Ahobilam is located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh amidst the majestic hills of the Eastern Ghats range. It is here that the Supreme Personality of Godhead incarnated Himself as Lord Narasimha to kill the demon Hiranyakashipu and save His great devotee Prahlada. This is one of the major pilgrimage centres in South India and is one among the 108 divya-deshams. It is also known as Thiru Singavel Kundram.
The entire Eastern Ghats range is compared to Sri Adi Sesha – the great serpent bed of Lord Vishnu. On his seven hoods lays Tirupati, on stomach Ahobilam and on its tail lays Sri Shailam. The Brahmanda Purana states that Ahobilam was the dwelling of the demon king Hiranyakashipu who was killed by the Lord.
Ahobilam – The Great Strength
aho viryam aho shauryam aho bahuparakramah
narasimham param daivam ahobilam aho balam
When the Supreme Lord incarnated as Lord Narasimhadev – the half-lion and half-man, he tore apart Hiranyakashipu into pieces. Witnessing this wonderful pastime, the demigods praised Lord Narasimhadev as ‘ahobala’ meaning ‘the great strength’.
Another meaning of ahobilam is ‘wonderful cave’, a cave in which Garuda meditated and achieved the blessings of the Lord. In order to have darshan of Lord Narasimhadev, Garuda meditated on one of the mountains in the Nallamallai hills range for thousands of years. Being pleased by his meditation, the Lord manifested Himself in a cave nearby. Garuda was then informed about the location of this cave. He reached here and had darshan of the Lord. He worshipped the Lord with the selected verses and after having darshan of the Lord and having worshipped Him, Garuda considered himself blessed and thus this place came to be known as Ahobilam. The mountain on which Garuda performed austerities came to be known as Garudachala, Garudadri and Garudashailam.
Nava Narasimha Temples in Ahobilam
There are nine temples of Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam which house the self-manifested Deities of the Lord.
jwala ahobila malola kroda karanja bhargava
yogananda kshatravata pavana nava murthayaha
The nine Deities are Sri Jwala Narasimha, Sri Ahobila Narasimha, Sri Malola Narasimha, Sri Kroda Narasimha, Sri Karanja Narasimha, Sri Bhargava Narasimha, Sri Yogananda Narasimha, Sri Kshatravata Narasimha and Sri Pavana Narasimha.
Ahobilam is divided into Lower Ahobilam (Diguva Ahobilam) and Upper Ahobilam (Eguva Ahobilam). Upper Ahobilam is around ten kilometres from Lower Ahobilam and includes the following temples: Ahobila Narasimha, Krodha Narasimha, Jwala Narasimha and Malola Narasimha. The temples of Sri Yogananda Narasimha, Chatravatha Narasimha, Pavana Narasimha and Bhargava Narasimha constitute Lower Ahobilam. On the way from Lower Ahobilam to Upper Ahobilam is Sri Karanja Narasimha. Many devotees believe that the nine planets got their powers after worshipping these nine forms of the Lord and anyone who worships these nine forms can overcome the ill effect of the respective planet.
Tirtha Yatra organizes Ahobilam Yatra once in every month from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. For reserving your seats call us at 09686977850 or click here.
Temples in Upper Ahobilam (Eguva Ahobilam)
Sri Ahobila Narasimha
garudadri guhagehe gajakhundasarittate
hiranyasthaanvahankaarhaari simhaya mangalam
This is the main and the oldest temple among the nine temples in Ahobilam. This shaligrama form of Ahobila Narasimha is fierce (Ugra) and is in the sukhasana pose. He is seen tearing apart the chest of Hiranyakashipu. In front of the Lord is Prahlada. Lord’s eternal consort Srimati Chenchu Lakshmi is also giving darshan to the devotees. She is seated in padmasana.
Sri Kroda Narasimha
varahkundey medhinyai varaahaarthapradhaayiney
dhanthalagna hiranyaksh dhamshtra simhaaya mangalam
Sri Kroda Narasimha also glorified by devotees as Varaha Narasimha is a very special form of the Lord with the face of a boar. After killing Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narasimha was very angry with Lord Brahma because of the boon he had awarded to Hiranyakashipu. He summoned Lord Brahma but Brahma was afraid to come near the Lord. At that time Vedas slipped from his hands and fell down. When the Vedas were falling, Bhumi personified held them and took the Vedas with her to Patala in order to protect them. Due to the absence of the Vedas, demigods approached Lord Narasimha who took the form of Kroda (an animal with a single front horn) and went to Patala to bring back the Vedas. He then emerged out with Bhumi-devi sitting above His horn. After bringing out Vedas Lord sat at this kshetra and took the form of Sri Kroda Narasimha. In the meantime His anger also subsided. Brahma then came near the Lord begging for forgiveness and requesting the Vedas. Lord Narasimha rejected Brahma’s request and said that you have already lost the Vedas and hence they have to be given only to a responsible person. To which Brahma suggested that they can be given to Lakshmi-devi. Lord agreed and gave darshan to Brahma as Sri Malola Narasimha.
Along with Sri Kroda Narasimha, one can also have darshan of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha in this temple. Lord Narasimha is seen as though He is trying to gently pacify Lakshmidevi. Lord Narasimha had developed attachment to Chenchu Lakshmi, which annoyed Lakshmidevi, hence the Lord is pacifying Her. Here one can also have darshan of Sri Varaha Tirtha. The temple of Sri Krodha Narasimha requires a bit of trekking. Devotees must walk further from the Ahobila Narasimha Temple, along the banks of Bhavanashini River to reach this temple.
The first Jeeyar of the Ahobilam mutt expounded on the Sribhashya and delivered Bhagavad-gita Kaalakshepam to the then 74 simhasanadipatis near this place.
Sri Malola Narasimha
vaarijaavaaritha bhayay vaneepathi mukhaiswarai
mahithaaya mahodhaara malolyasthu mangalam
From the Kroda Narasimha temple, devotees must climb few stairs to reach the Malola Narasimha Temple.
The Deity of Lord Narasimha here is in a peaceful form since Lakshmidevi is also present. Ma means Mother Lakshmi and lola means beloved. The Supreme Lord Narasimha is the beloved of mother Lakshmi and hence is glorified as Malola Narasimha. This place is also known as Markonda Lakshmi Kshetra. The utsava murthy of Sri Malola Narasimha travels with the Jeeyar of Ahobila Mutt. You must be wondering why among the nine Deities, this Deity travels with the Jeeyar. This is due to the following pastime:
There was a young devotee named Srinivasacharya at Melkote. One day Lord Lakshmi Narasimha appeared in his dream and ordered him to come to Ahobilam, take sannyasa and carry on his future mission from Ahobilam. Young Srinivasacharya could not believe his dream and rushed to his guru, Sri Ghatikasatam Ammal who was also known as Varada Vishnuvarcharya and sought his instructions. He immediately told Srinivasacharya to follow the order of the Lord without any delay.
Blessed by his guru, Srinivasacharya rushed to Ahobilam. There he was received by Mukundaraya, a local chieftain, who also had an order from the Lord to receive Srinivasacharya at Ahobilam. Lord Narasimha appeared before Srinivasacharya in the form of a saint and initiated him into the sannyasa ashrama and also formed the Ahobilam Mutt. The Lord awarded him the name – Sathakopa Jeeyar. He instructed him to go door to door to preach the message of Vaishnavism, and take along with him the utsava murthy of the Lord. The Lord also wanted him to be the spiritual master of the disciples.
Sri Sathakopa Jeeyar was confused as to which utsava murthy he has to carry with him. The Lord had instructed him to take utsava murthy but had not told which utsava murthy. He started meditating on the Lord requesting Him to choose the utsava murthy. Immediately the utsava murthy of Sri Malola Narasimha came from the temple flying to his hands. The utsava murthy of Sri Malola Narasimha is adorned with a Paduka indicating that the Lord is ready to proceed on a tour. Since then the utsava murthy of Sri Malola Narasimha has been travelling with the Jeeyars of Ahobilam Mutt and has been blessing devotees with the mercy and devotional service.
Sri Jwala Narasimha
hiranyashtambha sambhuthiprakhyat paramaatamaney
prahladhaarthimushey jwaala narsimhaya mangalam
From the temple of Malola Narasimha, there are steps to reach to the temple of Sri Jwala Narasimha. I would recommend devotees not to climb but return to Krodha Narasimha Temple and then walk along the bank of Bhavanashini River to reach Sri Jwala Narasimha temple. The temple of Sri Jwala Narasimha lies on a hill called as Achalachaya Meru and is on the base of Ugra Stambha. One has to go under the waterfall of the Bhavanashini River to reach this temple.
This is the exact place where Lord Narasimha killed Hiranyakashipu. It was here that the anger of Lord Narasimha was on its pinnacle. The Deity of Lord Narasimha here is seen tearing Hiranyakashipu with His radiant nails. There are other two forms of the Lord – Sthanu Narasimha (emerging out of the pillar) and Veera Narasimha (fighting with Hiranyakashipu).
There is a small pond near this temple called Rakta Kunda Tirtha. Here Lord Narasimha washed His blood-stained hands and hence the color of the water of this kunda turned red. Today also one can see the red stains around this tirtha. The water of this tirtha is crystal clear and is very sweet.
The Temples in Lower Ahobilam (Diguva Ahobilam)
Sri Yogananda Narasimha
chathuranana chetobja chitrabhaanu svaroopine
vedadri gahavarasthaaya yogaanandaaya mangalam
After killing Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narasimhadev here taught Prahlada few yogic postures to practice. This form of the Lord is seated in a padmasana with yogapatta around His legs. Once Lord Brahma visited this place when he was agitated and he returned after attaining peace by practicing devotion unto Lord Narasimha. The Deity of the Lord was being worshiped in a deep tunnel and for the sake of ease in his worship, He was brought out from the tunnel and installed here.
Sri Chatravatha Narasimha
haahaa hoohoo vakya gandharva nrittageetha hritaatmaney
bhavahantritat chathravataimhaya mangalam
This Deity of the Lord is very unique as He has got a very beautiful wide smile on His face. Since the Lord is worshiped under a peepal tree, surrounded by the thorny wishes, He is famous as Chatravatha Narasimha. The left hand of the Lord is in the tala mudra. This tala mudra is not seen in any other form of the Lord in any other place. Once two gandharvas named Haha and Hoohoo came here from the Meru Mountain and entertained the Lord with the sweetness of their music. The Lord blessed them that they would attain fame as great singers. Lord Indra and the other demigods worshiped the Lord here and requested Him to kill the demon-king. This temple is also known as Devata-aradhana kshetra.
Sri Pavana Narasimha
bharadwaja mahayogi mahapaathaka haariney
thaapaneeya rahasyartha paavanayasthu mangalam
This temple is on the banks of the river Pavana and hence the Lord is known as Pavana Narasimha. This is the most peaceful form of the Lord amongst the nine Narasimha temples. He is also known as Pamuleti Narasimha Swamy. The Lord here liberates devotees from the all the sins of past lives and the present lives which might have been committed knowingly or unknowingly. Sage Bharadwaja rid himself of the great sin of brahma-hatya at this place.
This temple lies quite far in the midst of the forest. Devotees climb many steep steps to reach this temple. The steps begin from behind the temple of Sri Ahobilam Narasimha. Alternatively devotees can also visit this temple via local jeeps. However I would recommend you to climb stairs and take a walk as the route which jeeps use has no road. Do not visit this temple after 5 pm as it gets very dark and the forest houses wild animals.
Tirtha Yatra organizes Ahobilam Yatra once in every month from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. For reserving your seats call us at 09686977850 or click here.
Sri Bhargava Narasimha
bharagavakhya tapasveesa bhaavanaa bhaavithathmaney
akshaya theera theerthastu bhargavayaasthu mangalam
Here Lord Parashurama, who is also known as Bhargava, performed penances to please Lord Narasimha. Lord Parashurama wanted to have darshan of the Lord right at the moment when he tore apart the chest of Hiranyakashipu. Pleased by the penances of Parashurama, Lord Narasimha gave Him the desired darshan. When the Lord was giving darshan, Hiranyakashipu who was lying on the lap of the Lord, looked towards Parashurama. Parashurama then requested Narasimhadev to manifest Himself in that form. And from then on the Lord is being worshiped here and is known as Sri Bhargava Narasimha Swamy. This is one of the most ferocious forms of Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam. This temple is located on the banks of Akshaya Tirtha which is considered on par with the sacred Pushkara Tirtha. Parashurama would bathe in this kunda and use this water for the worship of Lord Bhargava Narasimha. Sage Vasishtha and other sages had performed penances here. One can also have darshan of Prahlada at the lotus feet of the Lord. This temple is surrounded by a thick forest and can be reached only via local jeep or the autos as the route is like a mountainous terrain.
Sri Karanja Narasimha
karanjamoole maatharaste yathra
gobhoo hiranya nirvinna gobila
gnyanadhayiney prabanjan sunaaseera
The Deity of Lord Narasimha is under the Karanja Tree, hence He is known as Karanja Narasimha. Karanja Tree is also called as Honge Mara in the local language. He is also known as Saaranga Narasimha because He is holding the bow named Saaranga. Once Hanuman was performing austerities in Ahobilam and was continuously chanting the holy name of Lord Rama. Immediately Lord Narasimha appeared before him and asked, “Yes you called me?” Hanuman was surprised and said to Narasimha, “You are disturbing me. Please go away.” Narasimha replied, “I am Rama. Because you called Me, I have come.” Hanuman was again surprised and asked, “How can you be Rama? You don’t have a form like that of Rama.” Immediately Lord Narasimha manifested Himself like Rama with bow in one hand and Sudarshana in the other hand. Hanuman got convinced and from then on started to worship the form of Sri Karanja Narasimha. There is a small altar of Hanuman in the temple.
Sage Gobila had been cursed by Durvasa Muni and had become a dullard. He worshipped the Lord by reciting the Narasimha Mantra. The Lord was pleased and blessed the sage that as before he would become very learned and that in due course he would attain liberation. Since then devotees who seek knowledge come and worship the Lord here.
Other Places of Darshan in Ahobilam
satyam vidhathum nijabruthya bhaashitham
vyaaptham swabhutheshu swachirey swachaathmanaha
adhrushyathaam adhbutharoopam udhvaham
sthamba sabhamam na mrugam na manusham
na bhootho na ambharey mruthyuhu na
naraih na mugrairapi surasura
This mountain is the remain of the pillar from which Lord Narasimha appeared. It is said that when the Lord emerged out of the pillar, the whole pillar was shattered to pieces. His first step produced 172 sounds which are the first basic tenets of 172 classical ragas. Of these only 52 melakarta ragas exist today and even these cannot be mastered by any individual of this material creation. This is also called as Ukku Stambha. Ukku in Telugu means steel. Atop Ugra Stambha there is an impression of the lotus feet of Sri Chaitanya Mahaprabhu who visited this place during His south Indian trip.
Prahlada Mettu or Prahlada Badi
This cave is behind the Malola Narasimha Temple in Upper Ahobilam. It is a 0.4 km walk from Malola Narasimha temple through the forest and the narrow path of the cliff. There is a cavern in this cave. When demons threw Prahlada from the cliff, Prahlada Maharaja fell through this cavern of the rock and was held by Lord Narayana. Around this cave, Prahlada Maharaja wrote ‘om namo narayana’ and ‘om namo bhagavate vasudevaya’ on the rocks. Devotees can still those transcendental letters. One can also have darshan of Sri Yoga Narasimha, Sri Sudarshana and Sri Narayana Murthy in this cave.
Sri Prahlada Varada Temple
The temple of Sri Prahlada Varada is situated in Lower Ahobilam. Here Lord Narasimha is blessing Prahlada Maharaja. The family Deity of Sri Srinivasa Govinda in Tirupati is Lord Narasimha in Ahobilam. Because the Lord was in the fierce form, Srinivasa installed the Deity of the Lord in the shantha form and worshiped Him before His marriage with Padmavathi Devi. The utsava Deities of Sri Pavana Narasimha and Jwala Narasimha are worshiped in this temple. This place is also called as Chinna Ahobilam or Diguva Tirupati.
Ahobilam temple timings
The temples in upper Ahobilam and lower Ahobilam are opened from 7 am to 5 pm with a gap of lunch for an hour in the afternoon
Festivals celebrated in Ahobilam
Brahmotsava is celebrated every year in the month of Phalguna (Mar-Apr). Apart from this, every month on the Swati Nakshatra (the star of the Lord), the gramotsava is celebrated. On this day an abhisheka is performed to Sri Narasimha with 108 kalashas.
Best time to visit Ahobilam
The best time to visit Ahobilam is soon after rainy season i.e, August and September. One can see Ahobilam in its full beauty with all the waterfalls and rivers filled up. July to February is ideal to visit Ahobilam. The other months are very hot with temperature ranging from 35 degree celcius to 45 degree celcius.
How to reach Ahobilam
One can reach Ahobilam by air, train or bus. The nearest airports are Hyderabad, Bengaluru and Chennai. The nearest railway station is Nandiyal and Kurnool. From Nandiyal and Kurnool you should reach Allagadda. From Allagadda every 45 minutes there is a bus to Ahobilam. From Hyderabad one has to reach Kurnool and then take a bus or taxi to Ahobilam. Direct buses are available from Hyderabad and Bengaluru to Allagadda.
Places to stay and eat
There are quite a good guest houses in Ahobilam. There are good restaurants as well in Ahobilam. There is a Nitya Annandana hall where the lunch is served everyday to the pilgrims. Since Ahobilam is a forest area, you get bare facilities. However it is always good to be prepared with basic facilities like warm clothes, etc.
Mangalasasanam by Thirumangai Alwar
Vimana: Guhai Vimana
Pushkarani: Papanashini Tirtham
Mulavar Perumal Name: Lakshmi Narasimha
Utsavar Perumal Name: Malolan, Sriraman, Prahlada Varadan
Hastam / Mudrai: Abhaya Hastam
Pose: Sitting facing East
Mulavar Thayar Name: Chenchu Lakshmi and Amritavalli Thayar
Purana: Brahmanda Purana
Utsavar Thayar Name: Ranganayaki
Purana: Brahmanda Purana
Tirtha Yatra organizes Ahobilam Yatra once in every month from Bengaluru, Chennai and Hyderabad. For reserving your seats call us at 09686977850 or click here.26