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Aho Balam-Nava Narasimha Kshetram- Ahobilam Part 1


Kshetra : Ahobilam located about 150 km from Kurnool ( Andhra pradesh) . Vaishnava Kshetra located on the Nallamalla mountain ranges of Andhra pradesh.Since the hills seem to curve and snake their way through the state , the ranges are compared to a snake. The head of the snake is Tirupati with the tail being the punya kshetra of Srisailam. Ahobilam falls exactly in the middle.

Architecture : The Ahobilam temples are divided into two halves. The upper ahobilam temples and the lower ahobilam temples .The upper temples are built in the Vijayanagara style of architecture whereas the lower ones are built in the kakatiya style . Krishnadevaraya stopped here after the war of Kalinga and donated a lot of gold to this temple .The western chalukyas also made donations to this temple .

Deity &Sthala Purana : The principal deity in the nine temples are the nine forms of Lord Vishnu incarnated in Nava Narasimha forms. The demon Hiranyakashyipu was killed on top of this hill and this is the place where the Lord incarnated to save his devotee.

This kshetra is also one of the 108 divya vaishnava kshetras and is a unique kshetra in that the complete manifestation of the lord is present in this kshetra. Many of the temples in the upper reaches of the hills are only accessible by trekking and even today it is quite a difficult task. Maybe this is the reason this kshetra has been saved from crass commercialization that is present in many other temples.

The trek itself to the shrines is a very pleasant one since the adjoining area is a thick forest ( Nallamalla forest ) with streams of water flowing in as rivulets and mountain streams. The river flowing here is called BhavaNaasi ( Bhava-There are many meanings to sanskrit word but in this context it means “temporary world ”  Naasi-destroys.) So it means the river that destroys the bondage of this temporary world.

There are Nine prominent forms of the lord here .

Reason behind the names :

Aho Balam – The gods were stunned to see the strength of the Man Lion avatara of Lord Vishnu and thought to themselves ” Aho Balam—What a strength ” and hence this kshetra where Narasimha appeared began to be called Aho Balam.

Ahobilam_ Bilam in telugu means a tunnel or cave. Some of the temples are located inside caves or on top of the mountain hence the name Ahobilam is also valid.

Garudachalam- Lord vishnu appeared to Garuda who did penance on these mountain ranges. The inner mountain ranges are called Garudadri .

The place itself is extremely beautiful being located inside a steep mountain range surrounded by forests which also have  Lion’s roaming them. No wonder the Lord decided to incarnate here !!!!

Placement of the Nine shrines :  Prahlada Varada Narasimha shrine is in lower Ahobilam. Ugra Narasimha swami shrine is in upper Ahobilam. Rest of the shrines are scattered in the upper ranges of the hills and are accessible only by trekking.

Lower Ahobilam

Prahlada Varada Narasimha Swamy

This temple is located at the foot of the Garudadri hills in lower Ahobilam and is easily reachable by all. The primary deity is of Lord Narasimha with Lakshmi devi blessing Prahlada.

Lower ahobilam-Temple Gopuram

closer look at the gopuram

View from the Swami Pushkarini

Watefall on the river Bhavanaasini

Temple entrance

Prahlada Varada Lakshmi Narasimha

Main Idol of lower temple

One Comment leave one →
  1. 09/18/2011 8:03 PM

    Upper Ahobhilam, also known as Thirusingavel Kundram is the temple, that devotees come
    to have darshan.This is Ahobhilam.Here, heart,mind and body bathe in Him.All moments
    spent here get deeply etched.

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