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Friday, January 21, 2022

Vedanarayana Swamy Temple, Nagalapuram, Andhra Pradesh

Nagalapuram is a village in Chittoor district of the Andhra Pradesh. It is the mandal headquarters of Nagalapuram mandal. Nagalapuram the temple town is built during the period of Sri Krishnadevaraya of Vijayanagara empire regime in memory of his mother Nagala Devi. Hence, this place which was originally known as Harigandapuram came to be known as Sri Nagalapuram.

This temple which reflects the Vijayanagara architectural style has the main moorthi Vedanarayana swamy facing west. The sanctum sanctorum has Vedanarayana swamy with his consorts Sridevi and Bhoodevi on either side.

Bhagwan Vishnu assumes Matsya Avatar i.e., first Avatar of the Dasa Avatar in this temple, who saved the four Vedas from the demon Somakasura and returned to Brahma. Therefore, the temple deity of Vedanarayana Swamy does not have the feet and instead has the matsya, indicating the Matsya Avatar of Bhagwan Vishnu.

Legend of Sri Veda Narayanaswamy Temple, Nagalapuram

According to Puranas (Matsya Purana), the history of Sri Veda Narayanaswamy Temple goes back to the beginning of the Universe.

Brahma once took a nap and the Vedas involuntarily slipped out of his mouth. An Asura known as ‘Somakasura’ who was waiting for this occasion immediately steals the Vedas and goes hiding in the depths of the ocean. The Vedas are the vital knowledge required for the creation and running of the universe. Hence, the Devatas seek the help of Bhagwan Vishnu to retrieve the Vedas and bring the world back to its original balance.

Bhagwan Maha-Vishnu, assumes the Matsya avatar, searches and finds the Somakasura in the depths of the ocean. After a fight lasting several years, He was able to defeat the Asura and retrieve the Vedas. Thus, Bhagwan Vishnu effectively gave back the world its normal cycle and order.

Afterward, Bhagwan Matsya rests here, along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. Bhagwan in this temple takes the posture of Dushta Nirvahana (purifying the world from evil) with the Sudarshana Chakra (discus) ready in his hand for prayoga (ready for deployment). When He emerged from the ocean after defeating Somakasura, the Surya Dev removed the cold of the oceanic depths from the head-to-toe of Bhagwan through his gentle rays.

Dissolution and recreation of the universe

King Satyavrata (who was later known as Manu) was offering water during Sandhya Vandanam when a small fish appeared in the hands of Satyavrata and pleaded him to save its life. The king put it in a jar and it soon started growing bigger.

The fish was then moved to a tank, a river and then to the ocean as it was expanding its form rapidly.

Bhagwan Vishnu, who was in the disguise of the fish, told King Satyavrata that a massive flood would occur within seven days that would destroy all life in the universe. Bhagwan Vishnu also told him to get in to the spacious boat that would come shortly after collecting all variety of seeds, accompanied by Seven Saints along with Serpent Vasuki and other animals.

In the meanwhile, Bhagwan Vishnu completed his mission to recollect Vedas from Somakasura and gave Vedas to Brahma to create life with the help of Satyavrata.

Pralayam (i.e., dissolution or end of the manifested universe) started with the ocean rising rapidly and a boat came near Satyavrata. Then Satyavrata tied the boat to the fish he left in the ocean using “Vasuki” as rope and sailed on rising oceans with his paraphernalia throughout Pralayam. Thus, Bhagwan Vishnu saved the mankind from Pralayam known as dissolution.

Vedanarayana temple at Nagalapuram is one of the very few temples in Bharat where one can find Bhagwan Vishnu in Matsya avatar, Dashavatara’s first incarnation. The other deities present in this temple are Vedavathi Thayar, Kodandarama Swami, Lakshmi Varaha Swami, Venugopala Swami, Lakshmi Narayan and Sri Hayagriva.

Temple brahmostavam comes on Shukla Dwadasi, Trayodasi and Chaturdasi of Phalguna masam (February/March). Temple architecture is built in such a way that during these three days, the sun rays fall on the main deity feet (on dwadasi 12th day of the month), navel (on trayodasi 13th day of the month) and fore head (14th day of the month), called as “Surya Pooja”.

As the main deity in this temple is facing west, between 6 pm -6.15 pm the rays of the setting Sun enter the main ‘Gopuram’, pass through the precincts to touch the main deity, located about 600 metres away from the entrance.  This event coincides with the start of summer season as per the holy inscriptions available in the temple.

Sri Vedanarayana Swamy temple is well maintained by Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam (T.T.D) with beautiful gardens along the prakaarams. Chittoor district of Andhra Pradesh has several ancient temples and one can experience spiritual enlightenment in his pilgrimage to these temples.  

How to reach Nagalapuram?

Nagalapuram is located around 60 kms south east of Tirupati and well connected by road. Direct buses are available to Nagalapuram from both Tirupati and Chennai (around 70 KMs).

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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]

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