Saturday, October 8, 2011

Temples In Diviseema

What is Diviseema?
Diviseema is an island lying at the mouth of River Krishna.
River Krishna branches off into two arms at Puligadda and joins Bay Of Bengal forming an island, "Diviseema". One branch, the smaller one, joins the sea at Sagarasangamam in Hamsaladeevi village. The other branches off further before joining the sea at Yetimoga forming two more islands called Yedurumondi and Nachugunta.
Diviseema has rich cultural heritage and having many ancient temples. My native place Ravivaripalem falls in Mopidevi Panchayat, lies on the bank of the smaller arm of River Krishna. Earlier, a low level 1936 built road cum aqueduct on the smaller arm connecting the island with the main land used to be submerged when ever there were floods, cutting off the island with rest of the district. Now a high level bridge was constructed on both the arms of the river after Mopidevi as part of NH 214A (Digamarru-Ongole) is catering the transportation needs of the island, became the lifeline of the area. Thenceforth, the aqueduct was closed to road traffic. The rich historical heritage of this area was enticing me from so many days. So I fulfilled it by visiting some of the Temples of the area on the festival day of Dasara (6-10-2011).
Route:
Ravivaripalem-Avanigadda-Viswanathapalli-Koduru-Hamsaladeevi-Vullipalem-Koduru-Bhavadevarapalli-Sangameswaram-Barrenkula-Ganapeswaram-Nangegadda-Avanigadda-Ravivaripalem
I started at my home at 5.30 a.m. Reached Viswanathapalli first to take the blessings of Addanki Nancharamma Talli, The Eternal Mother. I visit this temple very often. It was calm and silent in the morning. But on annual festival day the scene will be different. Thousands of people, along with their vehicles and cattle, throng in the village, move in a line to have darshan of Maa Nancharamma. People come from neighbouring districts too.
Hamsaladeevi
:
Hamsaladeevi is having a famous Lord Venugopala (Abode of Lord Vishnu) temple and also this is the place where River Krishna confluences with Bay of Bengal. To reach the point of merger one has to travel a further 5 k.m via Palakaya Tippa village. Villagers belive that this Temple was built in only one night by Angels. During 1977 hurricane a large number of people made it a safe place. As they thought, it withstood the killer tidal wave by making so many people live. Ancient inscriptions are there on the pillars of mukha mantapa.
Vullipalem:

This village lies in between Hamsaladeevi and Koduru. Here Srimannarayana Swamy Temple is famous as it is claimed to be the only Temple of his holiness in entire Andhra Pradesh. Temple was under renovation. Deities were in a temporary structure. The old Temple was constructed 100 years ago by a seer came from Melkote, Karnataka, the place where Srimannarayana Swamy Temple was there ages ago. Temple will be ready by February 2012.
Bhavadevarapalli
:
The name itself was derived from the name of Bhavanarayana Swamy (abode of Lord Vishnu), the principal deity of a big temple here. Temple has a high, nicely carved steeple and a fine garden. Entered into the front porch after a circumambulation. It seemed old but beautiful. It opens into mukha mantapa. Lord Bhavanarayana Swamy was there in the sanctum sanctorum adorned with so many flowers and garlands. Blessed me a great darshan.
Usually I inquire about the history of the place with the priest, when ever I visit a temple. This temple is one of the Pancha (five) Bhavanarayana Swamy Temples in the state. The others are Ponnuru, Pedaganjam near Ongole, Sarpavaram near Kakinada and Pattiseema near Rajahmundry.
Sangameswaram
:
This place is few kilometers from Bhavadevarapalli via Kammanamolu. The road leads straight to Sri Sangameswara Swamy Temple (abode of Lord Shiva). Priest was performing puja. This temple is an architectural marvel to witness Sun rays directly falling on Shiva Lingam during the period of March 4th to 20th every year.
Ganapeswaram:

The Temple in this village was built in 1231, in the honour of Ganapatideva, great Kakatiya King of Warangal (1199-1269), by Jayapa Senani, his CinC of Elephant corps.
The deity in the temple is Sri Durga Ganapeswara Swamy (abode of Lord Shiva). There are separate temples for Maa Durga and Sri Ganapeswara swamy in one premises adjacent to each other. There is a big circumambulatory round around the temples together. Pilgrims were entering the premises, completing the circumambulation on the vehicles they came, parking them a side and going into the temple. Priests were busy performing puja in Maa Durga Temple. Huge crowd of pilgrims was there. At the entrance of Durga Temple there was an ancient inscription studded on a pillar.
Jayapa, I consider, as the greatest person hailing from this area. He was a man with many faces. Ganapatideva honoured Jayapa with the title"Vairigodhuma Gharatta" for the services he rendered during Kalinga War. He wrote a book "Nritya Ratnavali" on Indian Dance during 1253-54, in Sanskrit.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Cycling

I do cycling most often in surrounding areas of Vijayawada.

Route #1

It's a 45+ km ordeal around Vijayawada. I start from my home at Poranki and cycle 14 km to reach Gunadala. Another 6 km of cycling takes me to Nunna. 8 km is the distance between Nunna and Ambapuram which is on Vijayawada - Mylavaram SH. This stretch is the scenic of all stretches. Road goes along Mango and other fruit gardens. In Ambapuram village a rock-cut Jain Temple is situated on top of a hill. Path to this temple starts from the middle of the village. I visited it twice. I reach Inner Ring Road (IRR) just after Ambapuram. Here route bifurcates. Choosing to go on IRR takes another time to Gunadala thus reaching Poranki. Or continuing further on Milk factory-Kaleswara Rao Market-Police Control room route lands me on Bunder Road, to continue to Poranki. This encircles the city.

Route #2

River side biking to Amaravati. This is a route with amazing views.

Route #3

Vijayawada-Undavalli Caves-Krishnaya Palem-Yerrabalem-Tadepalli-Vijayawada

There are two Dhabas serving yummy vegetarian food on Mangalagiri-Tadepalli route in Yerrabalem village.

Friday, January 14, 2011

Amaravati

Date: 11-1-11
Amaravati is a pilgrimage and historic place about 40 km from Vijayawada City. This is one of the most important Buddhist sites in Southern India.
It was the capital of Satavahanas, the first great dynasty of Andhra Kings, ruled between 2nd Century B.C to 3rd Century A.D.
I visited this place twice before, along with my friend Ramana Babu initially, another time on a cycling trip and now with my family. Both the places Amaravati and Vijayawada are on the banks of River Krishna. Vijayawada is on left bank and Amaravati is on right bank. There are two routes to reach this place. One is conventional bus route and another one is an ancient narrow river side road on western levee. On all occasions I chose the latter because it goes through some of the scenic places. These two routes join at Harischandra Puram. On two motor driven bikes we started our journey in the early morning to the place which has 2200 years of history.
We crossed River Krishna on Prakasam Barrage and at the end of it took right to cross Krishna western canal head sluice and joined the road that laid on levee. Journey on this road was a bliss. Since the road was elevated, we had a vivid view of surrounding fields. Land was very fertile here. We traveled through Jasmine, Chrysanthemum, Banana, Turmeric and Indian Corn plantations. Since the road was laid long back it was having a lot of chuckholes. Seemed comfortable for two wheelers ride only, forced four wheeler traffic to a halt, thus making an idyllic ride.
Surroundings between Harischandra Puram and its neighbouring village Vaikuntha Puram were marvelous. Though a smaller one, Venkatesh (My eldest son) enjoyed ride a lot on this stretch. Lord Venkateswara Temple is there on a hill in Vaikuntha Puram. People park their vehicles at another temple at the foot of the hill and begin trekking to reach the temple. River Krishna flows beside the hill. Devotees enjoy a good panorama here. From this place Amaravati is visible at far of a distance. I visited this temple during my cycling trip.Reached Amaravati and headed straight to the Temple.
Temple is on the right bank of River Krishna. Some of the devotees were bathing there. Took darshan tickets and entered into massive temple complex. The Temple was on an elevated platform with high raised walls. That might be built to safeguard the Temple from River Krishna flood waters during monsoon season. Cleared steps to enter on to circumambulatory round the main Temple. On each corner there was a peripheral sub-shrine. Lord Amareswara is the presiding deity here, an abode of Lord Shiva. Entered into the Temple from East entrance gallery. Columns of the gallery were consisting old Telugu inscriptions. At the left side of the entrance there was a large Lord Ganesha's statue. Lord Amareswara blessed us his darshan. We moved on to reach Archaeological Survey Of India museum.
Museum:
This little Museum stores some of history's most treasured Buddhist relics collected from nearby Maha Stupa. This area was an exponent of Amaravati School Of Art. This School finds adequate mention in the chronicles of The Satavahana era. The exhibits here range between 3rd Century B.C to 12th Century A.D.The Lotus and Purnakumbha Motifs, the sculpting and the art forms that once upon a time adorned the ancient Buddhist Mahachaityas are displayed in the Principal gallery. Drum slabs, Swastikas and relics of Jataka Stories occupy first gallery. The second gallery is dedicated to life size image of Gautama Buddha.The other Buddhist sculptures that were excavated from here now adorn the Chennai Museum and at Room No.33a of The British Museum, London.
The Museum remains open all through the week from 10 a.m to 5 p.m. Entry fees is Rs.2/- per visitor above the threshold of 15 years.
Maha Stupa:
The road beside The Museum took us to this place. Colonel Colin Mackenzie discovered this remains of The Stupa in 1797. There after so many Archaeologists worked on it.
Only remains of the Stupa are existing. It was defaced at large by the locals before this was taken over by the Authorities. Locals say so many large bricks used in the construction were lifted from here to construct their houses, thus history became history. The British and Indian Rulers also did their best to make this priceless monument convert into tiny objects of exhibition in the galleries of Museums across Europe and India. The artefact's still remained were kept in the local Museum. Replica of this Maha Stupa is in the local Museum.
Kalchakra 2006 was performed here. Interestingly Lord Buddha taught the first Kalachakra root tantra here in Amaravati to King Suchandra up on his request that would allow him to practice the Dharma without renouncing his worldly enjoyments and responsibilities.
On the eve of Kalachakra 2006, authorities reconstructed Stupa and took up Dhyana Buddha Project scheduled to be opened at the time of Kalachakra which can be seen from this site, a kilometer away, still to be completed. We visited that and continued our journey back this time on Bus route to visit Undavalli Caves.
Undavalli Caves: The Caves are just 8 km from Vijayawada. The caves were sculpted in 2nd and 3rd century A.D. Caves are four storied and built in a cluster. In one of the caves we visited Sri Ananta Padmanabha Swamy, an abode of Lord Vishnu, a 5 meter long reclining statue carved out of single granite block.


Other Buddhist sites that can be covered from Vijayawada are Ghantasala and Jaggaiahpeta


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