Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple, Antarvedi, Andhra Pradesh

Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Temple is situated in temple town named Antarvedi in Sakhinetipalle Mandal, located in the East Godavari district of the Andhra Pradesh state. The temple site is at the place of the confluence of Vashista Godavari, a tributary of the Godavari River with the Bay of Bengal.

Legend

In Kritayuga, Sage Sounaka and his colleagues gathered in Naimisaranya to conduct Satrayaga. One day, they asked Suta Maharshi to tell about the greatness and significance of Antarvedi Shrine and of Bhagwan Lakshmi Narasimha. Suta was pleased to tell the story which was once told by Bhagwan Brahma to Sage Narada according to which Sage Vasista established his Ashram at the meeting point of the Goutami  river (which is a tributary of river  Godavari) with the sea (Bay of Bengal).

In this place Bhagwan Brahma performed Rudrayaga and installed Bhagwan Neela Kantheswara to get freed from the sins he had committed against Bhagwan Sankara. As that place was made a stage or “Vedik” to perform the Yaga, it was named as “Antarvedi”.

Raktavilochana, son of the demon Hiranyaksha, did tremendous penance on the banks of Vasishta river and gets a boon from Bhagwan Shiva that the number of sand particles drenched by the blood drops falling from his body on to the ground at war, would produce equal number of Rakshasas as strong and vigorous as himself and they would assist him at war and become one with him after killing all the enemies. Thereafter Raktavilochana started harassing the brahmins, the Gods, the saints and the cows and obstructed Yagas and Vedic-recitals.

Sage Viswamitra found opportunity to take Vengeance against sage Vasishta and provoke Rakta-vilochana to kill Vasishta’s hundred sons in his absence. The Demon did so, causing an irreparable loss to Arundhati and Vasishta. Vasishta prayed for Bhagwan Narasmiha’s grace. Bhagwan Narahari (Narasimha) fought a fierce battle with Raktavilochana. During the battle every blood drop falling on the earth from the body of Raktavilochana produced equal number of demons as strong and vigorous as Raktavilochana.

Thereupon Bhagwan Narahari created “Maya Sakthi” to manage stopping the fall of blood drops from Rakta Viliochana body to the ground and kills Rakta Vilochana. Then the blood stopped by Maya Sakthi from falling on to the ground, was released by her as a reddish river, known as the “Raktakulya”. The place where Bhagwan, after killing the demons, washed his weapon Sudarshan Chakra, become popular as Chakrateertham. Bhagwan Narahari then assumes the form of Lakshmi Narasimha in the Ashram of Sage Vasishta.

According to Brahma Purana, in Tretayuga, Sri Rama, Lakshmana and Anjaneya worshipped Narasimha swamy at this place after Killing Ravana in the war. In Dwaparayuga, Arjuna, the Pandava prince, worshipped him here during his pilgrimage.

For some time after commencement of Kaliyuga, Antervedi was a Jungle and a cowherd named Mandapati Kesavadasu discovered the murthi while grazing the cattle. Later on, during the Reddy’s Kingdom (1325-1448 CE) it is believed that the temple was built the temple using bamboo sticks. As per the inscriptions, this temple was rebuilt by Kopanati Krishnamma of Agni Kula Kshatriya in 1823 A.D.

Thereafter Sri Narendra Lakshmi Narasimha Rao, wealthy generous gentleman of the local area also took initiative in re-erecting the temple. The temple was again ruined and another devotee by name Adinarayana and his two sons Ranganatha and Krishna did the reconstruction of the temple in 1923. Stone inscription available in the temple has documented this reconstruction of the temple in 1923.

There are five important spots at this Holy shrine:

  1. The Sea
  2. The Sagar Sangam
  3. The Vasishta River
  4. The Raktakulya River
  5. The Chakrateertham

Antarvedi has the sea in the East and the South the Godavari river in the West and the Raktakulya river in the North. It covers a distance of about four square miles. It is located close to Narsapur near the Bay of Bengal Coast and Vashishtha River. The place of confluence where the mighty ocean Bay of Bengal meets the Vashishtha River is called the “Sapta Sagara Sangam Pradesam”. It is popularly believed that the Tretha Yugam episode of Ksheera Sagara Mathanam took place here.

The temple is called as an island temple because of its confluence. This temple is one of the rarest ones where the main Deity i.e. Bhagwan Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy (one of the ten incarnations of Bhagwan Vishnu) faces towards West instead of East (usual direction of other temples in India). This is 32nd kshetra of 108 Narashima kshetrams in the country. It is a temple of 5 storeyed Vimana Gopuram. As one enters the temple one can see Garuda on one side and Hanuman on the other side of temple entrance.

While approaching Sanctum Sanctorum one can see an adorable “Vatapatra Sayi” (Sri Krishna on a palm leaf) on its roof. The idol is made from a single stone. In the main temple one can have a darshan of the magnificent Bhagwan Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy with his Consort Lakshmi Devi on his lap.

On the east side of the prakaram (wall), is Devi Rajyalakshmi and Bhagwan Venkateshwara, to the north side is Bhoodevi and Ranganadha Swamy, to the west side of the prakaram is Santhana Gopala Swamy and Keshava Swamy, and finally to the south side of the prakaram is the Acharyas and Alwars sannidhi (small temples) and Chaturbhuja (four-armed) Anjaneya. Apart from the presiding Deity, Bhagwan Narasimha Swamy, there are also devas Brahma, Vishnu, and Shiva. A temple of Neelakanteshwara (Bhagwan Shiva) is located at the other side, almost nearer to the bank of Godavari, also called, Vasishta Godavari.

Vashishtha Devalayam

This temple was constructed in the year 2005-06. This Mahameru Sahita Sri Kurma pratishtapana of Vasishta Devalayam is near Sri Narashima Swamy temple. The building is in circular form with a height of 54 feet. It is said that Sri chakram is kept in this temple to same depth down i.e. 54 feet. One has to climb few steps to reach the first level.

Here, one can see Saligrama tortoise, a sacred Gandaki river stone which is believed to be a special Avatara of Maha Vishnu and is always placed with Tulasi (signifying Devi Lakshmi). It is on this Saligrama that the Maha Meru of Emerald is installed. One is allowed to enter inside the sanctum in this temple and as one goes around one can see Dashavataram (10 incarnations of Bhagwan Vishnu) sculptures of Saligrahama stone that have been installed. On the second level one can have the darshan of Saptha Maharishis.

Festivals

Every year on the day before Bhishma Ekadashi i.e. Dashami, which is observed as Magha Shukla Ekadashi (Eleventh Day) in Magha Mas (February) Bhagwan Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Kalyanotsavam (divine wedding of Bhagwan Sri Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy and Lakshmi Devi) is celebrated in this temple. On the Bhishma Ekadashi, the Rath Yatra takes place. Devotees in huge number attend to watch the Celestial Wedding and take holy dip at the sangamam (Saptha Sagara Sangamam).

During the month of November, several devotees come to the temple premises to witness the Deity of Narasimha Swamy without any of the ornaments, garb, or chandanam (sandal paste) that normally adorn his form.

The scenic beauty and the serenity of Antarvedi temple surrounded by river and sea is something to be seen and experienced by oneself.

How to Reach

Antarvedi is 130 Kms from Kakinada and 100 kms from Rajahmundry. Antarvedi can also be reached by boat from Narsapur (around 35 kms).

By Train – The nearest railway station to Antarvedi Temple is Narasapur Railway Station (20 kms). There are daily trains from Guntur, Nagarsol, Tirupati, Hyderabad, Vishakhapatnam Railway Stations.

By Bus/Road – Antarvedi is well connected by road and the nearest major bus station is Narasapur (34 kms).

By Air – The nearest airport to Antarvedi Temple is Rajahmundry Airport. There are regular flights from all airports to Rajahmundry airport.

Reference:

  1. https://tms.ap.gov.in/lnatvd/cnt/about-temple
  2. https://eastgodavari.ap.gov.in/tourism/temples/sri-lakshmi-narasimha-swamy-temple-antharvedi/

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About the Author

Dr. B.N.V. Parthasarathi
Ex- Senior Banker, Financial and Management Consultant and Visiting faculty at premier B Schools and Universities. Areas of Specialization & Teaching interests - Banking, Finance, Entrepreneurship, Economics, Global Business & Behavioural Sciences. Qualification- M.Com., M.B.A., A.I.I.B.F., PhD. Experience- 25 years of banking and 14 years of teaching, research and consulting. 100 plus national and international publications on various topics like- banking, global trade, economy, public finance, public policy and spirituality. One book in English “In Search of Eternal Truth”, two books in Telugu and 20 short stories and 27 articles published in Telugu. Email id: [email protected]