Visit Ahobilam Temple In Kurnool: History, Attractions to See In Ahobilam, Places to Visit Nearby, Getting There, Hotels Nearby (2021)
Located in the Allagadda mandal of Kurnool district in the Indian state of Andhra Pradesh, Ahobilam is a small village as well as a popular holy site. Surrounded by scenic natural beauty, mighty hills of the Eastern Ghats with several picturesque mountain hills and gorges, the atmosphere is soothing and peaceful. Situated amidst dense Nallamala Forest, Ahobilam is believed to be one of the 108 Dibya Desams.
Ahobilam is basically the holy abode of Lord Narasimha, that is an incarnation of Lord Vishnu in a man – lion form. Ahobilam is also known by the name of Nava Narasimha Kshetra because Lord Narasimha is worshipped here in 9 different forms. The 9 forms of Lord Narasimha that are worshipped in Ahobilam are – Jwala Narasimha, Ahobilam Narasimha, Kroda Narasimha, Bhargava Narasimha, Malola Narasimha, Kaaranja Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Paavana Narasimha and Chathravata Narasimha. The Ahobilam temple in Andhra Pradesh comprises of nine separate shrines dedicated to Narasimha and are located within a radius of 5 km from the main temple.
The whole town of Ahobilam is divided into two parts – lower Ahobilam and upper Ahobilam. While the main village and the temple complex are located at Lower Ahobilam, there are more temples located in a steep gorge in upper Ahobilam which is about 8 km to the east. Out of the 9 shrines, only Chathravata, Bhragava Narasimha and Yogananda are located in the Lower Ahobilam area and the remaining six are situated in upper Ahobilam. You will also be pleased to know that other than these 9 shrines, in the foothills of the mountain another temple for Prahaladavarada Varadhan is located. Because of security reasons and difficulty in performing daily worship, most of the utsava vigrahas of all the nine shrines are kept in this temple only.
History of Ahobilam Temple
The main Narasimha temples loctated in Ahobilam at each site were believed to be built or expanded by the kings of Vijayanagara. The construction of these temples’ dates back to about 15th and 16th centuries in history, after which they are believed to have been ransacked by the Mughals in the year 1578. It was after the decline of Mughals and lot of struggle that these temples were restored and expanded a couple of times to reach what they are now in the present day. So, the temples you get to see at Ahobilam in current scenario are a mixture of work from all these periods over the course of many years.
There is a popular legend circulating around the establishment of the temple among the local people as well as the devotees. If this legend is to be believed then Ahobilam is traditionally regarded as the place where Lord Vishnu killed the evil rakshasa Hiranyakashyap in the form of Narasimha in order to save this dedicated devotee Prahlada.
According to the legend, it is believed that Lord Narasimha emerged from a rock pillar only to kill the evil rakhshasa. This epic moment is depicted and represented in a number of murtis or idols installed inside the temples. There is another story doing rounds that says that Garuda also prayed for a vision of Narasimha in the form of Avathara. So, to fulfil his wish, he settled in nine forms across the hills in Ahobilam. Even though the initial temples were believed to be built around the 8th century by the Chalukyas but around 15th century, most of the current structures were rebuilt by the Vijayanagara Kings.
Major Attractions To See at Ahobilam Temple
- Inscriptions: In both, the lower Ahibolam as well as the upper Ahibolam temples multiple inscriptions can be spotted. There is one 14th century inscription that records the construction of the steps at the Upper Ahobilam Divya Desam temple. There are also many inscriptions which refer to the fact that Vikramaditya of the Wester Chalukyan Kings of Kalyan visited and worshipped the main deity of the temple. From these inscriptions one can also deduce that the famous King Deva Raya had also visited the shrine on his return from Kalinga. Image Source
- Lord Narasimha Worship: You will be pleased or may be even surprised to know that in the entire country, Ahobilam temple is the only place where all of the nine forms of Lord Narasimha Swamy are worshipped. It is believed that the entire Nalmalla Hills from Kurnool to Chitoor is a personification of Lord Adisesha himself; Srisailam being his tail end, Ahobilam being the middle area and Tirupati being the head.
- Brahmotsavam: Festivals and celebrations are an unavoidable part of any temple and when talking about Ahobilam temple, it is no exception. Though there are many festivals celebrated here but it is their annual festival which attracts attention of a lot of devotees. It takes places in the first fortnight of the month of Phalguna and a fortnight after Shivaratri. The festival is celebrated with a lot of vigour and excitement.
- Trekking: For all those travellers who are interested in adding a thrill in this otherwise spiritual trip, would be excited to know that the place proves to be an amazing trekking destination. For reaching the temples, the visitors have to indulge in a somewhat difficult trek and rigorous walking. So, worship and adventure go hand in hand here.
How to Reach Ahobilam Temple?
This tourist attraction, Ahobilam, is a popular place and is visited by a plenty of visitors every year. You will be reassured to know that the temple is well connected to most of the major cities of the country and can be reached by all three means of transport. Have a look!
- By Road: Bus service runs here on a regular basis for the convenience of the visitors. You can easily get a bus from the Lower Ahobilam bus station. Other than that, the next nearest bus station in the area is Allagadda Bus station that is about 25 km away.
- By Train: The nearest railway station that you can choose for the easiest way is the Nandyal railway station. It is located at a distance of approximately 66 kms. There are a number of trains available from many major cities of the country to the destination.
- By Air: There is no direct connectivity by air to reach Ahobilam temple. However, you need not be disappointed as the nearest airport is the Rajiv Gandhi International Airport located in Hyderabad. Though it is about 333 kms away from the temple, but it offers plenty of flights from most of the major cities.
Major Hotels To Stay Near Ahobilam Temple
Royal Country Resorts: A perfect hotel where you can easily stay to rest after a tiring day of exploring the Ahobilam temple. Boasting of 20 rooms with unmatched modern comfort, spaciousness and a stunning ambience, they ensure that their guests have a comfortable stay. There is a mini bar, safety box, internet access and TV in each of the rooms.
Distance from Ahobilam Temple: approximately 73.8 km away
Golden Park: This hotel with a mesmerising garden and a terrace that allows you to witness some beautiful views, is a nice, comfortable and inexpensive accommodation. Though it is a 1 – star hotel but several amenities are offered here including a fitness centre, an outdoor pool, free private parking and free Wi-Fi. They even organise activities for children, making the hotel a family – friendly place.
Distance from Ahobilam Temple: approximately 45.7 km away
Hotel Shobha: Offering excellent hospitality and a plethora of good services, this premium luxury hotel is a delight to stay in. Blessed with a nice location that is close to many tourist places, it is frequented by a lot of travellers who are on a sightseeing spree and want to rest. Other than housing a fitness centre, the hotel also offers free parking, high speed Wi-Fi, car hire service and activities for children.
Distance from Ahobilam Temple: approximately 48.3 km away
Popular Places To Visit Nearby Ahobilam Temple
- Mahanandi: Mahanandi is a popular holy Shivaite pilgrimage centre. Nestled to the east of Nallamala Hills, the scenery around Mahanadi is a picturesque site that is a treat for the eyes. The place is famous for housing Mahanandiswara Temple and shrines of Nava Nandis.
- Ugra Sthambham: It is believed that it was at this place that Lord Vishnu appeared in the form of Narasimha. For visiting it the travellers have to do one of the toughest treks in Ahobilam as the path goes through thick forests.
- Jwala Narasimha Temple: This temple is believed to be built on the place where the actual destruction of the demon Hiranyakashyap took place. One needs to trek to reach this temple but the path is filled with numerous gorgeous views and there is even a waterfall in the way.
Some of the temples located here have easy access, but you must know that still for reaching most of them, devotees have to do difficult treks through dense forests and rocky paths. Housing numerous temples and shrines, Ahobilam is a must-visit place in Andhra Pradesh.