October 10, 2017: Chita Karthe, Ghotaka Panchami
October 12, 2017: Start of Guru Moodami, Jithastami
October 15, 2017: Rama Ekadasi
From a long time, people from various parts of the country visits Panakala Nrusimhaswamy temple that is situated on the top of Mangalagiri hill. Mangalagiri is situated on the Vijayawada-Guntur road and is just 8 kilometers on road from Vijayawada.
The Lord that is worshipped here is Lord Narayana in Narasimha Swamy incarnation. The peculiarity in the temple is that jaggery water popularly called as Panaka is given as an offering to the Lord. The jaggery water is actually poured into the mouth of the Lord and Lord Narayana shows that he has fully satisfied himself when half of the water is thrown back as a Prasadam to the devotees. While jaggery water is poured into the mouth of the Lord a gurgling sound is clearly audible as if the Lord is actually drinking it and the sound becomes shriller and shriller as and when the Lord is drinking till at last the sound stops and the balance of jaggery water is thrown out. This phenomenon happens not once in a day but once for every pilgrim who visits the temple. In addition, the spite of the fact that so much jaggery and jaggery water are thrown out, there is not a single ant that is seen near the hill. Due to this characteristic that the temple acquired the name of Panakala Nrusimhaswamy temple. If we go deep into the history, this famous shrine is recorded in the Brahma Vaivarta Purana, which is one of our ancient Puranas. Mangalagiri hill means an auspicious hill and is an important part of the Eastern Ghats. This place is one of the eight important Mahakshetras of India which was meant by the Lord to be taken as His own abode for the redemption of humanity from sin. The origin of the temple with the presiding deity known as Panakala Nrusimhaswamy is traced in Kritayuga.
According to legend that, in Tretayuga, Lord Rama could not get liberation in spite of strict observance of the Dharma and therefore he was advised to visit this temple to get Mukti. That is why this hill is also called the Totadri. In the Kritayuga, when the ocean Ksheeraodadhi was being churned by the Mandara hill, Sri Mahalakshmi came out of it. The Devas constructed a Pushkarani by bringing the waters from all the ancient and holy rivers of the land and Sri Mahalakshmi after a bath in this holy Pushkarani offered herself to Lord Narayana as his beloved consort. This Pushkarani is said to exist in Mangalagiri and hence it is even now called as Lakshmi Pushkarani. There is another temple at the foot of the hill, which traces its origin to the time of Yudhishtiira the eldest of the Panavas. In Vijayawada itself, which is eight miles from Mangalagiri, there is a hill called the Indrakila Parvata in which Arjuna is said to have done his tapascharya in order to obtain Pasupata from Lord Shiva. This hill Indrakila is said to be the scene of the Kiratarjuniya where Lord Shiva in the form of a hunter had a fight with Arjuna. Hence, there is legendary connection between Vijayawada and Mangalagiri which is very near and the five Panadava brothers. Yudhishtiira is said to be the founder of this temple and the deity here also is called Sri Lakshmi Narasimhaswamy. The Kshetrapala of this place Lord Anjaneya and it is stated that Anjaneya wanted to follow Lord Rama to Vaikunta but the Lord advised him to stay at Mangalagiri with his blessings so that he may remain for ever in the world for the Lokakalyanam. Hence, Anjaneya is said to have taken his abode at this place.
Lord Chaitanya has visited the temple in the year 1312 AD and the imprints of his feet and a verse dedicated to his honour are still seen in the temple. At the foot of the hill, there is an inscription of the time of Krishnadevaraya of the Vijayanagar dynasty who had visited the temple. On the Eastern gate of the lower temple a beautiful Gopuram has been built over 170 years ago by Sri Vasireddi Venkatadri Nayudu who was famous figure in Andhra Pradesh ruling from Amaravati. The Gopuram has eleven stories with gates facing east and west and is an excellent example of solid construction with big proportions. There is also an ancient Radha belonging to temple with ornamental wood carvings depicting the scenes from the great national epics of Bharata, Bhagavata and Ramayana.
The important festivals of this temple are the Brahmotsavam which lasts for twelve days in March and the other usual festivals like the Vaikunta Ekadasi day, Sri Rama Navami, Hanuman Jayanti, Narasimha Jayanti etc., The temple with its imposing Gopuram in the South and the sacred Lord Narasimhaswamy at the top is still attracting pilgrims in large numbers. It is one of the most sacred spots in Andhra Pradesh and is noted for its sanctity as well as for its historical importance.