Wednesday, June 9, 2010


It was a trip that I was dreading! Because it involved a test of endurance and a test of faith. Test of my capacity to endure trekking with a walking stick, on a very rough, pebbles and stone ridden forest path, with lots of ups and downs but breathtakingly beautiful! And then walking up 450 steps to see the temple of Lord Narasimha in Jwala the place on top of a hill, where Mahavishnu taking the avatar of Narasimha, killed the demon king Hiranya Kasibu as an answer to the prayers of his young devotee Prahalada. Here you can see the tall pillar from which Narasimha is supposed to have appeared to take on Hiranya Kasibu.

Another temple located in Pavana on top of another hill involves climbing 1000 steps and then walking almost 6 kms through thick forest area, full of bears, foxes and snakes. In the earlier days, it seems even tigers used to live in this jungle but thanks to increased human activity, some of these dreaded animals are not there anymore. Fortunately a jeep is available which takes you to the very entrance of the Narasimha temple located in Pavana.

This temple where the local tribals frequently visit to sacrifice goats as a part of their special prayers, is again an awe inspiring place. Even the 90 minutes ride on the so called jeep, a badly maintained old contraption with loose parts is in itself an endurance test. The vehicle travels through a very rough jungle path full of rocks and pits, with sudden climbs and drops, that your heart is in your mouth throughout the journey. Like the trip up to the Jwala temple, here also your faith in Lord Narasimha is tested. During both the trips you can hear devotees repeatedly screaming ‘Jai Narasimha’. This ferocious avatar of Mahavishnu is a popular deity in Andhra Pradesh and now quite popular even in Tamilnadu, thanks to the Ahobila Mutt run by a Trust headed by a Jeeyer.

Thanks to the efforts of this Mutt and its ardent devotees located all over the world, a lot of facilities have been introduced in Ahobilam. This temple city which is located on the foothills of Garudachala Mountains is about 100 kms from Cuddappah in Andhra Pradesh, on the Chennai – Mumbai Rail line.

Ahobilam boasts of 9 temples for Lord Narasimha (Jwala, Pavana, Varaha, Malola, Chatravada, Karanjika, Yoga, Ahobila and Kroda) While the temples (Jwala and Pavana) are located up the hill, the other seven are located in and around the Ahobilam village. Prabha and I were visiting these temples as a part of our visits covering 108 Tirupathi called Divya Desams. Out of the 108, you can visit only 106 on the earth. For the balance two viz. Thiruparkadal and Vaikundam, the abode of Lord Vishnu, you have to wait till the Lord decides to take you away from this world!

There is another 2000 year old big temple for Laxmi Narasimha located very near the Ahobila Mutt headquarters and run by the Trustees of the Mutt. This huge temple with its serene atmosphere inspires peace and tranquilty in you. I spent two evenings in this temple, sitting on the steps of one of the Praharams, totally lost in meditation. It was a truly great feeling!

We made this trip, thanks to the invitation of my good friend Parthasarathy of Kripa, whose younger brother works in the Mutt. He and another friend Neelamegham had made all arrangements for our comfortable stay in the guest house of the Mutt with a guide to help us in visiting the different temples. What should have taken us minimum two days, we were able to complete in less than 24 hours, thanks to the advice of this guide. Even the weather god was very kind, as a cloudy sky kept the weather very pleasant throughout our stay in Ahobilam.

It was as if Lord Narasimha, was taking special care of us. It only reconfirmed my unconditional faith in God. What else can you call it, considering that a person who finds it tough walking up the two floors of his office could endure and survive the arduous and risky trip up the hills in Ahobila.

I am now awaiting with bated breathe the visit to the Narasimha Temple at Sholingur near Vellore where you have to walk 1000 steps to reach the sanctum sanctorum. I am sure Lord Narasimha will be behind me to see me through this journey as well!

No comments:

Post a Comment