Among the many temples located in Andhra, one of the most magnificent is the Sri Uma Maheswara Temple also known as the Yaganti Temple or Yagantiswamy Temple. It is located in Yaganti which is in Kurnool of Andhra Pradesh. This temple is devoted to Lord Shiva and is supposed to have been built in the 15th century by kings Harihara and Bukka Raya of Sangama dynasty of Vijayanagara Empire.
Yaganti Temple is extremely beautiful and is in the middle of the Yerramala Hills, surrounded by scenic beauty. Also, there are numerous caves in the hills around the temple where quite a lot of saints reside including the great Telugu saint and astrologer ‘Potuluti Veera Brahmam Garu.’
The temple dates back to 5th and 6th centuries with donations from the Pallavas, Chalukyas, Cholas and Vijayanagara rulers. Apart from this, the temple also received valuable contributions from Vijayanagara Kings Harihara and Bukka Rayalu who completed the construction of quite a lot of structures in and around the temple.
Yaganti Temple has idols of Shiva and Parvathi engraved out of a single stone. This temple is almost certainly the only place where Lord Shiva is adorned in the form of an idol and not in the form of a Shiva Linga. It is a popular belief that Agastya performed the sacrament for Lord Shiva and appealed him Lord Shiva to make an appearance in Ardhanareeswara form. Another very bizarre yet miraculous characteristic of this temple is that the idol of Nandi here keeps increasing in size.
Yaganti Temple History
Lord Agastyar was a preacher, a Vedic saint, the earliest Siddhar & one of the Saptarishis, the seven sages who were extruded at many places in the Vedas. According to the mythology associated with the temple, Lord Agastyar desired to construct a temple for Lord Venkateswara, i.e. Lord Vishnu at Yaganti.
Accordingly, a number of rituals were performed to establish the idol of Lord Vishnu at the explicit place selected at Yaganti but to his surprise, he found that the nail of the foot thumb finger was broken. Lord Agastya was bothered to discover this and made a sacrament to Lord Shiva to be acquainted with the reason behind the incident. Lord Shiva responded positively to his prayer and appeared before him and explained that the place bear a resemblance to Kailash and it is appropriate tobe the domicile of Lord Shiva.
Sage Agastya was enthralled and demanded Lord Shiva to dwell in this place for eternity along with Goddess Parvati. So, since then the place is called as Uma Maheswara Temple where in ‘Uma’ refers to Goddess Parvati and ‘Maheswara’ refers to Lord Shiva.
Yaganti Temple is has been constructed as per the Vaishnava traditions and it demonstrates the artistic dexterity of the ancient Vishwakarma Sthapathis.
Significance of Yaganti Temple
The deities of Yaganti Temple are Lord Shiva and Goddess Parvati carved on a single stone. There is also a cave in the name of sage Agastya who performed the sacrament towards Lord Shiva. The idol of Lord Vishnu which was apparently believed to be distorted was also found in one of the caves of the temple known as Venkateswara Cave.
The Nandi also termed as Lord Nandeeswara, the ascend of Lord Shiva, present in the Yaganti temple is considered to be budding in size over the decades. As per the researchers, the rock out of which the idol of Nandi is made has a special characteristic which leads the rock to grow. Furthermore, it was also discovered that the idol of Nandi increases to about 10mm per eight years i.e., 1 inch per 20 years. The Archaeological Survey of India has conirmed that the growing of the size of the idol is due to Geological phenomena as per science.
A very significant and remarkable feature of this temple is that the Pushkarini which is the temple tank consists of sacred holy water flowing from the tank. But, the water is believed to flow from the bottom of the hill.
A very bizarre fact about the place is that crows are forbidden to fly in Yaganti. This is because when sage Agastya was meditating here, Kakusara, the king of crows distracted him from his deliberation and in rage sage Agastya spelled his curse on the crows to prevent them from his entering his premises. Likewise, Shani, the vehicle of crows also could not go through.
It is also a belief that people performed Pradakshinas, rounds around the idol of Nandi years ago. One of the pillars of the temple has been removed due to the increasing size of the idol. As per the Potuluri Veera Brahman, the Basavanna which is the idol of Nandi will come alive and bellow when Kaliyuga ends.
Yaganti Temple caves are also remarkable about the place. The following are the temple caves at Yaganti:
- Agastya Cave: It is believed that sage Agastya performed the holy sacrament here for Lord Shiva. The shrine for Godess Parvati is also located here and one has to climb 120 steps to reach the entrance to the temple.
- Sri Venkateswara Cave: The distorted idol of Lord Vishnu can be seen here and it is a popular belief that this idol was carved preceding the arrival of Lord Venkateswara Swamy onto Tirumala hills.
- Sri Potuluri Veera Brahman Cave: Here, the prophet Sri Potuluri Veera Brahman spent some of his time and that’s why the cave has been named so.
Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple, Nandi: Also dissimilar to other Shiva temples, the idol of Nandi is not placed right opposite to Lord Shiva, rather it is located to the side of main Mantap. Sri Potuluri Veera Brahmendra Swamy declared in his prophecy that the idol of Nandi would come alive at the end of the Kaliyuga and would shout piercingly.
Yaganti Uma Maheswara Temple Akasha Deepam: The temple priest used to lit lamp using 4 litres of oil and 2-meter thick wick on an everyday basis. This was done in the evening on a ledge behind Veerabhadra Swamy Temple. The lamp burns from 6:00 am to 6:00 pm in an open air on the top of the hill.
Yaganti Temple Timings
- Yaganti temple opens at 6 am and closes at 8 pm. The afternoon break timings are from 1 pm to 3 pm.
- The customary Poojas and rituals are performed within this time slot on an everyday basis.
Festivals celebrated at Yaganti Temple
The main festival celebrated at the Yaganti Temple is the Maha Shivratri Which is celebrated in the month of February/March. This festival is celebrated every year and a mammoth of visitors and pilgrims come from across the country and abroad to be a part of this ceremonial festival.
How to reach Yaganti Temple
- By road: It is associated with state transport to Hyderabad, Chittoor, Tirupati, Cuddapah, Nellore, Kurnool and Chennai which is 24km from the place called Allagadda and is also connected to the rest of the major cities. Buses are also available to Yaganti from Banaganapalli twice a day i.e., at 7:00 am and 3:30 pm. One can also find buses to Banaganapalli from Cuddapah, Nandyal, Hyderabad and Kurnool.
- By Train: The nearest railway station to the Sri Uma Maheswara Temple is the Secunderabad Railway station which is about 7 km from the temple. Nandyal railway station which is 55 km away from the temple is the nearest railway station connected to connected to major cities like Hyderabad, Howrah, Bangalore, Goa, Machilipatnam, Vijaywada, Puri, Hubli, Vizag and Bhubaneshwar.
- By Air: The nearest airport to Sri Uma Maheswara Temple is Rajiv Gandhi International airport, Hyderabad and it is about 12km from the temple.
It is believed that the best time to visit Yaganti is in between the months of October to March while the peak season is said to be in between the months of February to March and it generally takes half of the day to explore Yaganti.
Yaganti Temple Accommodation
There are quite a lot of hotels available in and around the Yaganti Temple. Apart from the hotels, Lodges are also available at reasonable costs with all the necessary facilities and every year pilgrims from across the world visit Yaganti on an everyday basis.
Where to Eat
Free and quality food are offered to the pilgrims on a daily basis at Annanda Hall and the timings are from 11:00 am to 2:30 pm and 8:00 pm to 9:30 pm.
There are a number of important temples located near by the Uma Maheswara/ Yaganti Temple and visitors from around the country visit these temples as well.
- Nava Narasimha Temple: This temple is located on the upper Ahobilam at a distance of 8km from Lower Ahobilam. The supervising deity of this temple is believed to be “Svayambhu” who is worshipped as Lord Ahobila Narasimha Swamy and is also known as ‘Ugra Narasimha’ because he appears in his fierce feature.
- Shikaresvara Temple: Located in Nallamala Hill of Srisailam, Shikaresvara Temple is atop the highest point 2830 feet termed as Shikaram. This temple is bestowed to Lord Shiva and the people residing here have the propensity to believe that Lord Shiva in this temple has great healing powers and accomplish all their wishes. The temple also consists of Garbha Griha, 16 pillared Mukhmandapam and Antaralaya.
- Sakshi Ganapati Temple: This temple is considered as one of the most holy spots recurrented by pilgrims since time immemorial. Located at a distance of 3km from Srisailam, this temple is positioned on the main road to Sikharam. As per the legend of this temple, the Ganapathi in this temple is believed to keep habitual account of the pilgrims to tender Sakshyam which means evidence of their visit to this Kshetram and so the temple is accordingly termed as Sakshi Ganapathi.
- Mahanandi Temple: Located in the east of Nallamala Hills near Nandyal in Kurnool district, Mahanandi temple is considered to be the living temple that abides the evidence to the harmony that depicts the Hindu way of life. Lord shiva is depicted as the Lord of Nandi, his bull vehicle. Bull is also considered to be an important aspect of the agricultural world and is also bequeathed with worship because bull here, is correlated to Lord Vishnu and his incarnations
- Sai Baba Temple: Sai Baba Temple is famous in almost all places in Indi and visitors from across the country visit this temple and offer prayers to Lord Sai Baba.
- Iswaraswami Temple: This is also among one of the famous temples in and aroung Yaganti. This temple is also mostly popular because of the scenic beauty and the captivating view. Devotees appear in mammoth to visit the temple on a daily basis.