In midst of Ahobilam – Jwaala Narasimha Swami

12.12.2016:

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The path which we chose runs along the mountain side and the other side is the valley which is full of breath-taking views. Though the views offered by this route are awesome, the path is a dangerous one! One wrong step, we will be down by a few hundred feet! So, watch carefully for your steps. We came across a small cavern formed naturally into the mountain and small ponds formed by the river. Most of the times we were alone, as this path is less frequented. At one point of time, we were even doubtful whether we are going in the right way 🙂

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After an hour and a half trek, we were able to see some other pilgrims who are making their way up and we joined them. Half the way is just a wild path while the other half has steps. We started ascending the steps which are steep and draining the energy out of us. Half way through, Bilal was down, he told me to carry on as he can’t make it anymore. I told him to wait till I return and continued to ascend. It was here when I got to see few people trying to scale a steep hill. I heard from the devotees that there is the Ugra-Stambha up. It is a steep hill to climb and full of rocks. Though I wanted to ascend it, I don’t know how much would it take to reach the place and come back and adding to that it started to rain!

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The hill which I was ascending is called the ‘Achalachaya Meru’ where the Jwaala Narasimha Swami temple is located. I need to speed up as we have to return back to Anantapur by evening, so that we can make our return journeys. So I dropped the plan of visiting the Ugra Stambha 😦 . From here, I got the first glimpse of the Jwaala Narasimha Swami temple. After ascending the steps, it was again a rugged path and the path leading to this temple goes under an overhanging rock. At the same time, a waterfall runs down from somewhere above this rock and one should walk under this waterfall to reach the temple. I saw few devotees filling up their water-bottles with this water and the feeling of walking under the waterfall with the water splashing on you after a tiring trek is truly refreshing and rejuvenating!

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While I was nearing the temple, towards the right of the path is a small pond called Rakta Kundam. The legend behind this is that Lord Narasimha had washed the blood off his hands after killing Hiranyakashipu. The pond has a red shade and hence the name I suppose. I proceeded into the temple which is again located in a small cave like that of the other temples here and it has some 3-4 idols. The main idol is that of Shri Narasimha Swami holding Hiranyakashipu on his lap and ripping him apart. It is believed that this the exact spot where Lord Narasimha had killed the demon king Hiranyakashipu. After having the darshan, I joined Bilal and we started descending down the hill.

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This time we took the other route and as always this route is quite easy to walk except that it’s a bit more rocky. On the way down, we came across a old saint and we were amazed by his power. After seeking blessings from him too we quickened our pace and reached the base of the hill from where we have to take a bus to get down to Lower Ahobilam. But we couldn’t find one and opted a free-hanging journey on the back of a 7-seat auto-rickshaw and this too is one of my most memorable journeys as I never tried one such before 🙂

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From Lower Ahobilam, we took a bus back to Aallagadda and then to Tadipatri, from where I took a bus to Bangalore and Bilal to Anantapur. Thus ended my three days wild road trip and

Ahobilam – The Adventurous Pilgrimage

12.12.2016:

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There is a pathway onto the left side of the Ahobila Narasimha Swami temple which leads us to the Jwala Narasimha Swami temple on the top of the hill. After ascending a few steps we saw a waterfall, though it doesn’t have much water, I can imagine the flow in it during the monsoons. The waterfall is formed by the River Bhavanaashini which carves its’ way through the jungles. Watch out your steps while walking on the wooden bridge over the waterfall that leads to the trek path, as the bridge was partially broken and a leg can go through those patches!

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The path is covered with dense foliage and many trees all the way. Adding to this was the Vanara Sena (the monkey population). This place is full of monkeys and be careful if you are carrying water bottles, food items and your cameras with you. One careless moment, they can snatch anything from you! After a short while, we came across the Varaha (Krodha) Narasimha Swamy temple, which is on a raised platform, but the idol of the God here, which is also a self manifest is in a small cave. The idol here faces upwards towards his left and the Goddess Lakshmi sits on his left shoulder holding one of his tusks. After a small prayer, we left the temple.

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There are two ways from here. One is through the sideways of the valley, while the other is through a safer side. We preferred the later. The later is comprised of steps through some distance and then a rugged path and again few steps and so on. The real trek starts from here as the steps are steep and we were getting tired. We stopped here and there, but we kept on moving. After a hike of 2 kms, we stopped at the ‘Malola Narasimha Swami temple’. The deity in this temple appears in a graceful form. As the Lord Narasimha is seen with his consort, goddess Lakshmi, he is known as Malola Narasimha Swami. The word ‘Malola’ means beloved to Lakshmi (Ma-Lakshmi, Lola-beloved). This place is also known as Markonda Lakshmi Kshetra.

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There is a path besides this temple which leads us to other interesting place called the ‘Prahalladuni Badi’ (Prahalada’s school) and his cave. It is believed that Prahalada had his schooling here. One can see transcendental letters all over the rocks and these are believed to be etched by Prahalada. We were back on way to continue our forward journey. From the Malola Narasimha Swami temple, we got to see the beauty of those hills covered with the thick blanket of trees. After clicking few photographs, we started walking again. The terrain is getting more rugged. We chose the path through the valley-side from here as we heard that this is like more adventurous and more scenic. Truly, it is!

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The path which we chose is less frequented. There is another way which leads to the Jwala Narasimha Swami temple and most of the pilgrims chose this. The best part is there are sticks available here for the pilgrims for supporting their walk and we can choose one, and for the elderly there are the palanquins made of cloth or wood that will be carried by few people for some money. I mentioned at the beginning of this post that trip is truly a miracle for me and besides we running short of time and without having proper food for a long time, we didn’t run out of our energies. Secondly, we forgot to carry water bottles with us and though we started feeling thirsty at the beginning, this thirst never hindered our foot-steps towards the Lord 🙂 🙂

aho viryam aho shauryam aho bahuparakramah
narasimham param daivam ahobilam aho balam