Friday, 4 April 2014

Ahobilam Temples and Trekking

Visiting Ahobilam is an enriching experience. It not only requires devotion but also the strength to visit all the nine Narasimha temples spread across lower and upper Ahobilam. Visiting all these temples in a day is quite difficult and two days are sufficient to see all temples including Ugrasthambham leisurely. Planning in advance for staying at Ahobilam is necessary as days of Swathi Nakshatra and Brahmotsavam attract huge crowd. Lower Ahobilam has guest house maintained by Ahobilam mutt and as well as private ones. Upper Ahobilam has a small guest house maintained by some community. Lunch is provided for all by this community Anna sathram at free of cost. Ahobilam can be reached from Allagadda, it takes forty minutes to reach Ahobilam and first bus starts at 5:00 AM. The last bus to Allagadda from Ahobilam is at 8:30PM.

Upper Ahobilam Narasimha Swami Temple

view from Upper Ahobilam

Bhairava cave

Upper Ahobilam has Ahobila Narasimha Swami, Varaha or Kroda or Krodakara Narasimha Swami, Malola Narasimha Swami, Jwala Narasimha Swami and Paavana Narasimha Swami Temples. Upper Ahobilam also has Ugrasthambham and Prahlada Gudi which are not counted in the nine Narasimha temples. Ugrasthambham is the place where Lord Narasimha is believed to come out of the pillar to kill demon Hiranyakashyapu as described in Hindu mythology. Lower Ahobilam has Yogananda Narasimha Swami, Chatravata Narasimha Swami and Bhargava Narasimha Swami Temples. On the way to Lower Ahobilam to Upper Ahobilam Karanja Narasimha Swami temple is present next to main road. Distance from Lower Ahobilam to Upper Ahobilam is eight kilometers.

back side entrance of Ahobilam temple, closed always

way to other temples at Upper Ahobilam

It is better to start early in the morning as rocks gets heat by noon making it bit difficult to trek. Most of the path is with rocks and steep at few places making it necessary to climb with the help of rocks. Make sure that you carry enough water as there is no source of water from Varaha Narasimha Swami temple to Jwala Narasimha Swami temple. Also, there is no water source at Ugrasthambham which takes two hours of moderate to difficult trek. From Ugrasthambham once can take the same path to come back to the starting point of trek or can take alternate path. Alternate path is not much steep and it is a simple trek of six kilometers.

near the junction to take left or right path

entire route map of Ahobilam both Upper and Lower Ahobilam

Kroda Narasimha Swami

We started our trek from Upper Ahobilam Narasimha Swami temple. Just next to the temple there is a path for going to other temples at Upper Ahobilam. Crossing small bridge made of wooden pieces and walking a little we will get a junction with way to left and right. Take the left one to visit Kroda Narasimha Swami, Malola Narasimha Swami, Jwala Narasimha Swami temples and Ugrasthambham. Take right one with steps to visit Paavana Narasimha Swami Temple.

on the way to Jwala Narasimha Swami

on the way to Jwala Narasimha Swami, this bridge also takes to Malola Narasimha Swami temple

just spot the bridge seen in two  pics above 

We took the left path reached Kroda Narasimha Swami temple and started to Jwala Narasimha Swami temple as we were planning to visit Malola Narasimha Swami temple while coming back taking the alternate path. It took around two hours to reach Jwala Narasimha Swami Temple from Kroda Narasimha Swami temple and two more hours to reach Ugrasthambham from Jwala Narasimha Swami temple. Don’t plan to stay uphill as there is no possibility with narrow paths and no plane surface.

Jwala Narasimha Swami Temple

Jwala Narasimha

tasty water on the top of hill near Jwala Narasimha temple

Malola Narasimha Swami Temple

We visited Malola Narasimha Swami temple on the way back and on the trek we experienced many scenic places. It was almost 4’0 clock by the time we came back to Ahobilam, the place we started. Had nice lunch at Sathram and relaxed for the day going to lower Ahobilam.

way to Ugrasthambham


Next day we started early to Upper Ahobilam and from there to Paavana Narasimha Swami temple. Except the initial seven hundred odd steps climbing, the trek was simple and took almost two hours to reach temple. We also visited Chenchu Lakshmi temple just near to Paavana Narasimha Swami temple. We started back and reached Ahobilam starting point by lunch time. Having lunch at Sathram we started to other temples visiting Karanja Narasimha Swami temple on the way to Lower Ahobilam as other temples are in Lower Ahobilam itself.

We visited other Narasimha swami temples at lower Ahobilam hiring an Auto rickshaw. We could return with pleasure and satisfaction of having darshan of all Nava Narasimha temples. Later we visited Lakshmi Narasimha Swami temple at Lower Ahobilam, it is not included in the list of nine Narasimha temples.

view of Ahobila temple from alternate path

On first day, we visited Ahobila Narasimha Swami, Varaha Narasimha Swami, Malola Narasimha Swami, Jwala Narasimha Swami and Ugrasthambham all at Upper Ahobilam.

One second day, we visited Paavana Narasimha Swami at Upper Ahobilam, Karanja Narasimha Swami on the way to Lower Ahobilam from Upper Ahobilam. Yogananda Narasimha Swami, Chatravata Narasimha Swami and Bhargava Narasimha Swami Temples at Lower Ahobilam.

Paavana Narasimha Swami Temple

Karanja Narasimha Swami Temple

Yogananda Narasimha Swami

Chatravata Narasimha Swami Temple

Bhargava Narasimha Swami Temple

Temple at Lower Ahobilam

It is up to you to hire a guide or not. It is not necessary to hire a guide we felt as path is not much confusing. We can take help from temple priests. Only place where we may feel little confused is near the small bridge (blue in color) on the way to Jwala Narasimha Swami temple from Kroda Narasimha Swami temple. If you take the bridge you will reach Malola Narasimha Swami, if you are coming back the same way we can take the bridge to reach Malola Narasimha Swami temple instead of going till Kroda Narasimha Swami temple. Paavana Narasimha temple can be reached by road by hiring a jeep from Lower Ahobilam itself.

Monday, 31 March 2014

Three years of Blogging: 249 posts and 2,00,000 Visitors

Days are just passing, only to be realized by approaching the milestones. This time it is one of such mile stones making this blog a year older than before. I couldn't update the blog frequently in the last year but could post only a few travelogues. 

Visitors to the blog have increased three folds compared to the last year. Last year visitors count was 51,000 (that was at the end of second year). Now it has crossed 200,000 visitors. It was possible only because of you. I am happy that I have written something useful so that you are visiting my site.

Writing has just become a dream for me as I can’t write as much as I want to write with day to day activities taking much of the time. I wish I could write on a regular basis here after!

Thank you very much or your visit and I look forward for your valuable suggestions.

Thursday, 23 January 2014

Chilkur Balaji Temple, Hyderabad

In one of my regular visits to Hyderabad, I made it a point to visit Chilkur Balaji temple as many speaks about it and also there exists a belief that those who can’t make it to Tirupati – Thirumala Venkateshwara Temple can visit to this temple and get blessings of lord Venkateshwara. The temple is also popular as VISA Balaji temple as many devotees after visiting this temple have got VISA to their dream destinations!

Main entrance of the temple

The temple situated at Chilkur can be reached easily through public transport as many buses operate from Mehdipatnam to Chilkur. Temple is at a few minutes walking distance from Chilkur bus stand. May be with the modernization and lot of people visiting here, many shops and vendors are seen surrounding temple luring you to keep your foot wear if you purchase coconut and flowers from them and many even come near bus stop to make a business deal!

side entrance through which the devotees are allowed inside

Once you enter the temple from the side entrance(as the main gate in front of shrine is closed) you will find the counters to deposit mobile phones and camera as they are not allowed inside temple premises. Bags, mobile phones and camera are not allowed inside the temple and can be kept at deposit counters at a charge of Rs. 5, but the process is not well maintained as the same counter is used for depositing and taking back the things.

inside the temple premises, Queue to wait if the visitors are more and deposit counter on left side

There is no special VIP entry or special darshan so everyone should to go through the same way and without much wasting time one can reach near to shrine. The sanctum is having Lord Balaji along with Sridevi and Bhoodevi. One can’t make out the actual shape of idol as it will be covered with many layers of flowers. Devotees will be making pradakshina or avartana or going round around the sanctum praying lord to fulfill their wishes. There is a belief that all wishes will come true if anyone does pradakshina at this temple as offerings in the form of money is not allowed.

Those who have wishes to come true have to pray Lord Balaji and do eleven pradakshinas around the shrine. Once the devotee’s wishes come true they have to visit this temple again and do 108 pradakshinas around the temple. Also, there is a board that one should not close their eyes while seeing the lord idol. The cards having numbers from 1 to 108 numbers will be available at the temple premises free of cost, one can make use of these cards to keep count of pradakshinas made. (Even the card having numbers from 1 to 108 will be printed and distributed freely by the devotees as few think that it will bring good luck!)

card used to keep count of 108 pradakshinas freely available in the temple premises

Once the pradakshinas are made one can go out by the side exit, next to that there is a Shiva temple under the Banyan tree. Many devotees suggest that one should visit Shiva after visiting Balaji temple to get their wishes come true. I could see devotees of all age groups here.

The exit path is congested with full of shops one need to pass through. It would have been much better if the temple management takes care about the cleanliness of temple surroundings. On the way back to Mehdipatnam one can visit Mrugavani National Park.

Thursday, 9 January 2014

Happy New Year 2014

Year 2013 was a year of happenings personally and professionally even though I could not blog much often due to demands at the work place and commitments. Most important of all was that I completed my Post – Graduate degree (M. Tech.) with distinction and got registered for Ph. D. program in one of the reputed institution of South India joining as Junior Research Fellow.

Year 2013 was also a year of tensions as I was assigned with project work which was significantly considered to be toughest kind of theoretical computer science. With much of turmoil and managing stress as my project work was connected to the PhD work of my immediate boss. Somehow I sustained completing woks within deadlines and getting out of Hyderabad as planned. Hopefully I was successful. Another good thing was the paper I presented at the International Conference got the best paper award and I could communicate one paper (kind of research paper with new approach) to an indexed journal and waiting for response!

Year 2013 was a dreadful year for my blog post counts as I couldn’t do much with the demands of personal and professional life even though I could write a few posts. Hope to write about the new place soon. Also, the year had good number of visitors to my blog compared to previous year. Every time the search engine giant Google updated its search algorithms my blog has received more number of visitors so may be it is having some good and worthy content!

Hoping to acquire one more academic degree in few more years, the highest, one can acquire in his life time. Wish me good luck!

I wish you all a Very Happy and Prosperous New Year 2014. Hope am not too late to wish!

Wednesday, 14 August 2013

Migrated Birds near my house

Recently I could see a small group of birds having water in the pond near to our house. I didn't see those birds earlier in that pond, may be migrated from a larger distance. I wish I knew ornithology to identify about their whereabouts. 

pond near by my house

migrated birds

migrated birds