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Home Eminent Columnists Sarvamangala

Sarvamangala

SarvamangalaKnowAP.com takes you through a magical journey across the weaving and craft centres of India. The writer of this column, Sarvamangala, has been associated with handlooms and handicrafts for 14 years. She has started and run, very successfully, a retail store in Secunderabad dealing with ethnic handlooms and ecofriendly craft/toys. She has her own outlet now....Anagha, in Banjara Hills, Hyderabad..

The business woman turned writer was earlier an airhostess with Indian Airlines. "I got into business and into handlooms by default", she says. I have an Air Force background and had no clue of how to run a business.But having got into it. she gave it her all.

She has travelled to the major weaving centres of Andhra Pradesh and other States of India and interacted with master weavers understanding the method of weaving from them and giving them colour and design inputs in return. Handlooms soon became a passion with her. "I realised the variety and scope of Indian handlooms after I got into it. The designs and combinations that can be made are endless and mind boggling...leaving one spellbound", she says. For instance, who could have thought that Kalamkari paintings could be appliqued on to sarees? or the traditional Lucknowi chikankari work done on Maheshwari sarees? or block prints on Kanjeevaram silks? or Jute infused into Tussar Silk sarees?

Read about all these and more in the forthcoming months in "Weaves and Crafts of India".

Some More Famous Temples of AP

Having traversed through the rich arts and crafts of our country in earlier issues, last month we started on a tour of the temples of India, starting with Andhra Pradesh. This month we will take a brief look at some more famous temples of AP. 

Draksharamam - is one of the five Panchaarama temples. Legend has it that the Shivalingam held by the demon Taraka, splintered into five pieces and fell at the five Panchaaraama kshetrams, one of which is Draksharamam. Known as Dakshina Kasi (Southern Banares), Draksharamam is regarded as one of the holiest of Shiva temples and is considered highly sacred, next only to Banares. Located in the Godavari district, the temple is easily accessible from Kakinada and Rajahmundry and is one of the most important Saiva Aramas. There are four entrances to the temple, each facing the four cardinal directions. A beautiful Gopuram adorns every entrance. On the upper storey, there is a pillared Pradakshina on three sides and a narrow Antrala. A Linga rises from the sanctum sanctorum. A narrow Mandapam and the Mukha are other features of the shrine. Mythological figures are intricately carved on the walls and the pillars. The beautiful temple art is an amalgam of both the Chalukya and Chola styles.

The origins of Draksharamam have several legends associated with it. It is believed that sage Vyasa performed penance here and gave it the name Dakshina Kasi. Another legend believes that the Saptha Maharshis (seven sages) divided the akhanda (undivided) Godavari into seven streams at Draksharamam to achieve the ends of their penance. Devotees take a ritual bath at the Saptha Godavari Kundam (seven river pond) near the temple. The Bharadwaja, Jamagagni and Viswamithra streams are known as Antharwahinis as they have gone underground.

According to another legend, Lord Siva’s father-in-law, King Daksha Prajapathi, performed a great yagna here. Sati attended the yagna uninvited and immolated herself when ill-treated. The place thus got the name Daksha Vatika that later became Daksharamam and Draksharamam. You can see a number of sasanas (rock edicts) engraved on the temple walls. The festival of Shivarathri attracts huge crowds of pilgrims.

The Bhimeswara temple at Draksharamam is beautiful and also worth a visit. Bhimeswara is enshrined in the form of a ten-feet high Shivalingam in its sanctum sanctorum. Shiva’s consort here is Manikyamba. The temple walls and pillars are decoratively carved with mythological figures.

Simhachalam - is the hill of the lion. This temple on the Simhachalam hill represents the patronage of the Southern Cholas and the Gangas of Orissa. The historic temple at Simhachalam, built in the 11th Century, where the Lord Varaha Narasimha Swami’s temple is located, resembles the rich cultural heritage Visakhapatnam holds. Located on the hill top, at a height of 244 mts, popularly called the Hill of the Lion Lord, is the temple of Lord Vishnu in the avatara of Sri Narasimha Swami Varu. This great temple built by the King Sri Krishnadevaraya, is one of its kind in the country. Inscriptions on the temple date back to 1098 AD.

Mangalagiri near Vijayawada houses a hill temple bearing a shrine to Pankala Narasimha and Lakshmi Narasimha. The renowned temple of Lord Narasimha, one of the nine avatars of Vishnu, is located on the hillock at Mangalagiri, 12 kms south of Vijayawada. The unique feature of this temple, according to the devout, is the fact that the deity accepts only half the quantity of panakam (jaggery dissolved in water) offered by devotees, irrespective of the quantity offered.

Yadagirigutta, near Bhongir, is home to an ancient hill temple enshrining the Narasimha manifestation of Vishnu. The thousand pillar temple at Hanumakonda, the ancient capital of the Kakatiyas of Warangal, is one of great workmanship.
The modern Birla Mandir at Hyderabad is built entirely of marble and is a prominent landmark in the city of Hyderabad.

The Birla Foundation has constructed several similar temples in India, all of which are known as Birla Mandir. The temple manifests a blend of South Indian, Rajasthani and Utkala temple architectures. In its entirety, it is made of 2000 tons of pure Rajasthani white marble. The granite of the presiding deity is about 11 ft tall and a carved lotus forms an umbrella on the roof. The consorts of Lord Venkateswara, Padmavati and Andal are housed in separate shrines.

The temple also has pan-Hindu character with deities of Shiva, Shakti, Ganesh, Hanuman, Brahma, Saraswati, Lakshmi and Saibaba.

The construction took 10 years and was consecrated in 1976 by Swami Ranganathananda of Ramakrishna Mission.

While it is humanly not possible to list out all the other temples in Andhra Pradesh here, we will take a closer and much more detailed look at the famous ones in the forthcoming issues.

Month: June 2010.

Page 8 of 31

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