Temples of Andhra Pradesh - Amareswara Swamy Temple

by V.A.Ponmelil (All rights reserved by the author)

The Amareswara Swamy temple is located on a small hillock referred to as Krouncha Shaila in Amaravati, about 15 miles away from Guntur near Vijayawada in Andhra Pradesh.

This temple constitutes one of the five Pancharama temples of Andhra Pradesh dedicated to Lord Shiva. The other four of Pancharama temples are Kumararama, Ksheerarama and Bheemarama and Draksharama.

Lord Shiva in five linga forms namely, Pranaveswara, Agasteswara, Kosaleswara, Someswara and Parthiveswara is worshipped. He is also referred to as the Lord Amareswara and is accompanied by his wife Bala Chamundika who is considered as the fourth of the 18 goddesses.

The land of Amaravati was once referred as the abode of the gods, the devas, the yakshas and the kinnaras. It is believed that these gods performed penances to Shiva to destroy the mighty demon Tarakasura. Subramanya, the son of Shiva kills Tarakasura.

The legend says that the Shivalingam was shattered into five pieces and the biggest piece is the fifteen foot long column of white marble which is worshipped at Amaravati temple. It is believed that Indra the king of the Devas, Brihaspati the guru of the Devas and Sukra the preceptor of the Asuras installed this lingam.

The temple is surrounded on all the four sides by towering gopuras of the usual Dravidian type of temple Architecture.

Another specialty of the temple is that the Amaravati hill is situated alongside the river Krishna which flows in north-south direction for a short distance while the main river flows from west to east. The ritual dip in this river is considered to be holy and meritorious.

There is another legend which says that the temple was originally Buddhist in origin and later on this was readapted for Hindu worship. It is also found that the foundations of the Amareswara Swami temple are laid with the characteristic Buddhist slabs.

There is a white marble lotus medallion of delicate and ornate Buddhist style, just above the Mula Virat in the Garbhagriha. Even the Mula Virat is a long vertical cylinder made of white marble, used extensively in the Buddhist monuments.

The region of Amaravati is also world famous for the Buddha Stupa and sculptures depicting the life of Buddha in Amaravati. The main festivals of the temple are the Maha Shivaratri and the Navaratri.

 

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