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Ahobilam

Jwala Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Nava Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra PradeshMeditation: I meditate on the Sri Jwala Narasimha of Ahobilam who slayed demon Hiranyakasipu.

Ahobilam: Ahobilam is a Divya Desam and a Narasimha Kshetra. It is located within the beautiful mountain-forests of the Nallamala ranges of the Eastern Ghats in the part known as Sesha Parvata. The river Bhavanashini flows through this place. It is here that Lord Narasimha is said to have slayed demon Hiranyakashipu. The name Ahobilam is derived from two different events. First, the Devas seeing Lord Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu exclaimed in wonder "Aho Balam" (What a strength!). Second, the name Ahobilam means a "Great Cave", where Sri Garuda performed penance and had the vision of the Lord. Subsequently the Lord manifested here in nine different forms known as "Nava Narasimha" due to the penance of Sri Garuda and other spiritual events. Apart from Sri Garuda, the kshetra is associated with the penances of Sri Parashurama, Bhakta Hanuman and others. It is also believed that Lord Narasimha himself came in the form of an old man and gave sanyasa to Van Satagopa Jiyar, the first Jiyar of the Ahobila Mutt. Ahobilam is mentioned in Brahmanda Purana, Narasimha Purana, Nalariya Divya Prabandhams and other scriptures.

Thiru Singavel Kundram Divya Desam: Ahobilam is one of the 108 Divya Desams known as Thiru Singavel Kundram Divya Desam. Thirumangai Azhwar has sung ten verses in Periya Thirumozhi in praise of Ahobilam.

Sesha Parvata: Ahobilam is located on the Nallamalai mountain ranges on the part known as Sesha Parvata (South of river Krishna). Sesha Parvata is visualized in the form of Adi Sesha whose head is at Tirupati (Venkatadri), whose middle part is at Ahobilam (Vedagiri and Garudagiri) and whose tail is at Srisailam (Sringiri).

The name Ahobilam: The name Ahobilam is derived from two different events.
- First, the Devas seeing Lord Narasimha slaying Hiranyakashipu exclaimed in wonder "Aho Balam" (What a strength!). There is a popular sloka for this attributed to the Devas:
Ahoviryam Ahosauryam Ahobahu Parakramah |
Narasimham Param Daivam Ahobilam Ahobalam ||

- Second, the name Ahobilam means a "Great Cave", where Sri Garuda performed penance and had the vision of the Lord. According to Ahobilam Kaifiyat, Sri Garuda performed silent penance inside a cave of a mountain to obtain the vision of Lord Narasimha. After many years, Lord Narasimha manifested in another cave whose vision he gave to Garuda. Garuda travelled to that cave and had the darshan of Sri Jwala Narasimha, the fierce form of Narasimha who had slayed demon Hiranyakashipu. Sri Garuda worshipped the Divya Mangala Vigraha of Lord Narasimha with several stotras. The hill where Sri Garuda perfomed penance is known as Garudadri hills.

Nava Narasimha:

Nava Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Subsequently the Lord manifested here in nine different forms known as "Nava Narasimha" due to the penance of Sri Garuda and other spiritual events. The nine different forms of Lord Narasimha is enumerated by the sloka below:
Jwala Ahobila Maha Lola |
Krodha Karanja Bhargava |
Yogananda Chatravata |
Pavaneya Nava Moorthayah ||

- The nine different forms of Lord Narasimha are:
1. Jwala Narasimha
2. Ahobila Narasimha
3. Malola Narasimha
4. Krodha or Varaha Narasimha
5. Karanja Narasimha
6. Bhargava Narasimha
7. Yogananda Narasimha
8. Chatravata Narasimha
9. Pavana Narasimha

The temples are often enumerated in different order according to their proximity for the purpose of tourism.

Lower and Upper Ahobilam: The whole Ahobilam is divided into two parts:
1. Diguva Ahobilam or Lower Ahobilam: Contains a single (main) shrine of Sri Lakshmi Narasimha.
2. Yeguva Ahobilam or Upper Ahobilam: Contains the nine forms of Lord Narasimha with the Ahobila Narasimha as the main shrine.
The distance between Lower Ahobilam and Upper Ahobilam is around 12 km. One needs to drive through the ascending road with beautiful mountain forests on both sides. The Nava Narasimha temples are often grouped according to their proximity to Lower or Upper Ahobilam.

Nava Narasimha temples near Lower Ahobilam:

1. Bhargava Narasimha:

Bhargava Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Bhargava Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Bhargava Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh This temple is located at a distance of 2 km from the Lower Ahobilam. One needs to trek the entire distance through beautiful forest area. Sri Parashurama or Bhargava Rama is said to have performed penance here. Hence the name Bhargava Narasimha. Near the temple is a tank with cool fresh water which is known as Bhargava Tirtha or Akshaya Tirtha. A flight of steps near the temple tank leads to the temple. The image of Lord Narasimha here is around 3 feet high with four hands. With the lower two hands, the Lord is slaying demon Hiranyakashipu. With the upper two hands, the Lord is holding Shankha and Chakra. Bhakta Prahlada is standing on the right with folded hands.

2. Yogananda Narasimha:

Yogananda Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Nava Narasimha near Yogananda Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh This temple is located at a distance of 2 km from the Lower Ahobilam. It is believed that after slaying demon Hiranyakashipu, Lord Narasimha taught several yogic postures to Prahlada here. The image of Lord Narasimha here is around 2 feet 8 inches high with four hands. The Lord is sitting in Yogic posture where the legs are crossed and tied with yogapatta. With the upper two hands the Lord is holding Shankha and Chakra. The other two hands are resting on the knees.

3. Chatravata Narasimha:

Chatravata Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Chatravata Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh This temple is located at a distance of 4 km from Lower Ahobilam on the same route as the Yogananda Narasimha. The temple of Lord Narasimha here is near a Banyan tree (Vata) which forms an umbrella (Chatra). Hence he is called Chatravata Narasimha. Lord Narasimha is said to have blessed two gandharvas (celestial musicians) named Haha and Huhu, who came from Meru Parvata and sang melodious songs before the Lord. By that blessings they became renowned singers in the three worlds. Even today, devotees sing songs before the Lord to get his blessings. The image of Lord Narasimha is depicted as sitting in padmasana. The Lord has four hands. With the upper two hands, the Lord is holding Shankha and Chakra. With the lower right hand, the Lord is showing the abhaya mudra (gesture of granting fearlessness). The lower left hand of the Lord is placed over the left thigh.

Nava Narasimha temples near Upper Ahobilam:

4. Ahobila or Ugra Narasimha:

Ahobila Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh This is the main temple and the earliest of all the temples. It is located just after reaching the Upper Ahobilam. The Lord manifested here in his Ugra or fierce form. It is believed that the image of Lord Narasimha here is Swayambhu (self-manifested).

5. Krodha or Varaha Narasimha:

Varaha Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh The temple is located at a distance of 1 km from the main temple of Ahobila Narasimha (of Upper Ahobilam). One needs to trek along the beautiful hilly forested route along the side of Bhavanashini river. There is the Kalakshepa Mandapam on the way which is a resting place with many pillars. One descends into an enchanting narrow valley formed between the Vedadri and Garudadri hills. The crystal clear waters of river Bhavanashini forms the Varaha Kundam. There are two images in this cave shrine, one of Lakshmi Narasimha and the other of Varaha Narasimha with consort Bhudevi. Bhudevi is seen embracing the snout of the Lord. Lord Varaha is having two hands. Though the head is of boar, the tail of the Lord is that of a lion.

6. Jwala Narasimha:

Jwala Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Jwala Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Jwala Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh The temple is located at a distance of around 4 km from the main temple of Ahobila Narasimha (of Upper Ahobilam). The trek is quite arduous. One passes through the Varaha Narasimha temple and then the path becomes quite steep. However, one walks through the beautiful rocky forested paths with cool shades of tall trees and river streams with crystal clear waters. Artificial steel stairways are placed in some portions of the path for ascending the steep heights. One finally reaches the cave of Lord Jwala Narasimha adjacent to a steep falling mountain side. The place is cool and filled with divine vibrations.

It is in this place that Lord Narasimha is said to have slayed demon Hiranyakashipu. Still higher up (which is a still more difficult trek) is a pillar-shaped rock known as Ugra Stambham. It is said that Lord Narasimha manifested from that pillar and slayed Hiranyakashipu.

The Lord manifested a very fierce form while slaying the demon, and his anger did not subside even after that. So the devas are said to have poured the waters of the celestial river Ganga (Suraganga) over his head, which became river Bhavanashini. Just below the cave there is a small kunda with reddish water known as Rakta Kunda. It is said that Lord Narasimha washed his hands here after slaying the demon which turned its water red.

There are three images in the shrine. The combination of the three images form the sequence of the stages in which the Lord slayed Hiranyakashipu. First, is the Chaturbhuja form (with four hands) when Lord Narasimha is emerging from the pillar. Second, is the form when Lord Narasimha is advancing towards demon Hiranyakashipu. Third is the Ashtabhuja form when the Lord is slaying Hiranyakashipu.

- The image of the Chaturbhuja form of the Lord is shown as coming out of the pillar (Stambhodbhava murti). The upper two hands are holding the Shankha and the Chakra. The lower two hands are in the posture as if to tear the demon. Devi Lakshmi is on the right and Prahlada is on the left.
- The image of the Lord advancing towards Hiranyakashipu has two hands. With the left hand the Lord is about to catch hold of the demon and with the right hand the Lord is about to strike the demon with his open palm. Hiranyakashipu is shown with an uplifted sword to strike the Lord.
- The image of the Ashtabhuja form of the Lord has four pairs of hand. The first pair of hands hold the Shankha and the Chakra. The second pair of hands render the demon motionless and disarms him (by pressing him down). The third pair of hands tear the stomach of the demon. The fourth pair of hands hold the intestine in the shape of a garland.
The image of Prahlada is seen with folded arms.

6. Malola Narasimha:

Malola Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Malola Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh The temple is located at a distance of 2 km from the main temple of Ahobila Narasimha (of Upper Ahobilam). It is located on the Vedadri mountain. One has to trek through beautiful forest paths to reach the temple. The image of Lord Narasimha is in Sowmya form with his consort Devi Lakshmi. The Lord is seated on a raised seat. The right leg of the Lord is hanging down. The left leg is folded and on his thigh is sitting Devi Lakshmi. The feet of the goddess rests on a Lotus which has sprouted from the earth. The Lord is having four hands. With the upper two hands, the Lord is holding the Shankha and the Chakra. With the lower right hand the Lord is showing the Abhaya mudra. With the lower left hand the Lord is embracing Devi Lakshmi. The word Malola is derived from Ma (Devi Lakshmi) and Lola (Beloved). It means beloved of Lakshmi.

7. Karanja Narasimha:

Karanja Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Karanja Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Karanja Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh This temple is located just a few hundred meters away from main temple of Ahobila Narasimha (of Upper Ahobilam). Bhakta Hanuman performed penance under a Karanja tree to have the darshan of Sri Rama. The Lord first appeared in the form of Narasimha. When Hanuman persisted on getting the darshan of Sri Rama, the Lord assumed a form with a bow in hand (similar to Sri Rama). The image of the Lord is depicted in meditative posture with the hood of the cobra over the head. The image has four hands. With the upper right hand, the Lord is holding the Chakra. With the upper left hand, the Lord is holding the Saranga bow. The lower hands are in Dhyana mudra.

8. Pavana Narasimha:

Pavana Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh Pavana Narasimha, Ahobilam, Kurnool district, Andhra Pradesh The temple is located at a distance of 6 km from the main temple of Ahobila Narasimha (of Upper Ahobilam). One has to trek through the rocky forested paths to reach the temple.The shrine is located on the bank of river Pavani. The image of Lord Narasimha is with his consort Devi Lakshmi. The Lord is seated on Adishesha whose hood also forms the umbrella of the Lord. The right leg of the Lord is hanging down. The left leg of the Lord is is folded and on his thigh is sitting Devi Lakshmi. The Lord is having four hands. With the upper two hands, the Lord is holding the Shankha and the Chakra. With the lower right hand the Lord is showing the Abhaya mudra. With the lower left hand the Lord is embracing Devi Lakshmi.

• Ahobilam temple is located in the Kurnool district of Andhra Pradesh.


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