Yaganti Temple or Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple is located in Kurnool, in the state of Andhra Pradesh. The Chief deity of this temple is Lord Shiva.
Yaganti Temple History
During the Sangama Dynasty, King Harihara Bukka Raya of Vijayanagara Empire constructed this temple around the 15th century. The temple was built keeping in mind all the Vaishnavite traditions. There are two stories revolving around the background story of the temple.
The First Story Yaganti Temple
There was a devotee of Lord Shiva. His name was Chittappa. He was a staunch follower and a devote of the great Lord. One day he was meditating and worshipping him in a jungle, when suddenly the Lord appeared in front of him but in a guise of a Tiger. That very instance, Chittappa knew that it was no one else but His Holiness in a guise, he was overjoyed and mesmerized by Lord Shiva divine grace. He started dancing around with joy and kept on chanting, Neganti Shivanu ne kanti. Which means “I saw Shiva, I saw” The place where Chittappa saw the tiger, there exists a cave. This cave is standing at that location till now. Moreover the cave is named after the devote.
Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple is one of the temples in India which got a royal patronage. Every year during Shiva Ratri huge number of devotees come to this temple to offer their respects and homage to the Lord Shiva. This temple’s main deities are Lord Shiva, Lady Parvati (Shiva’s Wife) and Nandi. The saint Veerabrahmendra Swami took shelter in this Holy place and wrote the scripture Kalagnanam.
The Second story Yaganti Temple
Sage Agastya during the 15th Century wanted to erect a Temple and dedicate it to Lord Vishnu. Everything was going as planned, however the Vishnu idol’s nail got chipped during the transition of the idol to the temple. This incident saddened the sage very much. He then started a penance ritual for Lord Shiva, where he appeared. He (Shiva) then said to the sage that the location of the temple and the place where it was situated reminded him of Kailash (Lord Shiva’s original Mountain Abode) hence this temple should be dedicated to him. Hearing this, the sage requested Lord Shiva to provide the devotees a Lord Uma Maheswara (Lady Parvati’s another form) in a single cut stone. Lord shiva then agreed to this and provided them the idol.
These two stories are the main background story of the Temple of Sri Yaganti Uma Maheswara or Yaganti temple in short.
Pushkarini (The Pond)
Another interesting fact about the temple is its ‘Pushkarini’ which means pond. This pond is situated within the temple’s perimeter. The source of the water comes within the hills that surround the temple. Then it reaches the temple all the way underground and through the mouth of Nandi (Bull) idol’s mouth it falls and joins the pond within the temple. It is a mystery even to the localities how, throughout the year the water manages to reach the pond inside the temple and how does the water flow thru the mouth of the Nandi Idol. Devotees belief that taking a holy dip in that pond is good and after taking a bath in the fresh and sweet water they go and give offering to the Lord Shiva.
There are a few caves around the Yaganti Temple which one can go and see:
Agastya Cave: This is the place where the sage Agastya offered his penance to Lord Shiva. It is a deep cave and to reach the interior, one has to climb 120 steps, which are pretty steep.
Venkateswara Cave: The idol of Lord Venkateswara still stands in this cave to this date. Although the base of the idol is damaged hence offering tribute to this idol is not possible. This cave is easy to get to.
Veera Brahmam Cave: This is the cave where the sage wrote the scripture commonly known as Kala Gnanam (book of Prophecies). One has to duck as the ceiling of the cave is low to enter the cave.
There is a strange phenomenon that happens in the Yaganti Temple every 20 years. The Nandi Idol increases by 1 inch every 20 years. The locals have said that the idol was not that big when it was installed. There was a certain sort of experiment carried out on this rock which made it grow ever since. The growth of the stone has also confirmed by the Archeological Survey of India.
Transportation to Yaganti Temple
Yaganti Temple is located in Kurnool, Andhra Pradesh. The temple is roughly 100 kms away from the main city. The temple is 14 kms due West of Banaganapalle, which is the Mandal Headquarters.
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