Abhaya Venkateswara Swamy
Appalayagunta is a small village in Puttur taluka, Chittoor district. In this village there is a divine pious & precious Lord Sri Venkateswara Temple. As per Hindu mythology, Lord Venkateswara married goddess Padmavathi in Narayanavanam and then climbed Tirumala. On the way to Tirumala, he visited Lord shiva temple at Kailasanatha kona and blessed the saints there. He then left for Vemula Konda (The hill of Yogis). In Vemula Konda, to fulfil Siddheswara muni’s wish, Sri Venkateswara promised the saint that he will stay there and bless the devotees. Siddheswara muni placed the lord’s idol down the hill, built a temple and named the Lord there as “Prasanna Venkateswara Swami”.
There is a cave in Siddheswara hill. Long ago, the kings of Karveti Nagara took a hiding in that cave during invader’s attack since then that cave has been named as “Doralu Dagina Konda” (Kings hiding cave). As per the local people’s narration, the sword present in that cave cannot be pulled out of its hole, no matter how strong you try to pull it out. Till the recent times, Utsavams have been held for this intriguing sword.
Based on the scripture evidences, we can say that the Prasanna Venkateswara temple was built by the Karveti Nagara Kings. A big pond in front of the temple was also built, along with the temple, which is still the biggest pond in this region. While constructing it, daily hundreds of coolies (servants) were called for work and the wages were paid to all of them at the dusk, not going into debt (Appulu) with them. Some say that, that is how this pond got its name as “Appalaya Gunta”. According to the local records it is named as “Amruta Sarovaram”. In Tamil language Amrunda” means “No Debts”. A few others say, the pond got its name from “Appalayya”, a local officer who supervised its construction. The village situated at the front side of the pond is also named as “Appalaya Gunta”.
As the financial situation of the administrators of Karveti Nagara became seriously ill even before the completion of this pond, its construction was left incomplete. This pond is also called “Padma Sarovaram”. Along with the Pond’s construction, the Kings of Karveti nagara started the temple construction too. But due to the same financial constraints, the temple construction was also not completed. But, since they were the trustees of the temple, they made “Annayya Gunta” or “Ayyanna Palli” village as the property of the temple. But over the time, only the annayyagunta village remained and all others were exhausted.
The Main Temple
The temple faces to the east and there is a compound wall surrounding the temple built out of bricks. Just like the pond and the temple, this wall is also incomplete. The signs of the foundation for building a big Gopuram provide evidence on the main entrance gate of the temple. After the main entrance, there is a Dhvaja Sthambham, Mukha Mandapam is present infrort of it and to the east of this, a Garuda Mandapam is also seen. Garuda Mandapam hosts a beautiful idol of Garuda joining his hands with obedience and is seen facing the Lord’s idol. One more “Prakaram (corridor) is located around 10 feet inside to the main prakaram. This is not even built to a height of 3 feet. In between these two Prakarams, in the east direction, “Potu (Kitchen) is located with the idol of “Annapoorna
(Vakula Mata) in it.
The main temple has two mandapams (halls on it’s either sides). In front of them, the south hall possesses Goddess Padmavati Devi’s idol in it, and the north hall holds Andal’s idol. It is very rare to have goddess’ idols outside of the main temple. This is the specialty of this temple. At the center of the temple, we can see Garbha Griha (The Main Sanctum), Antharala (The Path into the Sanctum), and a spacious Mukha Mandapam. At the center of Garbhalayam, Lord as Prasanna Venkateswara is spectated by the pilgrims. This chief idol receives all the Pujas and the offerings. The Lord here is four armed. The upper two arms hold Shanka and Chakra while the lower hands portrays “Abhaya Mudra” and “Varada Mudra”. The priests here says that this idol doesn’t have Naagaabharanas (serpent shaped jewellery). The salient feature of this temple is that chief idol with ‘Abhaya Mudra’ is seen only in this place and such idol is not found elsewhere in and around either Tirupati and Tirumala. On the right side of the bosom, a triangular mark is visible and it can imply that the lord holds the form of divine Shakth Near to the main idol, Procession idols, and Sudarshana Alwar idols are placed.
There is a square shaped “Dravida Viman” and above that, there is a “Kalash” located symmetrically above the Garbhalayam. There are eight shelves on the four sides of the “Viman” During the Festivals and Utsavams, these shelves host oil lamps. They are much of use in the month of “Karthika” (Krithigai).
Before the central temple, there is a narrow “Antharala” with undecorated walls. The mukha mandapam prior to this antharala is square shaped and built with 16 pillars. All these pillars and the walls don’t have any kind of sculptures made on them.
At the center of the mandapam, we havea charpoy, Nine Vaishnava alwars sculptures are placed on the north side of Mukha Mandapam. The 4 feet high metal lamp stands in the Mandapam, were gifted by Sri Raja Venkata Perumal, the then King of Karveti Nagara to the “Amrutha Sarovara Nagara Swam” and the same is etched on the lamp stands. The Garbhaalaya and the Antharala are built on the same “adhishtanam’ (platform).
The birth star of Lord Prasanna Venkateswara is “Sravana”, and hence in the month of “Jyeshta”, annual Brahmotsavam will be celebrated for 9 days. The Lord here has a palanquin and other procession vehicles for His procession. In these Brahmotsavams Lord will be taken in a procession around the Village.
Around 100 sq. yards far from the temple, Lord Hanuman’s mandapam is situated hosting 5 feet tall which faces the Lord Prasanna Venkateswara. People believe that he is powerful and many pilgrims find resemblances between him and “Bedi Anjaneya” of Tirumalal Priests here present their offerings first to Lord Venkateswara then to Lord Hanuman and later to the Bali peetham. After understanding the importance of this particular Abhaya Venkateswara Swami, Tirumala Tirupati Devasthanam took this temple under it’s control from 23-09-1988 and is maintaining its ancient glory.
It is located at 14KM from Tirupati Bus Stand.
How To Reach:
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