Sun Temple of Arasavalli
Arasavalli is situated at the outskirts (2 KM) of Srikakulam town in Andhra Pradesh. There are two famous temples in Bharat for Sun God. Suryanarayana Swamy (Sun God) temple is located at Arasavalli and the other temple is at Konark in Odisha. It is mentioned in Padma Purana that Rishi Kashyap consecrated Surya Bhagavan’s idol at Arasavalli.
Sun God who is the symbol of energy can be seen in this temple in a chariot run by seven horses with Aruna as charioteer. Stone inscriptions indicate this temple was built in 7th century A.D. by Kalinga Kings. Two days in a year (March and September) Sun’s rays in the early morning directly fall on the feet of Sun God’s idol penetrating through the five mukha dwaras of the temple.
Sun is a symbol for energy and health. In Rg Veda and Yajur Veda, there are beej mantras related to Sun God. There is lot of significance in Yoga Shastra for surya namaskaras. By performing surya namaskaras with twelve different postures one’s body, mind and soul work in sync leading to a harmonious life.
Kurma Temple of Srikurmam
Srikurmam is a vaishnav kshetra. It is located around 13 km from Srikakulam town (One has to cross the Arasavalli on the way to reach Srikurmam from Srikakulam town). This is the only temple in Bharat where Bhagwan Sri Maha Vishnu as swayambhu takes the Kurmavatar (Tortoise). This Kurma temple at Srikurmam is said to be even older than the Ramayana period.
This temple finds mention in Kurma Purana, Vishnu, Agni, Padma and Brahmanda Puranas. The pond (pushkarini) in front of this temple known as Sweta Pushkarini is considered to be representing the Sudarshana Chakra (a spinning disk like weapon) of Lord Vishnu. People believe that if the ashes of deceased persons are immersed in this pond they turn into Shaligramas (fossilized black stones).
Bhagwan Vishnu’s consort at this temple can be seen on Garuda Vahana and known by the name Sree Kurma Nayaki. Bhagwan Maha Vishnu gives darshan in this temple in Shaligrama form facing the western side of the temple which is considered to be very rare (Normally all deities in Hindu temples face the east direction).
In Tretayug- Lav and Kush (sons of Bhagwan Rama); in Dwaparyug- Balaram (brother of Bhagwan Krishna), Rishi Durvas; in Kaliyug- Shankaracharya, Ramanujacharya and many other spiritual leaders have visited this temple.
In order to protect the temple from the foreigners’ invasions, during 11th century to 17th century, local people painted the outer structure of the temple and its boundaries with olibanum and lime mixture so that the temple was disguised as a hillock. Even today one can find the marks of lime on the walls of the temple.
This temple also has the unique distinction of having two Dhwajasthambhas (flag pole) one in the east and the other one in the west. The flag pole in the west direction is said to be erected by Ramanujacharya. According to Vaishnava tradition there are 108 divya deshams, 29 abhimana deshams and 20 purana deshams. Srikurmam comes under 20 purana deshams.
This Shaiva Kshetra is located around 50 km to Srikakulam town. The uniqueness of Shiva Linga at this temple is that it is formed from the trunk of Madhuca tree. Hence, Bhagwan Shiva at this place is also known by the name Madhukeshwara Swamy.
Bheemeshwara Swamy, Someshwara Swamy and Kumara Swamy temples are also located at this place. Historical evidence says in 10th century AD, Kalinga Kings had built this temple. Vamsadhara River flows near this temple. People believe that in and around this temple there are one crore Shiva Lingas. Red sand stone is extensively used in this temple construction. At this temple Goddess Parvathi is known by the name Varahi.
(Featured image source: discoverindiasite )
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