugar or jaggery water is said to neutralize sulfur compounds to keep the Volcano dormant.
Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple is located at the foot of the Mangalagiri Hill. It is said that “DharmaRaju” (The Eldest of Pandavs) installed the main deity in the temple. The temple Gali Gopuram is one of the largest gopuras in India. The height of the gopuram is 153 feet. Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Brahmothsavam (Mangalagiri Tirunala) is a very famous festival in the town.
Ksheera vruksham (the milk tree) on the Mangalagiri hill is of great attraction particularly to women. The story goes that king Sasibandi was advised by Narada to visit pilgrimages who then left the kingdom and his queen to visit pilgrimages. The queen became furious upon knowing this and cursed Narada to become a Ksheera vruksham on the hill within easy reach of devotees, blessing women at its very sight, with property and children, washing off the sins they committed out of ignorance or oversight, for having ill-advised her husband to desert her and take to penance. Narada took this as a blessing to serve humanity. He also blessed the queen with happy life with her husband and a thousand children. Even today the milk tree is on the Mangalagiri hill and throughout the year, thousands of women visit and worship the tree for begetting children.
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