About the Temple
Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy temple is nestled in Mangalagiri of the Guntur district in Andhra Pradesh. Lord Vishnu is worshipped here as Panaka Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy. This place is one of the 8 important Mahakshetrams where Lord Vishnu manifested himself. Mahakshetram Thotadri is the present Mangalagiri.
The temple idol is a Lord with a widely opened mouth covered with the metal face. Devotees can hear a gurgling sound when the priest offers Panakam also known as Jaggery water with a conch to Lord. Only half the quantity of Jaggery water goes inside the mouth. The spilled out water is distributed among the devotees as prasadam. Another striking feature is that the garland of the Lord is made of 108 Saligrams. Dakshanavrutha Sankhan, a conch which was used by Lord Krishna during Mahabharata war is preserved in this temple.
It is said that, in this temple, Gods, and Sages worship the Lord every evening, hence no puja is conducted in the evening.
The shape of Mangalagiri hills appears like an elephant. There is an interesting legend about this elephant shaped hill. Once, king Pariyatra with his son Hrasva Srungi visited all the sacred places including Mangalagiri. Here, they performed penance for 3 years. At Mangalagiri, Hrasva continued to do penance in praise of Lord Vishnu. Later, king Pariyatra, the father of Hrasva came with his entourage to take back his son to his kingdom. But Hrasva Srungi refused and took the shape of an elephant.
The existence of the Lord as Panakala Narasimha Swami has an interesting tale. Namuchi, a demon obtained a boon from Brahma that he would not get killed by anything either wet or dry. He started harassing Lord Indra and other Devatas. Encouraged by Lord Vishnu, Lord Indra commenced destroying the army of Namuchi, who was hiding in a cave in Sukshmakaram giving up his physical manifestation. Indra dipped Lord Vishnu’s Sudarsanam in the ocean froth. Lord Vishnu manifested himself in the disc and destroyed the demon with the fire of his exhalation. Hence, he got the name Sudarshana Narasimha. The Devatas themselves were unable to hold up against the fire of the anger of the Lord. The Lord took Amrutam and calmed down. This happened during Krithayugam. The Lord said that in Thretayuga, he would be worshipped with the Ghee, in Dwaparayuga with milk and in Kaliyuga with Panakam or Jaggery water. As the offering of the Panakam is peculiar, the Lord here is called Panakala Narasimha Swamy.
It is also believed that while departing for Vaikuntam, Lord Rama advised Lord Anjaneya to stay at Mangalagiri. Hence, he took his adobe at Mangalagiri as Kshetrapalaka.
Festivals and Celebrations
Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Brahmothsavam is an important festival which is celebrated annually for eleven days. It begins from Phalguna Suddha Sapthami.
On Chaturdasi, i.e. a day before Phalguna Suddha Purnima, the marriage of Narasimha Swamy, with Sridevi and Bhoodevi is celebrated. The next day after the marriage, Tirunall is celebrated. Lord’s procession is carried out on a huge chariot. Thousands of devotees pull the cart with fervor.
Ram Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Narasimha Jayanti, Vaikunta Ekadasi, and Maha Shivarathri are other festivals which are celebrated with a great zeal.
How to reach
By Air: Gannavaram Airport is the nearest airport which is 33km away.
By Train: Vijayawada Junction is the nearest railway station which is 12km away.
By Road: Bus services are available from all major places in Andhra Pradesh and Telangana to reach the temple.