About the Temple
Mahanandi is a picturesque village which is nestled in the Nallamala hills near Nandyal in Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh. The village is surrounded by thick forests and within the radius of 15 km of Mahanandi, there are nine Nandi shrines, popularly known as Nava Nandulu. Mahanandi temple is one of the Nava Nandis. These nine temples are named as Mahanandi, Shivanandi, Vinayakanandi, Somanandi, Prathamanandi, Garudanandi, Suryanandi, Krishnanandi andNaganandi.
In Mahanandi or Mahanandiswara Temple Lord Shiva is depicted as the Lord of the Nandi. Mahanandiswara Temple is popular for the curative powers of the water of the tank located in the front of the temple. It is known as Rudra Kunda.
The Swayambhu or self-manifested lingam in the Garbha Gruha is made from a rough uncut rock. The Shiv lingam is placed directly on the ground without the traditional platform. The main deity is installed at a distance away from devotees.
A huge Nandi is seen in front of the shrine. There is a shrine near the sanctum which is consecrated to Goddess Kameshwari Devi, consort of Mahanadiswara. The Srichakra in front of the deity was installed by Adisankaracharya.
The temple history dates back over 1500 years. The initial structure was built in 7th century by the Chalukyas. Later, several renovations were done by Nanda Dynasty during 10th century CE and Vijayanagara dynasty during the 15th and 16th century. The gopuram is built in the Badami Chalukyan architecture style and other structures in the temple are constructed in the Vijayanagara architecture style.
A legend says that milk for ablution was being transported daily to the temple and specifically, the milk of a black colored cow was sent to the king. The cow was allowed to graze in the forest. But it was noticed that the black cow was giving less milk. Finally, a cowherd found out that after grazing the cow allowed her milk to flow freely on an anthill. From this mound, a young child emerged who was Lord Krishna.
The next morning, the king followed the cow and hid behind the bush to catch a glimpse of the Lord. The cow circled the anthill. Suddenly Lord Krishna appeared and accepted the offering of the cow. The king moved forward but scared the cow who accidentally stepped on the anthill in fear. The child vanished but the imprint of the cow’s hoof remained on the anthill. The king prayed for forgiveness. The Lord appeared and said that the anthill would dry up and would become a Swayambhu Lingam. The prints of the cow’s hoofs are still visible on top of the Lingam.
Festivals and Celebrations
Maha Sivarathri is celebrated for seven days. Devotees first worship Mallikarjunaswamy and then follow a particular order to visit the other Nandi temples.
Festivals such as Dussehra, Deepavali and Ugadi are also celebrated with great zeal.
How to reach
By Road: Bus and taxi are available from all the major cities of Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to reach the temple.
By Train: The nearest railway station is at Nandyal.
By Air: The nearest airport is at Hyderabad, which is about 215 km.