Splendour, visual aura of Yadadri ably brought out

Splendour, visual aura of Yadadri ably brought out

A book on the famed temple comes with impressive narration and spectacular photos

Chief Minister K Chandrashekhar Rao on the day of inauguration of the new Dr BR Ambedkar State Secretariat Building on April 30, 2023 released a delightful Coffee Table Book titled, ‘YADADRI THE SACRED ABODE,’ published by Yadagirigutta Temple Development Authority (YTDA). The spectacular text of this is penned by Vinay Bhushan Bhagwaty, a devotee and faculty member of Ramakrishna Mutt, and delightful photographs are taken by Ramesh Babu. Raghavendra and Lakshmi of Arth Brand Agency designed it. The brain behind is YTDA VC and CEO G Kishan Rao with his preface, steered by CM KCR including his message. Tridandi Srimannaarayana Ramanuja Chinna Jeeyar Swami Ji wrote the Mangalasasanam.

This book that exhaustively reflects spiritual fervor and artistic splendor, and showcases the glimpses of the glory and grandeur of the famous Yadadri Temple, known for ages to many old-timers as ‘Yadagirigutta Lord Laxmi Narasimha Swamy Temple,’ is a treasure to occupy every house all over the globe. Even a brief look at the book will enthuse the reader to visit the temple again and again, notwithstanding the fact that he or she might have gone earlier. Abundant information aptly supported by attractive photographs is provided to the reader. As one opens the book, one will see a complete photograph of Yadadri temple in its amazing excellence, and will have an instantaneous urge to go through every page to know various aspects of the temple. The narration part of the Book is yet another glimpse into what the reader would likely not only see in the book but also see in the temple.

To quote how it all began: “For a devotee, entry into the temple is, to axle one’s speech, body, and mind: and the five senses: vision, smell, hearing, touch, and taste on the divinity within. The devotee thus becomes part of the architecture whose interior he traverses.” Proceeding further, the narration says: “The apparition of the deity soothes the Vision, while the bells and chanting of mantras claim the hearing. Fragrance of the flowers and incense, burning of the lamps brings the smell into focus. The mantra in honor of the deity caresses the tongue. This brings about oneness of the Atma with Paramatma, a state of existence where one experiences a deliverance from the physical to a spiritual state of being.”

The ‘Yadadri Sthalapuranam’ page has an age-old photograph, and reference to Swayambhu occurrence, meaning an occurrence on its own, of ‘Lord Laxmi Narasimha Swamy’, the presiding deity, retrieved from Skanda Purana, dating back to 13th century. It says, “Yada Maharshi, son of Rishyasringa, identified the hillock, where he began his penance for Lord Narasimha in the caves. Pleased with his deep devotion and ardent penance, Lord Vishnu appeared in all his glory in five forms, namely, Jwala Narasimha, Yogananda Narasimha, Laxmi Narasimha, Ugra Narasimha and Gandabherunda Narasimha. Thus, it came to be known as ‘Pancha Narasimha Kshetram.’ Reference to Krishna Devaraya visiting this temple is an evidence that the temple structure may be more than 500 years old.

Photographs of the existing temple prior to the renovation, CM KCR discussing the concept plan of the renovation of temple in accordance with Pancharatra Shastras with the blessings of Chinna Jeeyar Swamy on May 30, 2015 and same day foundation stone-laying programme attended by CM KCR, Governor ESL Narasimhan, Chinna Jeeyar Swamy etc., are in the book. Photographs of the foundation of the first stone layer of the East side ‘Pancha Tala Raja Gopuram’ of the temple laid on the auspicious Vijaya Dashami on October 11, 2016; identified and handpicked teams of sculptors working simultaneously on sculpting the icons, columns, beams, and monoliths etc., are attractively available in the coffee table book.

In another page, describing the ‘Mukha Mandapam’ supported by photographs, it gives an account of the visible aura that is preserved there facing Lord manifest as ‘Pancha Narasimha’. Proceeding further it is narrated that: “on the inner wall of the sacred cave, the Lord appears as Laxmi Narasimha Swamy along with Goddess Laxmi Devi and as Yoga Narasimha Swamy in the Padmasana posture, protected by the hood of Jwala Narasimha Swamy in the form of a serpent. The mouth of the cave itself reveals the radiating form of Ugra Narasimha Swamy. The fifth manifestation of Gandabherunda Narasimha Swamy occurred on the side of Kshetrapala Anjaneya Swamy Alayam, which is on the elevation of the right of the Garbhalayam (Sanctum Sanctorum).”

The coffee table book also mentions certain evidences supported by photographs, which necessarily to be known to everyone. For instance, to quote, “the sacred cave is preserved in its true form and bolstered by the retaining stone walls into an Alayam leading up to the tower or Vimana Gopuram. Similarly, the Garbhalayam doorway is elegantly decorated in gold and flanked by the dwarapalakas Jaya and Vijaya. The doorway is adorned with the keertimukha in which resides an iconic form of Sri Laxmi Narasimha Swamy.”

In ‘The Frieze,’ pages there is a mention about description of birth, life and devotion of Prahalad for Lord Narasimha ending with the Lord shedding his Ugra Avatar. Couple of pages are allotted exclusively for Alwars, “the poet saints of South India who espoused Bhakti (Devotion) to the deity Vishnu in their songs of longing, ecstasy, and service. They are venerated in Vaishnavism which regards Vishnu as the Ultimate Reality.” Photographs of the twelve Alwars standing sentinel on either side in the Mukha Mandapam, heralding the splendor of the Vishnu Temple are very attractive. The Alwars are carved on solid columns that are 20 feet in height and weigh more than 40 tones each.

Picturesque photographs of Dhwaja Sthambham (Made of single Nara Vepa wooden log) facing Sanctum Sanctorum with the raised platform known as ‘Balipeetham’; Inner walls of Mukha Mandapam emulating Kakatiya style of architecture; Vimana Gopuram the main tower over the ‘pradakshinalayam’; Outer walls of Mukha Mandapam; 54 Yali pillars; Raja Gopurams of Panchatala on west, south, and Sapta Tala; Vaikunta Dwaram on the north which is opened only on Vaikunta Ekadashi; Maada Veedhi or the sprawling 1,17,600 square feet outer prakaram extending on all four sides of the main temple; Astha Bhuja Mandapam attached to the outer prahara wall of the temple; Addala (Mirrors) Mandapam; Vishnu Pushkarini; 26 feet height teak wood Chariot that carries Utsav Deity on the procession; Brahmotsavam Mandapam; Queue complex; Gail Gopuram; Laxmi Pushkarini; Kalyana Katta etc., are in the latter pages.

Yes, as said at the conclusion, it is absolutely true that ‘A Rich Spiritual and Cultural Harvest Awaits’ everyone to visit Yadadri or the erstwhile Yadagirigutta temple. This invaluable and precious book which is not only printed but also sponsored by the famous Pragati Offset, Hyderabad, must and should be procured, read, and preserved in Everyone’s living room globally for future generations too. Thanks to YTDA VC-CEO G Kishan Rao for presenting me a copy of the book.

(The writer is Chief Public Relations Officer to Chief Minister Telangana)

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