Ahobilam Yatra 2013
One late evening, on the 29th of June 2013, a group of young men burstling with excitement and energy gathered at the railway station (Mumbai) for a spiritual trek to Ahobilam and Tirupati. Unlike men their age, they had a spiritual disposition, carried with them Mridanga, Kartals, books by SrilaPrabhupada and KrsnaPrasadam. This wonderful group was led by H.G. AdbhutaHariPrabhu.
Reaching Anantapur(a town in Andhra Pradhesh) next day evening(30th June 2013) after an overnight train's journey, we were given a very warm welcome by the devotees at ISKCON ANANTPUR. After refreshments our travellers got the opportunity to have darshan of Sri SriRadhaParthaSarthi and a tour of the beautiful temple with a Goshala and a small zoo, a unique concept for anyone familiar with ISKCON temples. Offering appreciation to the resident devotees, we started on a four hour long bus journey to Ahobilam.
Since antiquity AHOBILAM is considered a sacred place, located in the Kurnool District of the state of Andhra Pradesh, India. Also known as 'Nava NarasimhaKshetram'-(The Land of the Nine Narasimha), it is divided into two; Upper and Lower Ahobilam. The complete place is covered with forests, mountains and ponds. It has variety of flora and fauna. The people here were very simple but very outgoing, helpful and completely dedicated to Lord Narasimha.
In the next two days we had darshan of twelve shrines.
Upper Ahobilam consisted of a trek in the mountains of the Nallamalla Hills to have darshan of the eight shrines spread in approximately 20km.
These eight places are namely;
1. Jwala Narasimha: High up in the hills, it is here that the Lord's fierce anger reached its culmination and he tore apart the demon King Hiranyakashipu. Also situated nearby is RaktaKundam, where Sri Narasimha washed his hands of the blood after killing the demon. The water is still reddish in appearance here.
2. Ugra Stambham: The highest point in the trek, this is the place from where the Lord appeared in the form of Sri Narsimha. Lord Chaitanya had visited here in his South India yatra. Later srila bhakti siddhantasaraswatithakura had established the foot prints of lord chaitanya at the same place. We had a quite bhagavatamkatha here.
3. Prahalada Mettu (Prahalad's School): Situated below UgraStambam, there is a small deity of Prahlada Maharaja inside a cave. This place is considered to be the school of Sri Prahlada.
4. Malola Narasimha: This is the graceful form of Lord Narasimha, seen here with his consort Laxmidevi. 'Malola' literally means' The beloved of Laxmi'
5. Krodaka (Varaha) Narasimha: The Deity of Sri Narasimha Deva here has the face of a Boar (Varaha or Kroda)
6. Ugra Narasimha: The Lord here is in a very fierce form, i.e, 'Ugra' form. The main and the earliest of all the nine Narasimha temples, it is situated at the foothill.
7. Karanja Narasimha: This temple is under a 'Karanja' tree hence the name. The deity has a Bow and an arrow.KaranjaNarasimha is also worshipped by Sri Hanuman.
8. Pavana Narasimha: This deity is situated near the bank of the river Pavana.
Lower Ahobilam houses four shrines spread in approximately 8kms. They are;
1. Laxmi Narasimha Temple: Temple dedicated to the worship of Sri LaxmiNarasimha. The deities are understood to be installed by Lord Balaji. The temple complex is ancient and constructed in the traditional South Indian Style.
2. Bhargava Narasimha: Situated near the pond, ' BhargavaTirtham', where Bhargava Rama (parasurama) performed penance. Hence the name.
3. Yogananada Narasimha: After killing Hiranyakashipu the Lord taught prahlada different yogic postures, political science, etc. Hence he is known as Yogananda
4. Chatravata Narsimha: This deity is installed under a peepal tree surrounded by thorny bushes. Hence the name.
After offering our prayers to Sri Narasimha Deva we started for Tirupati on the early morning of the 3rd of July. A journey of seven hours by bus and train, we reached ISKCON Tirupati by noon. ISKCON Tirupati is a huge complex with a magnificientGopuram built in a typical traditional South Indian style of architecture. The presiding deity is Sri RadhaGovinda with AstaSakhis. After refreshments we started for Tirumala Hills in the evening where Lord Balaji resides. The next day was spent in kirtans and kathas. We also performed HarinamSankirtan on the streets of Tirumala. As the evening approached devotees offered their hair to the Lord thereby shunning their ego and beauty for the Lord. Devotees had a wonderful darshan of Lord Balaji at late night. Thongs of people can been seen offering their prayers and having darshan of Balaji. The huge temple and its architecture were mesmerizing situated in a very scenic area. Devotees had a blissful day at Tirumala.
We started back for Mumbai on 5th July via Anantapur. Here again we were given nice hospitality by ISKCON Anantapur devotees. We reached back to Mumbai on the 7th July. Since day one we were chanting, reading and hearing about the Lord. Devotees’dispersed to their respective homes by late night with wonderful spiritual insights and bliss!
– Narrated by an enthusiastic yatra participant