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Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha Swamy Varu Temple
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Pooja Cost : US$ 9.00 Leadtime : 5 Days
Location : Mangalagiri, near Vijayawada.
Main Deity : Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy and Panakala Swamy.
Nearest Town : Vijayawada District : Guntur State : Andhra Pradesh
Mangalagiri is one of the eight important Mahakshetrams (sacred places) in India. The temple of Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimha swamy is situated on the hill. On the right side of the steps provided to reach the temple, there is a stone inscription by Sri Krishnadeva Raya of Vijayanagar and further up, the footprints of Mahaprabhu Chaithanaya are to be seen. Midway on the steps there is a temple of Sri Venkateswara Swamy. In the temple of Lord Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy, there is only the face with the mouth widely opened. Behind the temple, there is the temple of Sri Lakshmi, to the west of which there is a tunnerl, which is believed to lead to Undavali caves on the banks of the Krishna. The Lord that has established Himself on the hill is in the form of Narasimha (man-lion) which Lord Vishnu assumed to kill Hiranyakasipa, A Rakshasa father of Prahlada, a great devotee. He is also called Sudarsana Narasimhaswamy. The legend says that Namuchi, a Rakshasa after great penance obtained a boon from Brahma that he would not be killed by any thing that is either wet or dry. He began to harass Indra and the Devathas. Encouraged and supported by Lord Vishnu, Indra commenced destroying the army of Rakshasa Namuchi, who hid in a cave in Sukshmakaram giving up his stulakaram. Indra dipped Sudarsanam, the disc of Lord Vishnu in the foam of the ocean and sent it into the cave. Lord Vishnu manifesting himself at the centre of the disc destroyed the Pranavayuvu of the Rakshasa with the fire of His exhalation. He thus got the name of Sudarsana Narasimha. The blood that flowed from the body of the Rakshasa seemed to have formed into a pool at the foot of the hill, which is known hill. The Lord said that he would be satisfied with milk in Swaparayugam, with ghee in Threthayugam and with panagam (jaggery water) in Kaliyugam.
It is also believed that Lord Rama while departing for Vaikuntam after completing his mission in that incarnation advised Anjaneya to stay at Mangalagiri and after obtaining his blessings to remain in this world for ever. Anjaneya took his adobe at Mangalagiri as Kshetrapalaka. The place thus also came to be known as Mukthyadri (the hill that grant Mukthi-salvation).

The image of the Lord in the form of Narasimha (man-lion) and that of Lakshmidevi to His left are of stone. The garland of the Lord with 108 saligramams is of special significance here. Daksjamavartha Sankam, a special conch believed to be the one that was used by Lord Krishna and resented by the Maharaja of Tanjore is one more possession of significance of the Lord. There is also an ancient ratha (temple car) belonging to the temple with ornamental woodcarvings depicting the scenes from the great epics of Bharata, Bhagavata and Ramayana. Thimmaraju Devaraju a military chieftain of the Vijayanagara rulers improved this temple. He had constructed prakarams, mandapas, gopurams, five images of Lord Bhairava, a festival chariot, and ten varieties of courts for annual ceremonies, flower gardens, lakes and tanks. He had also installed utsava vigrahas in the temple. To the north of the temple, there is temple of Sri Rajyalakshmi to the south that of Rama with Sita and Lakshmi and to the west vahanasala. The Lakshminarayana temple and the Anjaneya Mandiram in Pedda Bazar are the other places of worship in the town.
Sri Panakala Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy Brahmothsavam is very important annual festival. It is believed that the celebration was inaugurated by Dharmaraja at the behest of Lord Krishna. Pradyumna, the son of Lord Krishna, requested his father to celebrate his brithday annually for a sapthaham from Phalguna Suddha Sapthami. Lord Krishna entrusted this work to Dharmarja. At present, the festival is celebrated for 11 days commencing from phalguna sudda shasti (February-March). The perculiarity in this temple is that jaggery water locally lnown as panakam is poured as an offering to the Lord with a conch. The jaggery water is actually poured into the mouth of the Lord as an offering. While the jaggery water is being poured into the mouth of the Lord, a gargling sound is clearly audible as if the Lord is actually drinking it and the sound becomes shriller and shriller as and when the Lord is drinking. The sound wikk come to a stop after sometimes and the balance of the jaggery water is thrown out. This phenmenon happens not once in a day but is a recurring feature during the course of the day as and when devotees offer panakam. It will be interesting to note that even a single ant s not traceable near the Lord nor around the temple in spite of the offering of so much jaggery water. As the offering of panakam to the Lord is pecuilar, the Lord here is called Panakala Narasimhaswamy. Srirama Navami, Hanumajayanthi, Narasimhajayanthi and Vaikuntha Ekadasi are celebrated here on a large scale.