Amareswara Swamy, Amaravathi, Guntur, Andhra Pradesh

Amaravati is one of the most important Shiva temples in the south and forms part of the "Pancharama" Framework of Shiva Temples. It is a very ancient temple and is also a major Buddhist center. Devotees can perform Abhisheka to the Lord Themselves here.

As with all ancient temples, exact records pertaining to the origin of the temple are not known but major dynasties like the Satavahanas( the Satavahana’s made Amaravthi their capital.) dating back to the third century BC are said to have played a major role in developing the temple. The Pallava, Reddy, Kotaketha and Vijayanagar kings have contributed significantly during the periods that followed. Some say that the temple is converted Buddhist temple based on the architecture and foundations of the temple.

Raja Venkatadri Nayudu, a land lord, gave the temple most of its present form while a lot of kings and zamindars later followed suit especially the Zamindar of Narsaraopeta Gunda Rayaninga. it is said that during the times of Raja Venkatadri Nayudu, there was a widespread civilian unrest created by a nearby tribe and after a successful decimation of the tribes to restore peace, the land lord was deeply disturbed by the bloodshed and sought the help of his court. Upon their advice he developed the present temple and contributed significantly towards its activities. Raja Venkatadri Nayudu even shifted his capital from Dharanikota to Amaravati in the year 1795 AD.

After the land lord’s death in 1816, the activities of the temple were severely handicapped owing to shortage of funds. The high priests, out of desperation, approached "Chandulal", Chief Minister of "Nazaraddowla",the Nawab of Hyderabad. The high priests returned empty handed after "Chandulal" informed them of the Nawab’s reply: "I shall help only if the Lord Himself asks me to do so." Surprisingly, the Lord appeared and asked for the same in the Nawab’s dream and promptly the Nawab offered 450 acres of land around the village of Dendukur, besides an allowance of 1000 rupees towards the maintenance of the temple. The Mukha Mantapam of Goddess Bala Chamundika was constructed as recently as 1980.

The temple is one of the five "Pancharama" Kshetras. Legend has it that the Siva Linga that materialized from the churning of "Ksheera Sagara" was abducted by a rakshasha king named "Tarakasura". The Rakshasha, with the Siva Linga on his throat, started to harass the Devatas. In the ensuring battle that followed, Devata’s chief of army, Lord Kumara Swamy, succeeded in decimating "tarakasura", scattering the Siva Linga across five places. These five places are commonly called "Pancharama" Kshetras, namely

1.      Amararamam – Amaravathi.
2.      Kumararamam – Samarlakota,
3.      Draksharamam – Draksharamam
4.      Bhimaramam – Gunipudi Bhimavaram.
5.      Ksheeraramam – Palakollu.

According to another legend, the sounakadi sages asked Naradha to tell them about the best way to attain salvation and he advised them to live and pray near the sacred river Krishna. A devotee can attain salvation by taking a dip in the holy river and praying sincerely to the Lord Amareswara for three days. Another legend says that the Devatas upon loosing to the Rakshasas came and resided here thus leading to the name Amaravati.

There are a lot of references to the temple in ancient texts most notably Skanda Purana. There are also a lot of comparisons to Buddhist temples.

Mahashivaratri is the most important festival generally falling in the months of February/March. The other important festivals are Navaratri and Kalyanotsavams.

There is wide choice of accommodation available in Amaravathi from the temple administered cottages to private lodgings in and around the town of Amaravathi.

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